John McGurl and Michelle Gluck

John McGurl and Michelle Gluck

While much of their work is not visible to visitors, conservators at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts’ play an essential role in the life of the museum. They ensure the long-term preservation of every work of art in the museum’s remarkably diverse collection—whether the object is on display, in storage, traveling as a loan, or in the Susan and David Goode Center for the Advanced Study of Art Conservation.

In addition to examining or treating hundreds of objects each year, VMFA’s conservators conduct cutting-edge research in collaboration with curators, scientists, and other experts to enrich our understanding of an artist’s techniques, materials, and working methods.

Conservators see themselves as part of a long line of caretakers for each object. As much as they look to the past to understand how a work was created and what has happened to it in the intervening years, conservators always act with an eye to the future. Every treatment performed on a work of art is approached after careful study and assessment of the critical needs of the piece. This mindset also informs VMFA’s efforts to help train the next generation of conservators through paid internships and graduate-level fellowships, with a particular focus on attracting candidates from underrepresented groups.

Longtime members John McGurl and Michelle Gluck recently decided to use their planned gift to support conservation initiatives.

“As we learned more about the Goode Center, it deepened our appreciation of how conservation touches every aspect of the museum,” Michelle explains. “The study and care of the collection is essential to VMFA’s mission, and we are gratified to know that our gift will help future generations enjoy these magnificent works as much as we have.”

To learn how you can support the incredibly important work of VMFA’s conservators and help preserve artwork for everyone to enjoy for years to come, please contact Marie Hawthorne, Senior Development Officer, at 804.340.1335 or