Conserving the Collection: Stabilizing Fragile Materials

High Museum of Art
High Museum of Art
Published in
2 min readMar 27, 2024

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Katherine Jentleson and Lindsay Ryder talk more on stabilizing works made from atypical materials.

What happens to artworks when dust settles in the wrong places or when an old screw comes loose?

This second video in our Conserving the Collection series (click here to catch up) focuses on the practice of stabilization: ensuring that a work of art is structurally sound and chemically stable for future display and study. This conservation process is particularly relevant to the High’s collection of work by folk and self-taught artists like Thornton Dial, Sr. (1928–2016) and Lonnie Holley (born 1950) who often used discarded materials — like rusted metal or old truck tires — that degrade at a faster rate than more traditional media. Stabilizing these objects without compromising aesthetic value or artist’s intent is at the center of this challenge for curators and conservators when they prepare the collection for the public.

Katherine Jentleson (left) and Lindsay Ryder (right) inspect a work in the High’s collection for conservation and stabilization needs.

Watch Katherine Jentleson, Senior Curator of American Art and Merrie and Dan Boone Curator of Folk and Self-Taught Art, and Lindsay Ryder, Associate Conservator of Objects at the Atlanta Art Conservation Center, as they discuss this important aspect of conservation work, which is made possible by a generous, six-year grant from The Sara Giles Moore Foundation.

Looking to create your own multimedia artwork? Check out our upcoming program, Design Studio: Imagining and Constructing Everyday Objects. These multiweek studio classes offer participants a chance to learn about reimagining and transforming the ordinary through design. Classes start on April 11.

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High Museum of Art
High Museum of Art

The High is Atlanta’s art museum, bringing creativity to your everyday. Our collections, exhibitions, and programs are always here for you.