The Department of Scientific Research is responsible for investigating the material aspects of works of art in the Museum's collections. Scientists in the department cooperate with conservators and curators in studying, preserving, and conserving works, and also pursue innovative research in analytical techniques, preventive conservation, and treatment methodologies.
A comprehensive quantitative petrographic database of sandstones used by the Khmers for sculptural purposes would be a helpful tool for archaeologists, museum curators, and others interested in pursuing research on early stone usage, geologic source, and provenance of Southeast Asian stone materials. Toward this end, Khmer sculptures from the Museum's collections have been analyzed and field surveys planned to map and characterize the quarries exploited during the Khmer Empire.
The dye used in a Latin American Colonial textile from the sixteenth to seventeenth century is examined in order to determine the textile's origin.