The Stone Hill Center

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

WHAT IS WACC?
WHAT SERVICES DOES WACC PROVIDE?
CAN WACC CONSERVE MY ITEM?
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CONSERVATION AND RESTORATION?
HOW DO I GET SOMETHING TREATED AT WACC?
HOW MUCH DO TREATMENTS COST?
HOW DO I PACK AND DELIVER MY OBJECT TO WACC?
CAN I GET MY ITEM APPRAISED AT WACC?
HOW DO I GET TO WACC?

 

WHAT IS WACC?

The Williamstown Art Conservation Center (WACC) is a nonprofit regional conservation center offering a wide range of services for the preservation and conservation of cultural and historical objects. WACC serves museums, libraries, historical societies, and archives, as well as corporations, independent art professionals, and private collectors.
top of page

 

WHAT SERVICES DOES WACC PROVIDE?

The Williamstown Art Conservation Center offers preservation, conservation, and restoration for a broad range of cultural and historical materials. These include:

  • Paintings in all media on canvas, wood, glass, and metal, as well as murals, frescoes, and other works which, for reasons of fragility, construction, or size, must be treated in situ;
  • Works on paper including prints, drawings, pastels, watercolors, posters, maps, and documents, including non-Western art such as Asian woodblock prints, scrolls, and folding screens;
  • Photographs of all types, including 19th-century techniques, gelatin silver, digital, and alternative processes;
  • Furniture and wood objects including varnished, painted and gilded wood, upholstered furniture, picture frames, and architectural interiors;
  • Objects of all description, including fine art sculpture, outdoor monuments, archaeological artifacts, textiles and costumes, and decorative and historic items, including ceramics, glass, stone, plaster, metal, plastics, ivory, wood, feathers, leather, and fur.

Analytical Services offers examination and micro-analytical procedures for technical assessment of materials and techniques, decorative finish history and alteration, and treatment-related evaluation.
Documentation. All treatments include a proposal outlining specific conservation needs, procedures, materials, and estimated cost. After completion, a written report detailing all stages of work is provided, as well as photographic documentation before, during, and after treatment.
Imaging services include the full array of visual analysis, including ultraviolet, infrared, and radiography processes, as well as analytic illumination techniques.   
Preservation outreach. WACC partners with clients on all aspects of preventive conservation and collections management, including facility and storage assessments, collection surveys, and consultation advice.
top of page

 

CAN WACC CONSERVE MY ITEM?

In most cases, yes. WACC conservators treat an extraordinarily wide range of materials. Among these are paintings in all media on canvas, wood, glass and metal, as well as murals, frescoes, and other works in situ; works on paper including prints, drawings, pastels, photographs, documents, and ephemera; varnished, painted, and gilded wood, upholstered furniture, picture frames, and architectural interiors; fine art sculpture, outdoor monuments, archaeological artifacts, textiles and costumes, and decorative and historic objects in all materials, including stone, metal, ceramics, plaster, glass, plastics, ivory, leather, wood, feathers, and hides.
top of page

 

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CONSERVATION AND RESTORATION?

The term conservation is used to describe a broad range of actions involved in the care of art and artifacts. Here is a brief glossary of terms:
Examination determines the nature and method of manufacture or properties of the materials used in making works of art, and identifies the causes of their deterioration.
      Documentation records the condition of an object before, during, and after treatment, and presents a detailed description of treatment methods and materials.
Preservation prevents or retards deterioration and includes both the stabilization of the condition of a work of art and the stabilization of the environment surrounding the object through preventive conservation. Preventive conservation seeks to minimize the effects of light, pollutants, pests, extremes of humidity and temperature, and improper storage, handling or display.
      Restoration reconstructs missing parts in an effort to reintegrate the appearance of a damaged object.  In this process, the conservator uses materials and follows procedures that will not alter or adversely affect the original structure, appearance, or effect intended by the creator.  Responsible conservation requires the exclusive use of materials of known behavior and stability and only those procedures that may be readily reversed.
      Treatment denotes the totality of work performed on an object. A treatment report documents the work process step by step, and includes a list of materials used in the course of the procedure.
top of page

 

HOW DO I GET SOMETHING TREATED AT WACC?

Works of art are accepted at WACC by pre-arrangement only. To have an object in your collection treated or examined, or to arrange for a consultation, please contact the Center's main office for an appointment at 413-458-5741, or by e-mail at wacc@williamstownart.org. If you have further questions, you will be referred to the appropriate conservator.
top of page

 

HOW MUCH DO TREATMENTS COST?

Treatment cost is based on time and materials required, not on the value of the object. A full description of costs and expenses is on our rates page.
top of page

 

HOW DO I PACK AND DELIVER MY OBJECT TO WACC?

Staff members are available to advise on shipping objects to the Center. If an object is too large, heavy, or fragile to be safely transported to WACC, ask about a site visit. We cannot accept shipments without pre-arrangement, and strongly recommend that private owners personally deliver their works.
top of page

 

CAN I GET MY ITEM APPRAISED AT WACC?

Art appraisal is an altogether separate professional activity from conservation. WACC conservators are not in a position to offer this service; we suggest that you contact an expert in a field related to your object. For more information, see Appraisals.
top of page

 

HOW DO I GET TO WACC?

Travel instructions and maps are located on our Contact page.
top of page

 

Williamstown Art Conservation Center       227 South Street, Williamstown MA 01267       413-458-5741      wacc@williamstownart.org
MEMBERSHIP
Consortium
Friends
PUBLICATIONS
Art Conservator