The Conservation Department is conducting procedures for moving the collection to the new Munch Museum in Bjørvika, which will open to the public in the spring of 2020.
The main task of the conservators is to preserve Edvard Munch's artwork, and we are thus responsible for ensuring that every single work of art in the collection – consisting of 1.150 paintings, 17.800 graphic works, 7.700 drawings, 14 sculptures and numerous photographs taken by Munch himself – is in a condition that allows them to be moved to the new museum without risking further damage.
This immense task can be divided into three basic stages: conservation, packing and preparing the artworks for transport. This implies a whole range of problems and challenges. One of them is that the museum plans to remain open as usual, with a full exhibition and loans programme, up until we close our doors in 2019. This means that a large number of the artworks that have already been prepared for the move will be displayed in exhibitions before 2020, which implies that they will have to undergo treatment again.
The condition of the collection is always in flux, due to the repeated showing of the works in exhibitions, but also due to the natural degradation of art over time. One of our greatest challenges is therefore to keep track of the condition of the collection and the overall treatment requirements in order to ensure progression in the work in the years prior to the move.
The project requires a close collaboration between painting, paper and sculpture conservators, the museum technicians and the art technicians.