Long before the Freer Gallery of Art opened its doors to the public in 1923, museum founder Charles Lang Freer regularly brought specialists from Japan to care for the Asian artworks on view in his Detroit mansion. Today, as the foremost center in the United States for the care and scientific study of the arts of Asia, the Department of Conservation and Scientific Research (CSR) continues the work begun in the East Asian Painting Conservation Studio in 1932 and the Technical Laboratory in 1951.

The Freer and Sackler use a valuable combination of conservation and scientific methods to study works of art. Our scientists and conservators strive to improve methods of preservation, educate others in conservation practices, and conduct research into materials, such as the pigments used in Asian paintings.

Our scientists, conservators, and specialists collaborate closely with the museums’ design, exhibition, and curatorial departments. Together, they safeguard the collections, ensure the proper display and storage of objects, and contribute to the ever-growing understanding and appreciation of Asian and American art.

Publication is an integral part of our research program. View a list of published works by past and present members of the department. View our staff listing.