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Artwork Appraisal

What is an appraiser?

An appraiser is a professional with the expertise and credentials needed to evaluate property.

I want to find out the value of a piece of artwork that I own. Can the museum appraise artwork for me?

The Polk Museum of Art is unable to provide values of objects or give references to specific appraisers due to ethical considerations. The following organizations can help you find a qualified appraiser in your area:

How do I find a reputable appraiser?

There are no generally recognized governmental licensing procedures for appraisers and no objective test to cite as a basis for judging competence so it is difficult to guarantee the quality of an appraiser. Once you find a few appraisers in your area from the websites listed below, we encourage you to research and compare each of the appraisers based on their education, resumes and references, and find the best appraiser for you. The Polk Museum of Art is unable to give references to specific appraisers due to ethical considerations.


I have a damaged piece of artwork that I would like to be repaired. Can the museum repair the artwork for me?

The Polk Museum of Art does not provide conservation services. The following organizations can help you find a qualified conservator in your area:

How do I pick the right conservator for my project?

When selecting a conservator, seek sufficient information on the individuals under consideration. Ask each potential conservator the following information:

  • What is your background?
  • What training have you completed?
  • How long have you been a practicing professional?
  • What is the scope of your practice? Is conservation your primary activity?
  • What is your experience in working with my kind of object?
  • What is your involvement in conservation organizations?
  • What is your availability?
  • Can you provide me with a list of references and previous clients?

Is there anything else I should consider before making my choice?

  • Conservation treatments are frequently time consuming and expensive. Be wary of those who propose to perform a quick and inexpensive restoration job, are reluctant to discuss in detail the materials and methods to be used, or will not permit you to see work in progress.
  • Many conservators are willing to travel. It may not be appropriate to restrict your search geographically, especially if the object presents unique problems.
  • You can try a conservator out. If you have a large collection requiring treatment, you may wish to have one object treated initially before entering a major contract.
  • There are risks involved with certain treatment options. The added time or expense of finding the right professional will be small compared to the loss or future costs that could result from inadequate conservation treatment.
  • Conservators do not always agree about treatments. The quality of conservation work is most accurately evaluated based on the technical and structural aspects of the treatment in addition to the cosmetic appearance; another conservation professional may be able to help you make this evaluation. Speak to a number of conservators before making a decision you are comfortable with.



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