Jia-sun Tsang, LEED AP

Senior Paintings Conservator


Phone: 301-238-1231
Fax: 301-238-3709
E-mail Address: TsangJ [at] si.edu

Museum Conservation Institute
Smithsonian Institution
4210 Silver Hill Road
Suitland, MD 20746


M.S. Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio
M.S. University of Delaware, Winterthur Museum, Art Conservation Program (1985), Wilmington, DE

Research Specialties and Interests

  • Aging behavior: acrylic, alkyd, and oil paints; plastics
  • Paint samples cross-section: preparation, photo documentation, and analysis
  • Modern and contemporary paintings conservation: treatment and preventive care in exhibition, shipping, and storage

Paintings Conservation - SI exhibitions

Visual Art Gallery, National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC), 2006-present

Stretching the Canvas: Eight Decades of Native Painting National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) New York, New York. November 16, 2019 - Fall 2021

Kay WalkingSticks: An American Artist exhibition, National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI), November 7, 2015 - September 18, 2016

Contemporary Argentine Masterworks at the International Gallery, Ripley Center, Smithsonian Institution, October 4, 2010 - January 23, 2011

Brian Jungen: Strange Comfort at the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI), October 16, 2009 - August 8, 2010

Fritz Scholder: Indian/Not Indian, Nation, National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI), November 1, 2008-August 16, 2009, Washington DC and NYC

Santos: Substance and Soul 2000-2002, travelling exhibition: Washington DC, Puerto Rico and New Mexico; curator and project manager

Professional Activities

LEED AP (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, Accredited Professional) 2008
American Institute of Conservation (AIC)
AIC SIstainability Committee, 2008-2015
International Institute of Conservation (IIC)



Smithsonian Secretary research prizes, 2019 for Technical Study and Treatment of Paintings by Clementine Hunter MCI team: Christine Romano, Thomas Lam and Jia-sun Tsang


Romano, Christine, Thomas Lam, Joshua Taillon*, G. Asher Newsome, Nicole Little, and Jia-sun Tsang. 2019. Investigation of Zinc Soap Protrusions using Correlative Spectroscopies   Studies in Conservation ISSN:0039-3630 (print) 2047-0584(online) https: www.tandfonline.com/loi/ysic20.

Tsang, Jia-sun, Elle Friedberg, Thomas Lam. An easy-to-use method for preparing paint cross sections Journal Of American Institute of Conservation Volume 58, No. 3, August 2019 pp. 123-131.

Barnes, Stephanie and Jia-sun Tsang Formation of efflorescence and soaps in a group of 31-year-old tempera paint: a baseline for comparison    Tempera Painting 1800-1950: Experiment and Innovation from Nazarene Movement to Abstract Art. 2019. Edited by Patrick Dietemann, Wibke Neugebauer, Eva Ortner, Renate Poggendorf, Eva Reinkowski-Häfner and Heie Stege pp. 191-194.

Tsang, Jia-sun and Stephanie Barnes. Capturing Dust: Microscopic Examination of Vellux® Fabric Used in Modern and Contemporary Paintings Conservation, WAAC Newsletter, 39(2): 9-12, 2017.

Tsang, Jia-sun, Ines Carvalho Caldeira Madruga, Don Williams, Rick Pelasara, and Robert Patterson. Modernized Stretcher for Paintings on Canvas: Assessment and Observation in Buckley, Barbara (ed.) The AIC Paintings Specialty Group Postprints: Papers Presented at the 41st Annual Meeting of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works, Indianapolis, Indiana, May 29-June 1, 2013. Washington, DC, AIC: 91-113, 2013. Published in 2017.

Baker, Whitney, Kelly McCauley, and Jia-sun Tsang. Sustaining the Unsustainable: Mitigation and Monitor for Modern Materials, AIC News, 40(5): September 2015.

O’Hern, Robin, Griswold ,Geneva, Haude, Mary Elizabeth, and Tsang, Jia-sun. An Introduction to How the Manufacturing and Disposal of Adhesives and Paints Affects our Environment, AIC News, 40(3): May 2015.

Tsang, Jia-sun, and Rinck, Maja. Detecting Individual Paints in Mixed-Media Paintings WAAC Newsletter (Western Association of Art Conservators), 37(1): January 2015.

Tsang, Jia-sun, Madruga, Ines, Williams, Donald C., Bosworth, Jennifer and  Hogge, David. 2014. Conservation of an oil painting of the Empress Dowager Tze His of China. Studies in Conservation, 59(1): S157-S160.

Tsang, Jia-sun, Schmidt, R. S. and Hollshwander, Chris. 2013. Conservation Meets Sustainability: Recycling Wooden Exhibition Cases. WAAC Newsletter, 35(2): 18-20.

Tsang, Jia-sun and Babo, Sara. 2011. Soot Removal from Acrylic Emulsion Paint Test Panels: A Study of Dry and Non-Contact Cleaning. In: Preprints, ICOM-CC (International Council of Museums - Committee for Conservation) 16th Triennial Conference, Lisbon, Portugal, 19-23 September 2011. ICOM-CC, pp. 1-9.

Turner, Ann, Heald, Susan, Tsang, Jia-sun, Lee Yoonjo, Giaccai, Jennifer. 2010 Preventive Conservation and Identification of Plastics of a Recent Acquisition at the National Museum of the American Indian AIC post Print 2010.

Tsang, Jia-Sun. 2010. Safe Handling of Plastics in a Museum Environment. WAAC Newsletter, 32(2): 16-22.

Tsang, Jia-sun, Madden, Odile, Coughlin, Mary, Maiorana, Anthony, Watson, Judy, Little, Nicole C. and Speakman, Robert Jeff. 2009. Degradation of 'Lumarith' Cellulose Acetate Examination and Chemical Analysis of a Salesman's Sample Kit. Studies in Conservation, 54(2): 90-105.

Tsang, J., Jentsch, E.W., Gieseking, R. and Seeger, A.M. 2009. Preserving Modern Marvels: The Plastics Collection at the National Museum of American History. In: Art d'aujourd'hui patrimoine de demain: Conservation et restauration des oeuvres contemporaines (13es journees d'edutes de la SFIIC, Paris: Institut national du patrimoine, 24-26 juin 2009). Paris: IIC, pp. 1-6.

Tsang, J. 2008. Fossil Fuels Plastic. EcoExchange: newsletter of the SI Green Team, 1(3): 2-3.

Pinchin, Sarah Eleni and Tsang, Jia-sun 2007. Fluor-S Art, Northern Lites, DayGlo: Daylight Fluorescent Pigments, Their Development, Use and Performance. In: Modern Paints Uncovered: Proceedings from the Modern Paints Uncovered Symposium organized by The Getty Conservation Institute and The National Gallery of Art. London: Tate Modern, pp. 296

Dussubieux, Laure, Pinchin, Sarah Eleni, Tsang, Jia-sun and Tumosa, Charles S. 2005. Non-destructive elemental analysis: reliability of a portable X-ray fluorescence spectrometer for museum applications. In: Preprints of the 14th Triennial Meeting ICOM Committee for Conservation, The Hague, 12-16 September 2005, Volume 2. , pp. 766-773.

Tsang, J., Pinchin, S.E., Almond, K. and Tumosa, C.S. 2004. Conservation of Murals in the Alameda Theatre: Reviving Former Cutting-Edge Fluorescent Paint and Black-Light Technology. In: Roy, A. and Smith, P., Modern Art, New Museums: Contributions to the IIC Bilbao Congress, 13-17 September, 2004, pp. 185-188.

Tsang, J. and Esterlund, T. You be the Conservator: Looking at Objects - Inside and Out. National Museum of American History and Smithsonian Center for Material and Research Education 2001.

Tsang, Jia-sun. Santos: Substance & Soul Exhibition Catalog.
(http://www.si.edu/mci/english/research/past_projects/nhccnmexhibit.html): 2000.

Tsang, Jia-sun, Hopwood, Walter R. and Lake, Susan. 1996. Analysis of a Moisture-Sensitive Painting. In: Painting Specialty Group Postprints. Washington, DC: American Institute for Conservation, pp. 115-120.

Klein, Elyse L., Tsang, Jia-sun and Baker, Mary T. 1992. Non-Instrumental Techniques for the Characterization and Identification of Artists' Acrylic Paints. Polymer Preprints, 33(2): 650-651.

Tsang, J. and Erhardt, W.D. 1992. Current Research on the Effects of Solvents and Gelled and Aqueous Cleaning Systems on Oil Paint Films. Journal of the American Institute for Conservation, 31(1): 87-94.

Tsang, Jia-sun and Cunningham, Roland C. 1991. Some Improvements in the Study of Cross-sections. Journal of the American Institute for Conservation, 30: 1-14.

Erhardt, W. David and Tsang, Jia-sun 1990. The Extractable Components of Oil Paint Films. In: Cleaning, Retouching and Coatings, Preprints of the Contributions to the Brussels Congress. London: IIC, pp. 93-97.

Erhardt, W. David, von Endt, David W. and Tsang, Jia-sun 1990. Condition, Change, and Complexity: The Media of Albert Pinkham Ryder. In: Postprints of the Paintings Specialty Group. Washington, DC: American Institute for Conservation, pp. 28-35.

Lake, Susan and Tsang, Jia-sun 1990. The Conservation of 'Le Cirque' by Daniel Barinoff-Rossine. In: Postprints of the Paintings Specialty Group. Washington, DC: American Institute for Conservation, pp. 41-44.

Tsang, Jia-sun, Ravenal, Nancie, Bernstein, Johanna and Odell, J. Scott 1990. The Conservation of the 100,000th Steinway Piano. In: Cleaning, Retouching and Coatings, Preprints of the Brussels Conference. London: Interantional Institute of Conservation, pp. 52-55.