In September 2014, one of the studios was named the Sheldon and Caroline Keck Paintings Conservation Studio to honor the Kecks and their founding of the conservation programs of fine art, cultural heritage and historic objects at Cooperstown and Buffalo, as pioneers of the profession, and as mentors to generations of students. This was made possible through the generous contribution of alumni of the class of 1980 and the Nord Family Foundation.
The two paintings conservation studios are spacious and include adjacent storage areas for the over 50 paintings undergoing conservation treatment, or awaiting treatment. Every year a wide variety of canvas and panel paintings are conserved as well as other paintings on more unusual supports such as copper, tinned iron, rawhide, cardboard or Masonite.
The studios are equipped with two state-of-the-art large vacuum hot tables, two custom-designed suction tables, a walk-in spray booth, easels, table and floor-standing Wild microscopes, numerous vapor extraction trunks that access the treatment stations around the large work tables, and a Macintosh computer.
The studios are well supplied with modern and historical pigments and resins, racks loaded with rolled conservation materials, and a comprehensive range of solvents. Many specialized smaller electric conservation tools (Engelbrecht radiant heat tool, Leister-labor hot air gun, Willard heated spatula, and others), and a wide selection of hand tools are also available.
In addition to these conservation materials, the studios are well fitted with supplies and tools used in gilding and other traditional painting techniques. As part of their first year of training, each student produces several paintings using historical methods. This important exercise provides students with valuable, in-depth experience with major historic painting technologies such as gilded tempera, traditional oil, and fresco.
During their years of study, students are educated and trained in the operation of all equipment and the use of materials. Once practiced in their application, they are encouraged to work independently. Teaching in the studios emphasizes direct, hands-on involvement of the student in all aspects of the structural, cosmetic, and finishing procedures used in the conservation of paintings.