From the past to the future. The conservator’s workshop

  • 2019-03-29
  • TBT Staff

From the Past to the Future. The Conservator’s Workshop, an exhibition dedicated to the 30th anniversary of the Latvian Society of Restorers will be on view at the Art Museum RIGA BOURSE in Riga (Doma laukums 6) from 30 March to 9 June 2019.

Art works which you can see displayed at the museums and exhibitions look beautiful and noble, yet often they spend a lot of time at the conservator’s workshop, but this chapter of their life gets unnoticed by the viewer. However important and complicated it may be, the conservator’s work often goes unnoticed. No material can be preserved forever, nevertheless it is possible to significantly extend the life of virtually every item through wise and systematic care.

The Latvian Society of Restorers wants to show the viewers not only the various methods of cultural heritage research and different branches of restoration, but also a wide diversity of the exhibited items and materials, with this illustrating the environment of Latvia’s cultural and historical values and people’s role in it during various time periods over the past 1000 years.

Exhibition displays many objects which lifes ‘were saved’ with the knowledge and skills of the restorer: from archaeological artefacts shattered in pieces found in excavations, to paintings which have been kept rolled up in inadequate conditions for a long time or a crochet bedspread deformed while in use with many tears and holes.

Moreover, visitors will be able to see unique items, which usually are available just to a small circle of specialists, for example, a fragment Mother Latvia from the model of the Brethren Cemetery Mother Latvia with her Fallen Sons by Latvian sculptor Kārlis Zāle or the 13th century handwritten parchment with wax seals – Ruling of a court of arbitration in which Archbishop Albert of Riga settles a dispute over dominions in Courland between the Bishop of Courland and the Teutonic Order.

Conservation process includes both object restoration and research, which is connected with different academic fields and methods, such as chemical composition and structure of substances or the interesting and fascinating research of the object history. For example, in prior to restoration in-depth research conservator discovered that one chair had been a part of a 30 chairs and table set for the meeting room of the State Chancellery of Latvia.

The exhibition will showcase 130 items restored in recent decades by 80 Latvia’s conservators. The objects displayed at the exhibition come from many museums of Latvia, the National Archives of Latvia, the National Library of Latvia, as well as private collections and Latvia’s churches.


The Latvian Society of Restorers was founded on 10 June 1989. At present the association unites 195 conservators and other professionals connected with restoration field from many regions of Latvia who work in museums, libraries, archives, and the private sector, representing various branches, including restoration of paintings, furniture, paper, fabrics, leather, polychrome wood, metal and ceramics, research of architectural heritage, archaeological materials, etc. The Latvian Society of Restorers is involved in preserving Latvia’s cultural heritage and raises public awareness of the diversity and significance of cultural heritage.