Conservation is usually something that happens behind closed doors, well away from the public eye. However, there are a growing number of examples of conservation treatments and activities undertaken on objects while on public display. When a large, well-loved sculpture at the Art Gallery of South Australia (AGSA) was in need of some care and maintenance, conservators from Artlab Australia seized on the opportunity to introduce conservation to the Gallery’s visitors and the sculpture, Eros, was treated during opening hours within the public gallery space. The treatment was simple and didn’t require the use of harmful chemicals. In consultation with conservation management and AGSA staff, a plan for both the treatment and a number of related events was developed. The commitment required for this additional activity was considered to be relatively minor and worthwhile. The treatment was completed successfully, and the feedback from both the Gallery staff and members of the public was positive and enthusiastic. This example illustrates the way in which routine conservation activities can be successfully utilized in order to increase public engagement with the profession, as well as contribute positively to the public life of an institution.

AICCM National Conference 2013
Paper author:
Kasi Albert & Nicholas Flood