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A Science Laboratory

In recent years science has played an increasing role in art conservation, both for devising better conservation treatments and to gain a deeper understanding into the material nature of art objects and of artists' techniques and studio practices.

In 2003 the Art Institute of Chicago established a state-of-the-art scientific laboratory, with major funding of $2.75 million from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and appointed Francesca Casadio (pictured) as its first conservation scientist. Two years later an associate conservation scientist was added to the staff. The laboratory is equipped with polarized and fluorescence light microscopy, FTIR and Raman microspectroscopies, X-ray fluorescence spectrometry, and GC/MS analysis.