Going, Going, Gone

Stories from the Vaults: Going, Going, Gone

Tom joins the Smithsonian on a mission of "extreme conservation" to protect the best aspects of our world for future generations. See the amazing amount of work that goes into saving animals from the brink of extinction, preserving a provocative work of art, or reviving a genre of music.

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Stories From the Vaults: Going, Going, Gone: Sneak Peek

Saving animals from the brink of extinction, preserving provocative works of art, reviving an entire genre of music: go behind the scenes with Tom Cavanagh to discover some "extreme conservation."

There's MORE to the story. Discover the inspirations, see the artifacts and meet the experts of the Smithsonian Institution.


    Wild horses can't stop the Smithsonian! Read all about the National Zoo's efforts to save the Przewalski's horse.

    Connect to Smithsonian: Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute


    Lick" and "Lather," sculpted by Janine Antoni in 1993, are giving conservators at the Hirshhorn Museum of Modern Art a headache. The problem: "Lick" is a bust made of chocolate; "Lather" is made of soap.This isn't the frustration associated with keeping patrons from biting the nose off of "Lick," though that happened once. The real problem is that both chocolate and soap deteriorate over time, which raises a serious question for Hirshhorn conservators: To save, or not to save? Some modern art is intentionally ephemeral, here and then gone (think Cristo, the wrap man). "Lick" and "Lather" are more complicated. Their composition was indeed a statement by the artist, but they weren't designed to decay. What happens next is up to Hirshhorn conservators and the artist herself. Learn more about the Hirshhorn collections."

    Connect to Smithsonian: Smithsonian's Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden