The Freer|Sackler has a long tradition of using scientific methods to study works of art. Scientific research at the Freer|Sackler safeguards the collections and contributes to the understanding of Asian and American art through research and publication, professional collaborations, and educational efforts.

Primary areas involve research into a work’s physical nature to determine its provenance and the artist’s methods and materials, and the study of the collections to better understand objects and their deterioration. Utilizing modern analytical methods, conservation scientists also provide support for conservation efforts and curatorial research within the museums. In addition, the laboratory facilities are a resource for collaborative projects with colleagues from all over the world. A long-term scientific study of East Asian paintings in the Freer and Sackler collections has been made possible by the generous assistance of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

The museums’ scientific efforts are also aided by the Edward Waldo Forbes Fund. It promotes the study of the care, conservation, and preservation of works of art through the Forbes Symposium, fellowships, lectures on the technical study of works of art, and collaborative efforts in research and conservation with other institutions.