(315) 685-8534 — Skaneateles, New York


How do I get started?

The West Lake Art Conservation Center’s services are available by appointment. At the time of the first appointment, clients meet with a conservator and discuss treatment options, treatment and budget goals, and concerns. For specific cases, we offer on-site assessments and video call consultations.

How do I get an estimate?

If the client chooses to go forward with the exam and treatment proposal, the work is kept at the West Lake Art Conservation Center for a full assessment. The artwork is stored in a monitored climate and is insured by Fine Art insurance for the duration of time that it is under our care. Our conservator then examines the object, creates a report and treatment proposal, as well as an estimate. The exam step establishes the condition and treatment options and may include testing media and adhesives for solubility, document damage through photography at different magnifications, examine the object under different light sources. An examination package including written documentation, treatment proposal, and cost estimate is sent to the client as well as an estimated time for completion.

How do I approve and proceed with the treatment?

In order to proceed with treatment, upon receiving the written documentation clients must send a 50% deposit on the estimated treatment cost and a signed contract. 

What documentation do I receive after the treatment?

A digital copy of all photographic and written documentation is given to the client with each treatment on a CD, as well as hard copies of the written documentation Extensive photographic documentation of the object is taken before, during, and after treatment.

How long does a treatment take?

The treatment timeline is dependent on a variety of conditions – from the workload in the lab to the complexity of treatment. We can accommodate clients with specific timeline needs by request.

Can the estimated cost be negotiated?

Our prices are calculated based on hourly rates and materials. A number of baseline costs are related to practice standards established by the Code of Ethics of the American Institute for Conservation and cannot be reduced as they ensure there is appropriate documentation and testing to safeguard conservators as well as clients and the artwork itself. Whenever our treatment is completed under the estimated time, clients will not be billed for that amount. However,  our staff is experienced in establishing time for treatment and typically estimates are accurate.

Why choose the West Lake Art Conservation Center?

The West Lake Art Conservation Center is a nationally recognized mixed-area specialty practice with over 40 years of experience. The team component of our treatment protocol ensures that professionals with a variety of backgrounds and experiences are involved in examining each object and proposing the most appropriate treatment. Our staff abides by the Code of Ethics of the American Institute for Conservation and maintains a regular practice of attending continued education opportunities.

Does the West Lake Art Conservation Center do appraisals?

Conservators are not qualified to perform appraisals. We recommend contacting the American Society of Appraisers and can also share the contact of local professional appraisers we have worked with in the past.

Is it possible to remove mold from artwork on paper?

It is difficult to make a treatment judgment without examining the actual object. Examination allows us to determine if media is water-soluble as well as assess the condition of the support and the media. Although conservators can perform mold remediation on objects, the process often only removes the spores and helps prevent the progression of damage. If an object can be washed and light bleached – which is dependent on if the media can withstand this treatment – stains caused by mold can sometimes be reduced but the final result is unpredictable. In order to restore visual continuity, one additional option can be to overpaint the stains with appropriate media.

When do I need a conservator?

Objects and works of art are susceptible to deterioration over time. Even in the absence of obvious damage such as tears or paint loss, items may be covered with layers of atmospheric pollution and grime. Additional surface coatings may be discolored, disrupted, or worn. These conditions may be obscuring the original appearance and compromising the structural stability of an object. Consulting a conservator is therefore relevant at any point in time to assess the condition and discuss preservation measures.

What is the difference between conservation and restoration?

Restoration is the term often used to the aspect of conservation that pertains to returning an object’s visual appearance to its original state as much as possible. The other aspect of conservation treatment is preservation, which pertains to maintaining the integrity of an object and promote its long-term preservation, often with minimal change to its appearance.

What is a conservator?

Conservators are professionals who work to physically preserve cultural property from deterioration caused by environmental conditions, pollution, and disasters. A conservator may be trained at a conservation graduate training program or by lengthy apprenticeship with experienced senior colleagues. Working in museums, cultural institutions, research labs, and in private practice, conservators combine unique skills gained through ongoing study and advanced training in art history, science, documentation, material analysis, studio art, and related disciplines. Because of the increasingly technical nature of modern conservation, conservators usually specialize in a particular type of object such as: paintings, works of art on paper, rare books, photographs, electronic media, textiles, furniture, archaeological and ethnographic materials, sculpture, architectural elements, or decorative arts.