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Museum under the loupe: Conservation and Scientific Research at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Art 


28 APRIL 2022 

20:00 HKT 

08:00 EDT 

22:00 AEST 

13:00 BST   



Donna Strahan


Maria Lee


Formerly known as the Freer Gallery of Art and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, the National Museum of Asian Art (NMAA) in Washington D.C. first opened to the public in 1932. The Freer story, however, began in 1906, when Charles Lang Freer gave his collection of Asian and American art to the nation, a gift he had proposed to President Theodore Roosevelt a year before. By exploring the differences in arts from around the world, the Freer Gallery of Art would unite, in Freer’s own words, “modern work with masterpieces of certain periods of high civilisation harmonious in spiritual suggestion.”

Join us for an in depth talk by Donna Strahan, Head of Conservation and Scientific Research​. We will look closer into Ancient metallurgy, technology and treatments for conservation at NMAA​.​

About the speakers

Donna Strahan received a B.A. in Chinese Language and a M.A. in the Conservation of Ethnographic and Archaeological Objects from George Washington University. She has been a conservator at the Conservation Analytical Laboratory, Smithsonian Institution; and at The Walters Art Museum in Baltimore.


She was Head of Conservation, at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco for eight years. From 2006 to 2014 Donna was the Conservator in charge of Asian objects at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.


Currently she is the Head of the Department of Conservation and Scientific Research, Freer and Sackler Galleries of Art, Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. Donna was also the Head Conservator at the archaeological excavations of Harappa, Pakistan; Tell Es-Sweyhat, Syria; and Troy, Turkey where she set up field laboratories and trained students. Donna is a guest lecturer at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University and has lectured and published widely. 

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About the moderator

Maria Lee is an independent researcher and artist studio manager currently based in Taiwan. Her nearly 10 years’ experience in the art industry was sparked by a university essay prompt on the Gnostic gospels and early Christian art. Following a museum internship in the UK, she obtained a Postgraduate Diploma in Asian Art from SOAS, University of London. Maria joined the Chinese Works of Art department in Sotheby’s Hong Kong and later took the role of Programme Manager at Asia Art Hong Kong. She read Theology at Oxford University. 

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