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Wood, Furniture, and Lacquer Working Group Triennial Programme 2020-2023

Wood, Furniture, and Lacquer Working Group Triennial Programme 2020-2023

Specific themes for investigation/research

  • Study and treatment of wooden decorative surfaces, including gilded, lacquered, painted and varnished surfaces. Asian lacquer will also be explored in connection with the Scientific Research Working Group. Novel cleaning methods for sensitive surfaces has been identified as an area of strong interest.
  • Wood science, including relationships between wood behaviour and surface degradation, wood consolidation, wood ID, imaging techniques for dating or assessing construction and deterioration.
  • Other conservation topics under consideration include musical instruments in collaboration with ICOM International Committee for Museums and Collections of Instruments and Music (CIMCIM).
  • Identify efficient communication tools, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, encouraging participation and exchanges within and outside the group.
  • Diversity, equity, access, and inclusion in the field of wood, furniture and lacquer conservation, across the globe and in respective countries and cultures. Engage with colleagues who may have different conservation approaches (for instance with Asian lacquer) to develop a better understanding of the foundations for varied approaches (especially important when treating objects from other cultures in western collections). 


Communication: through the ICOM-CC website, group emails and Working Group annual Newsletters.

Publications: assist with gathering information for the Online Publications Platform Project related to the Working Groups past publications, as well as any further work required to place publications generated in this triennium.

  • Complete Postprints of past Interim Meeting: “Historic and modern assemblages: treatments of wood-based multimedia artworks /interiors in context”, held in Potsdam, Germany, 8-10 April, 2016. Make available online a selection of unpublished papers from the interim meeting “Heritage Wood: Research and Conservation in the 21st Century”, held in Warsaw, Poland, 28-30 October 2013. Proceedings of Interim Meeting in 2022 (see below for information on Interim Meeting).


Investigation into the development of a mentorship and peer-to-peer program. The goals of the programme are to facilitate exchanges between peers and to encourage younger members of the community to take part into the Working Group activities while guiding them in the design and development of research projects.

Virtual meetings: in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Working Group will be offering virtual meetings. Topics being considered include Asian lacquer (with the Scientific Research Working Group), musical instruments (with CIMCIM), cleaning of wooden gilded surfaces.


In-person Interim Meeting: spring 2022, on the theme of the conservation of wooden decorative surfaces. Contents would include consolidation and cleaning approaches of gilded, lacquer and polychrome wooden surfaces, as well as wood science. The latter aims to focus on the understanding of wood behaviour and how it impacts degradation of the surface, as well as consolidation of the substrate. It is envisioned to incorporate discussions on ethical issues involved in treatment decision-making, reflect on ways to facilitate dialogue between conservators and other stakeholders, discuss education needs/offerings, as well as treatment approaches.


ICOM-CC Triennial Conference: Organise the Wood, Furniture and Lacquer Working Group session at the 20th ICOM-CC Triennial Conference in 2023.


ICOM-CC acknowledges and highly values the contributions and additional efforts required by the Working Group Coordinators towards converting the Beijing 19th Triennial Conference to a fully virtual event. Additional workloads are being carried by Coordinators from both the past and current triennia to ensure a vibrant and exciting conference.