Latex, chocolate, soap, and video game software are just a few of the non-traditional materials that have inspired contemporary artists. While they embrace the modern, synthetic and technologically advanced world in which we live, some of materials present significant conservation problems for museum conservators. Gwynne Ryan, a conservator at the Smithsonian's Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden discusses the challenges museums face with this issue: Should we keep art locked away to make it last? Or let it be experienced as it was intended while accelerating its natural degradation?For more information about the Hirshhorn's conservation program, visit: http://hirshhorn.si.edu/educate/page.asp?key=205&subkey=75
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