There is little doubt that Duane Hanson’s realist sculpture Tourists has been one of the most popular exhibits at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art since its acquisition in 1979. However, frequent display has taken its toll and by 2002, prior to a major show of Hanson’s work in Edinburgh, Tourists deserved some attention.

As the natural ageing of materials and inevitable accumulation of grime on the surface effects the work’s longevity and visual impact, it was decided to embark on a major conservation treatment.

Because the sculpture is composed of several different types of material, the project presented an ideal opportunity for collaboration with colleagues from the Conservation Department at the National Museums of Scotland. Four conservators specialising in different disciplines joined forces in attempt to clean these two well-loved figures, as well as their clothing and accessories.