Margaret Geiss-Mooney is an art and object conservator in private practice since 1979. She provides a full range of services including consultation; on-site examination; photo-documentation; technical analysis including microscopy; condition reports; cleaning; stabilizing; treatment; replicas; construction of custom designed supports, forms and boxes; collection care services and preparation for display and/or storage. She can provide recommendations for a full range of media and artifact types (including those based on cellulose, leather, metals, silk, wool, synthetic and other fibres), specializing in fashion, costume, costume accessories and textiles. Ms. Geiss-Mooney is available for both short-term and long-term projects, including working on site.
She conserves and preserves a wide variety of contemporary, historical, heirloom and antique textiles such as quilts, samplers, embroideries, costumes, costume accessories, uniforms, tapestries, kelims, rugs, ecclesiastical, ethnographic, archaeological, flags and lace, ranging in size from small to monumental. Her clients include museums, insurance adjusters, the Federal General Services Administration, the National Park Service, the U.S. Department of the Army, libraries, dealers, framers, fire/water restoration firms, private owners and collectors.
She has completed contract work for the California Department of Parks & Recreation, the Hearst Museum of Anthropology, the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco (2018), the Contemporary Jewish Museum (2018), the Oakland Museum of California, Filoli (a National Trust property), Charles M. Schulz Museum & Research Center (2017), the Blackhawk Museum, the Berkeley Art Museum (2004 – 2020), the Napa Valley Museum, the CSU-Sacramento Library Special Collections & Archives, the National Museum of Qatar (2015-16, 2016-17), the Pink Ribbons Crusade (2019 – 2020), Richmond (CA) Museum Association (2016 – 2021), the Lucasfilm Archives/Lucas Museum of Narrative Art (2009 – present) and the Levis Strauss Archives (2022).
She also offers workshops and lectures to all interested parties. Her topics include the deteriorating factors affecting textiles and how to slow their effects. She wants the audience to have enough background information about conservation recommendations and guidelines so that they can assess for themselves future recommendations and guidelines. She makes a point of recommending low-cost low-tech common sense solutions. Recent lectures and workshops were given at the Napa Valley Quilters, Gilroy Museum, Peninsula Quilters, Museums Association of Montana, Sonoma State University, the Marin History Museum, Chico State University, the Bay Area Sampler Guild, thru the Balboa Art Conservation Center (2008-2009: San Diego and Chico, CA, Eugene, OR and Seattle, WA; 2011: Tempe, AZ; San Diego & Sacramento, CA; Eugene, OR; Seattle, WA) and the FAIC Heritage Responder trainings (Florida, Texas, Washington, online [2017-20]).
Ms. Geiss-Mooney has a B.S. and M.S. degrees in Textiles from the University of California, Davis. She first became intrigued and then involved with historical textiles and their conservation during her sophomore year while interning at the E. B. Crocker Art Museum (Sacramento) where she worked on the costume collection. During the rest of her academic career, Ms. Geiss-Mooney took courses that would enable her to fully understand textiles from the molecule up and so be able to most successfully preserve and conserve our textile heritage and legacy. She also interned at the M.H. deYoung Museum and at the UC-Davis Art Conservation Laboratory. She has worked at the Cloisters/Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York) and at the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco.
She belongs to the American Association of Textile Chemists & Colorists (Senior Member); the American Institute for Conservation (Professional Associate); the Western Association for Art Conservation; and the Bay Area Art Conservation Guild (awarded Honorary Member), as well as other professional organizations (Costume Society of America; Textile Society of America; CIETA. She served on the Board of Directors of the California Heritage Quilt Project 1985 – 1997.