Working in partnership with Collections Management and the National Museum of the American Indian’s (NMAI) Native and Indigenous constituency, the Conservation Department is responsible for the care of NMAI collections. Conservation staff provide training focused on collaborative conservation methodology and undertake collections-based research designed to serve the interests of the museum’s constituency. The department is comprised of textile and object studios, mannequin and mountmaking spaces, a technical library, a photography studio, and an analytical lab. Staff include objects and textile conservators, a mountmaker, Mellon fellows, interns, and contractors. The Conservation Department is located at the Cultural Resources Center in Suitland, Maryland, approximately eight miles southeast of the NMAI museum on the National Mall in Washington, DC.
WHAT IS CONSERVATION AND WHAT DOES A CONSERVATOR DO?
Conservators are responsible for ethical long-term preservation of cultural heritage collections. Conservation activities include documentation, treatment, and mountmaking for exhibits at the NMAI in Washington, DC, and New York, interviews with contemporary Native American artists, analysis of pesticide residues on collections, collaborative investigations, and evaluation of materials for mountmaking, storage, and exhibits. For more information, please see the American Institute for Conservation.
WHAT IS MOUNTMAKING AND WHAT DOES A MOUNTMAKER DO?
Mountmakers are professionals dedicated to the creative work of making safe, well-made exhibition and storage mounts. Mountmaking is the process of designing, fabricating and installing supports—also called mounts, brackets, and or armatures—for safe display and storage of artworks, artifacts, and natural history specimens. A well-made mount should help protect the object from external hazards or inherent structural weaknesses while enhancing the viewer’s experience. See the International Mountmakers Forum for more information.