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Master
Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Heritage
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Wood and Furniture

UvA Conservation Wood and Furniture
Wood and furniture conservation. Photo: Mathijs Terstegen.

Professional wood and furniture conservation

The wood and furniture course aims to train conservators-restorers of either wooden objects in general or of wooden objects in a more narrow type of object, such as ethnography, picture frames or ships’ models.

Thorough examination of the object to be treated is the basis of the practical work. Examination focuses on construction, historical manufacturing techniques and the properties of the materials used. In addition, students  investigate the cultural-historical background of the objects they treat.

Wood and furniture conservation: methods and techniques

 A wide range of restoration techniques and traditional woodworking techniques are  taught and applied in the treatment of objects. It is important that students acquire knowledge of the nature and behaviour of  wood and materials such as bone and tortoise shell, as well as binders, colouring materials and solvents. Many of these allied subjects are tied in with lectures in the Science modules.

Before departing for the Advanced Professional Programme work placement(s), students will  have become familiar with a large range of  methods and techniques, becoming proficient in some. Workshops offer the opportunity to learn more about  subjects such as carving, gilding and marquetry. An interdisciplinary approach is promoted by working on projects involving different disciplines at the same time. The selected objects usually offer either an interesting conservation problem, an opportunity to engage in ethical and specialist technical discussions or a chance to conduct diagnostic research into the art historical context, materials, damage, treatment methods, etc. There is also room in the programme for excursions and attending symposia.

The common thread in the programme is the development of insight into the field and the issues that dominate it. The didactic concept is based on students and trainee conservator-restorers realising that, although the process of restoration always involves a number of phases, in professional practice they will always be confronted with new problems for which solutions must be found.