Museology Master of Arts Program

November 20, 2019

Exploring Sculpture Conservation in Seattle

Thesis by Margaret B. Greutert (2017)

Contemporary public sculptures in Seattle, at a glance, look everlasting, but they are difficult to maintain given material, environmental, social, and funding challenges. To make matters more complicated, they are also managed by different organizations—government, private, and public museums. At some point, these organizations will need to make maintenance and conservation decisions which will affect the future of sculpture in the area. This case study examines the conservation practices and philosophies of six Seattle art organizations representing government, private, and public museum collections. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with seven museum professionals. Results suggest that each type of art organization faces different circumstances that affect how they maintain their sculptures and they are starting to implement new conservation practices to maximize fixed resources. This study addresses a need to start examining organizational sculpture conservation practices and create a foundation to examine other aspects of public art conservation.

Keywords: Class of 2017, museum, museum studies, museology, research, sculpture, art museums, conservation


Greutert, M., Luke, Jessica J., & Ong, Angelina. (2017). Exploring sculpture conservation in Seattle. Seattle]: University of Washington.