Furniture Studio

Find out how the Furniture Collection is cared for

Irish Tuam chair. Left - before conservation. Right - after conservation

The furniture section of the Conservation Department is responsible for the long-term preservation of the Period Furniture Collection housed in a state of the art storage facility at Collins Barracks, the Folklife Furniture Collection and some wooden objects from The Irish Antiquities Division. There is a period furniture gallery in Collins Barracks and folklife furniture is on display in the National Museum of Ireland - Country Life in Mayo. Furniture from the national collections is also on loan to other museums.

Chair before and after conservation

The objects conserved are diverse, everything from sixteenth century Italian renaissance pieces to twenty-first century Irish pieces. Items as diverse as small wooden candlesticks and an enormous carved church organ are also part of the furniture collection.

16th Century Italian chest before and after conservation

The work includes remedial conservation; careful cleaning of finishes and surfaces, consolidation and repairs are carried out where necessary.

Lacquer tray during cleaning

Preventive conservation involves controlling temperature, humidity, light levels and ensuring against insect damage.

The conservation facility has a large walk-in deep freeze to treat suspected insect infestations. The collection is constantly growing and it is particularly important to ensure that new acquisitions are free of furniture beetle (woodworm) before they are allowed into storage areas or galleries where they could infest other objects.

Art Nouveau handle before and after conservation

Many furniture pieces are composite objects made from a number of materials such as wood, metals, glass, textile and plastics in modern pieces, materials that can react with each other and may need different conservation treatments.