THE ANCIENT EGYPTIAN COLLECTION AT THE MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS, BOSTON. PART 2, A REVIEW OF FORMER TREATMENTS AT THE MFA AND THEIR CONSEQUENCES
SUSANNE GÄNSICKE, PAMELA HATCHFIELD, ABIGAIL HYKIN, MARIE SVOBODA, & C. MEI-AN TSU
In the past 75 years, the field of conservation has promoted great advances in the development of innovative treatment approaches, the use of increasingly stable materials, and a far greater understanding of the importance of preventive measures in the long-term preservation of collections. The care of the Egyptian Collection at the MFA reflects this progress. In addition, great improvements have been made in the sensitivity of analytical techniques for materials identification as well as in the quality and extent of written and photographic documentation (which today includes museumwide databases incorporating curatorial and conservation information). Innovations have been made in the mounting, packing, and handling of large-scale works, drawing upon the field of materials technology. A current grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities is facilitating the unpacking, examination, and rehousing of many objects that had received little attention since arriving at the museum from the field. Planning is under way for climate-controlled galleries and storage areas. These measures ensure that the collection will be available for generations of future scholars, who may derive greater insight into ancient cultures and their connection with our own.
Thanks are due for providing advice, memories, resources, and support to Arthur Beale, Lawrence Berman, Michele Derrick, Denise Doxey, Rita Freed, Joyce Haynes, Jean Louis Lachevre, Barbara Mangum, Peter Der Manuelian (who also generously supplied many of the images published here), Yvonne Markowitz, and Richard Newman.
Scientific analyses referred to in this article, unless otherwise noted, were performed by the MFA's Scientific Research Department by Richard Newman and Michele Derrick, and are not published.
Mummy case of Tabes, after cleaning to remove libation material. 3d Intermediate Period, early 22d Dynasty, ca. 930–880 B.C. cartonnage covered with painted and partially varnished gesso, contains human remains, height 167 cm. MFA 72.4820. Courtesy of © Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1988