The ultimate purpose of conservation research is to pass on our cultural heritage and contemporary works of art to our future generations, while preserving their original forms, to the best extent possible, by melding art and science. All materials are subject to deterioration, damage and sometimes even destruction with time and exposure to environmental factors. Cultural assets and works of art displayed at museums are no exception to this phenomenon.
Since its opening in 1989, the Conservation Department of Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art has been identifying factors that cause damage to artworks and carrying out conservation treatments, investigating the physical properties of materials used in these works and searching for measures to create an appropriate storage environment for different types of material. In conserving a work of art, treatment should be executed minimally to maintain both the original form and the historical traces of the work. Also, reversible methods and materials are used in case further treatment is required in the future. Antique and contemporary works of art are preserved using different approaches of conservation. In dealing with modern and contemporary artworks, a conservator frequently needs to balance the intention of the artist with more conventional conservation values.