“Furniture Conservation: Some Finer Points”
by Christopher M. Swan, Senior Conservator of Wooden Artifacts, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation
In light of the recent collaboration between Drayton Hall and The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation (CWF), decorative and historic objects currently are on loan and featured in “A Rich and Varied Culture” exhibit of the Dewitt Wallace Museum. In exchange for the object loans, the CWF Conservation labs have undertaken recent conservation treatments to prepare the objects for the gallery. Currently on view are two important Drayton family furniture objects, a Charleston clothespress, and a British secretary bookcase, that will serve as a starting point for a discussion on the theory and practice of studying and restoring objects for display. Conservation embraces a broad spectrum of activities from risk assessment and preventive care, to materials analysis, to hands-on bench-treatments. CWF’s Chris Swan will offer insights on the work of a conservator in a museum setting identifying and managing these processes of preservation in the course of interpreting historic and artistic objects.
Chris is a conservator of furniture and wooden artifacts at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation in Virginia where he has been since February, 1999, and where he also completed his third-year graduate internship, and a Getty post-graduate internship from 1994-1996. In between positions in Williamsburg, he served two years as the Mellon Fellow and then as Assistant Conservator in Furniture Conservation at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Chris is a 1985 graduate of the University of Dallas, and a 1995 graduate of the Buffalo State College Art Conservation Master’s Degree Program. Among other subjects, he has lectured on: Photo-documentation of Furniture, Packing and Crating Furniture for Collectors, Caring For Wooden Artifacts, Wood Identification for Collectors, Painted Furniture, and The Making and Use of Reproductions at Colonial Williamsburg, Picture Frames: Style, Materials, and Conservation, and Minimally Invasive Upholstery Systems. He is an Associate Member of the American Institute for Conservation, and of the Virginia Conservation Association.