WASHINGTON -- The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation is awarding the Smithsonian's Freer and Sackler Galleries a $1 million grant to help conserve Chinese paintings.
The Smithsonian says its galleries of Asian art house the only U.S. program that teaches conservators how to care for delicate Chinese paintings. The new grant will endow a position for an assistant Chinese painting conservator to train and support the program.
As a condition of the Mellon grant, the museum must match the funds with an additional $750,000 by 2016 to endow the position.
Museum officials say there are a shrinking number of experts trained to care for Chinese paintings, which are often very old and made of layers of unique materials. There are thousands of such works in U.S. museums but only four expert conservators.
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