Conservation efforts have been primarily supported by the Wheaton College Friends of Art who established the Art Conservation Gift Fund in March 2009. In April of the following year, the Friends of Art voted to rename the fund in honor of Professor Ann H. Murray on the occasion of her retirement. Private donors and foundations have also supported conservation efforts through gifts and grants.
In addition, through their work study employment, a select group of students help to maintain objects in the collection by performing minor conservation and cleaning in consultation with professional conservators such as Ingrid Neuman of Berkshire Art Conservation in West Newton, MA, and Camille Myers Breeze, Founder & Director, Museum Textile Services in Andover, MA.The student conservators work on a variety of projects across campus, and in the Permanent Collection.
Among others, objects that have benefited from the conservation program include:
- A Japanese textile (2012.000.018) donated by Professor Holcombe and Ethelind Austin for the newly renovated Mary Lyon Hall in the mid 1980’s. The embroidered work, which features cranes and trees, was conserved by Museum Textile Services, through the Ann H. Murray Art Conservation Fund with the support of the Wheaton College Friends of Art and the Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund in honor of Candace Jans, Class of 1974.
- An untitled landscape (74.059) by Italian painter Achille Vertunni, donated by Mrs. Thomas O. (Mary Rich) Richardson. The painting was conserved by Susan Werner O’Day, Class of 1977, with the support of grant from the Cricket Foundation and from the Friends of Art.
- The Costume of the Duchess du Choiseul (34.085) and an embroidered Spanish altar cloth (34.104), both purchased from the Edgar L. Ashley Collection with funds from the Carnegie Foundation and conserved by Museum Textile Services, through the Ann H. Murray Art Conservation Fund with the support of the Friends of Art and Blake Funston, Class of 2012 (See images to the right.)
- Collection Assistants with an interest in conservation spent several years cleaning and stabilizing two Italian Blackamoor figures that had been in storage in the Wallace Library for nearly 50 years. In collaboration with Ingrid Neuman of Berkshire Art Conservation, the students prepared the figures – and their hand-blown Venentian glass candelabra – for display in the student-curated exhibition 100 Years, 100 Objects (see below).