By  on June 30, 2006

NEW YORK — Conservators at the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C., are taking a bit of a fashionista turn. When the Lunder Conservation Center opens in the Smithsonian Saturday, the staff will be outfitted in denim aprons designed exclusively for the museum by Isaac Mizrahi.

Typically, preservation work — and the conservators completing it — are hidden in the back rooms of a museum. In an effort to bring preservation to the forefront of the museum experience, the Smithsonian has spent the past five years developing the 10,200-square-foot Lunder Conservation Center, which brings what many in the art world consider a museum’s most important work out to the public. The center features five laboratories and studios wrapped in floor-to-ceiling glass walls, where visitors can watch the conservators at work, stop at educational kiosks and participate in public programs and outreach initiatives.

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