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Participants use petrographic microscopes to study ceramics during the Thin Section Petrography workshop, 2008.

Forbes program

An endowment in honor of John Forbes has supported fellowships, lectures, and symposia since 1986, all involving the application of scientific methods to the study of Asian art.

Forbes Workshops

July 21–22, 2009. Thin Section Petrography of Stone and Ceramic Cultural Materials
Dr. Chandra L. Reedy, University of Delaware

Forbes Fellows

1993–94. Hong Jong-Ouk, Research Institute of Cultural Properties, Seoul
Production techniques and regional characteristics of earthenware in the Three Kingdoms Period, Korea

1994–95. Bilinda Dewage Nandadeva, University of Delaware Ph.D. Program, Newark, DE
Materials and technology of Kandyan and southern mural painting traditions of Sri Lanka: mid-eighteenth to late nineteenth century

1995–96. Quangyu Wang, PhD program, Institute of Archaeology, University College of London, England
Study on black layers in Qucun bronzes

1996–97. Cynthia Ryan, Maryland
Binding media analysis of Central Asian manuscript paintings

1997–98. Michelle Taube, New York
Corrosion study of Chinese bronzes based on samples in the Freer Gallery Reference Collection

1999. Sharada Srinivasan, Institute of Archaeology, University College of London, England
Characterization of Copper Alloys from Peninsular India

1999–2000. Liu Wei, Department of Archaeology, Peking University, Beijing
Analysis of low temperature glazed porcelain from Guantai kiln, China

2000–2001. Su Rongyu, Institute for the History of Natural Science, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing
Corrosion on Shang bronzes from South China: A case study of Chengdu bronzes

2006–2007. Yang Junchang, Shannxi Institute of Archaeology, Xi'an
Studies on archaeological materials from Xi'an: Gold, silver and jade

2007–08. Yae Takahashi, State University of New York, New York
Occurrence and use of organic pigments in East Asian art

Scientific Research

Tech Lab
Resources for scientific studies
Forbes program
Forbes Symposium

More about the Department


The conservation staff at the Freer and Sackler Galleries is responsible for the preservation and treatment of artworks in the collection, as well as preparing these objects for exhibition. The Department of Conservation and Scientific Research includes sections devoted to East Asian Paintings, Objects, Paper, and Exhibitions. More info »

Staff Publications

Publication is an integral part of our research program. Click below to view lists of published works by past and present members of the department:


Department staff list

As renovation work continues in the Freer Gallery, the Sackler Gallery also will close on July 10, 2017. This museum-wide closure will allow us to completely reinstall our exhibitions and revitalize features to improve your visit. Both spaces will reopen on October 14, 2017, when we will welcome the public back to the Freer|Sackler: two galleries, one destination. For your safety, all visitors will have their bags checked. See the complete list of restricted items and bag sizes.