The Legion of Honor today reopens its incredible French period room, The Salon Doré. The type of room, particular to pre-revolutionary France, was called the salon de compagnie, or salon for conversation. "There was no eating," explains the Legion's curator of European decorative arts and sculpture, Martin Chapman. "They just sat and made conversation and it was the [woman of the house's] ability to hold the conversation. It was a bit like being an actor." Although fake conversations were perfectly acceptable in 1780s France, there's nothing fake about this room — its paint, furniture, paneling, upholstery, and gold gilding have been completely refurbished over the past 18 months. The museum's painstaking efforts have fully restored the room to its original splendor. "When used," Chapman says, "there is a whole orchestration — there's a sort of ballet that plays out in these salons."