Swiss National Museum: Conservation Research Laboratory

Conservation research at the Swiss National Museum

The Collection Centre of the Swiss National Museum houses the collections of the Swiss National Museum, the conservation laboratories and the conservation research laboratory under one roof. The research laboratory provides solutions to specific questions and problems of conservators/restorers, curators and archaeologists, as well as scientific projects. The laboratory is involved in internal as well as external enquiries and projects. 

The conservation research laboratory has a wide range of chemical and physical examination methods at its disposal, which are adapted to the needs of research on valuable cultural objects. The following non-destructive or minimally invasive examination methods are available in the conservation research laboratories: Micro X-ray fluorescence spectrometry (µ-XRF), Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) and Raman spectroscopies, atomic absorption spectrometry, as well as stereomicroscopy with digital documentation (incident light, transmitted light, fluorescence, polarization). The multidisciplinary team has special expertise in the analysis of pigments, glass, stone, alloys, corrosion products, and conservation products such as adhesives and binders. Other activities include material testing, pollutant and biocide measurements, and the further development of conservation methods. 

Furthermore, the specialists in the research laboratory have many years of experience in dealing with extremely sensitive museum objects and are very pleased to contribute their expertise in the field of conservation and analytics to this project.

Dr. Katharina Schmidt-Ott, Head of Conservation Research, analyzing a reliquary.

Analysis of precious stones, metal alloys and material testing