The Department of Decorative Arts cares for an inestimable spiritual, historic and artistic patrimony that, starting from its acquisition (1999) has been inventoried and catalogued, and is the subject of uninterrupted work of protection, conservation, enhancement and promotion.
To this end it carries out, in productive synergy with the scientific staff, specialized personnel in the Restoration Laboratories of the Vatican Museums and selected external collaborators, a series of structured activities targeted both at the prestigious museum spaces and at the treasures on display and the artefacts in storage: attentive ordinary maintenance, scientific direction of restorations, new layouts, constant support to research with openness and support to scholars throughout the world, scientific publications, external communication through participation in conventions and exhibitions, and the promotion of educational activities.
Worthy of mention are the recent restoration of a group of 34 sixteenth-century ceramic plates from Urbino, already presented to the public in the temporary exhibition Banqueting with Gods. "Istoriato" plates from the Carpegna Collection (summer 2018, curated by G. Cornini), which will become part of the new arrangement of the ceramics collection, in the study of the large space adjacent to the room that hosts the Pharmacy of Santa Cecilia in Trastevere. This latter, acquired by the Holy See in the twentieth century, is in turn the subject of an integrated research study on the complex (the furnishings, ceramics, glass, instruments) with a view to a new arrangement that may make it accessible to the public.
A large part of the constant support to research ensured by the Department, which is keen to support scholars and researchers from around the world, may be found in the scientific Catalogue - published in several volumes - of the Profane Museum, curated by Claudia Lega, and in the Storia della Biblipoteca Apostolica Vaticana, vol. V (contributions by G. Cornini, C. Lega, M. Serlupi Crescenzi).
The Department also promotes educational experimentation by bringing together institutions responsible for education in heritage: the School (“E.Q. Visconti” Classical Lyceum, Rome), the Museum, and the University (Faculty of Science of Education, Alma Mater Studiorum, Bologna) focusing multidisciplinary research on the scientific instruments (celestial and planetary globes, planispheres, armillary spheres, etc.) on display in the Gallery of Urban VII and the Pauline Hall.