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Behind the Scenes in Conservation: Cleaning the Chihuly

by Conservation


behind the scenes , Dale Chihuly , conservation , Rio Delle Torreselle

Once a year our objects conservation team cleans the Rio Delle Torreselle Chandelier by Dale Chihuly. Our beautiful chandelier is made of 282 individual blow glass pieces hung together on a metal armature over our main lobby desk. Over a year’s time the clear blue glass collects a layer of dust that makes it appear hazy and gray (on left). The chandelier must be cleaned at height so a plastic safety net is placed underneath as a precaution. The conservation team uses two lifts working on opposite sides of the sculpture to remove dust from top to bottom.

Working from opposite sides ensures that the hanging sculpture doesn’t move or sway when pressure is applied during cleaning. Once the majority of dust has been removed the team goes back over each piece using a custom glass cleaning solution to polish. After cleaning off all of the dust light can easily pass through the glass allowing the beautiful blue colors to shine (on right).