Cooper Hewitt’s permanent collection includes more than 210,000 objects, which span thirty centuries and a wide variety of materials. The Conservation Department cares for and studies these pieces to ensure their preservation for today and into the future. Conservators provide expertise in the conservation of works on paper, textiles, and three-dimensional objects made of media ranging from brittle glass to pliable plastic. Sarah Barack, Head of Conservation and Senior Objects Conservator, offers a further introduction to the department.

Explore below the department’s work related to the museum’s collection and exhibitions and follow Cooper Hewitt’s Conservation Department on Instagram @cooperhewittconservation.

Oblique view of a pair of HTM Flyknit running shoes on white background
Preserving the Perfect Fit
Anyone who has scuffed their brand new sneakers can attest to the difficulty of keeping shoes in good condition. One of the best ways that Cooper Hewitt’s conservation department can ensure the preservation of the collection is through proper storage. Take for instance the recently acquired pair of Nike FlyKnit Racer shoes.  While the sneakers are new,...
Brisé fan with ivory sticks carved à jour, decorated on obverse and reverse with birds, animals and foliage (phoenixes, dragons, and the emblems of the Chinese empress and emperor against peonies) in red, green, blue and gilt enamel. With a tortoiseshell thumbguard and a glass stone at the rivet, threaded with leather ribbon.
Deconstructing a Dutch Treat
This rare, early 18th-century Chinese fan for the Dutch market is a wonderful example of the many interconnections through time that can be extracted from an object around its design, technical details, and state of preservation. The fan itself is emblematic of the history of fan design, which originated in the Orient and arrived in...