The Paper Сonservation Workshop is the oldest workshop in the Museum and its work is closely linked to the history of the place. In the summer and autumn of 1924 the Engraving Cabinet and Art Library of the Rumyantsev Museum were transported to Volkhonka street, thus forming the basis of the Museum of Fine Arts' Department of Graphics' collection. By the end of the 1920 the Engraving Cabinet collection consisted of more than 200 000 pieces. The issues of the gravures and drawings' conservation as well as organization of temporary exhibitions (which at the time were considered the main direction in the educational work of the Museum) were addressed annually. The pressing need to maintain the constantly growing collection that required constant attention led to foundation of the first conservation workshop. The workshop was founded in 1929, when Vera Krylova, a conservator who interned in Berlin Kupferstichkabinett, or Museum of Prints and Drawings, came to work in the Museum.
The Paper Сonservation Workshop has come a long way since then. Wonderful and brilliant conservators worked there in different times, bringing thousands of graphic works back to life. The old traditions that have been carried out since the beginning of the Workshop are being passed from generation to generation of art conservators.
The collection of the museum is plentiful and varied. The conservators here work not only with gravures and drawings on paper, but with works made in different techniques on papyrus, parchment, leather, or bones. Work with such different materials requires deep knowledge and high professionalism. The older generation of conservators experienced in working with large posters, oriental art, and different drawing styles pass their knowledge to the younger members of the workshop.
Aside from the museum and exhibition works, the members of the workshop are involved in research and conservation projects with other conservation centres and scientific institutions of Moscow and Saint Petersburg. Special attention is paid to development of new research methods of the technological features of handmade and printed graphics, as well as development of new conservation and restoration methods for graphic arts.
Given that this work requires constant development in skills, members of the workshop constantly take part in various education programs, workshops, seminars, and conferences. The Paper Сonservation Workshop holds classes for Russian and foreign students majoring in fine art conservation.