The Polymateric Laboratory is dedicated to the protection and enhancement of one of the most valuable ethnographic collections in the world, on display in the Ethnological Museum of the Vatican Museums. The experience gained by the team of restorers of laboratory flows from the daily confrontation with objects of rare beauty, custodians of traditions and ancient cultures. Managing ethical and institutional responsibilities having to ensure the transmission of a unique heritage , the restorers have intervened developing a conservation project that attempted to heal first and foremost a state of emergency and profound degradation in which they poured the artifacts. Today, as a result of the many conservative interventions operated on the collections , the Polymateric Laboratory decided to foster a debate on the conservation of ethnographic , understood as an expression of heritage “alive” of inestimable value, the fruit of knowledge and the ability to indigenous communities bearers of values and traditions to be protected. In close collaboration with the Direction of Museums , the Ethnological Department , the Laboratory for Diagnostics and Conservation , the Office of the Registrar and other Restoration Laboratories of the Vatican Museums , the Polymateric Laboratory continues to work with a dynamic and interdisciplinary approach to conservation, which allows to relate to the origin of the works and to evaluate carefully the best conservative choices.
The polymateric laboratory assists in restoring a variety of artworks from a wide range of cultural and geographical backgrounds. They restore artwork with miscellaneous materials including leather, glass, feathers, and straw. Several completed works can now be viewed in the Missionary Ethnological Museum.