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6. Specialty Session [clear filter]
Thursday, May 31


(Objects) Manipulating Materials: Preparing and Using Paraloid B-72 Adhesive Mixtures
Recent AIC presentations (2017 Annual Meeting) indicate that there are numerous misunderstandings about the use of solvent adhesives, particularly Paraloid B-72. The increasingly popular use of Paraloid B-72 is based primarily on its notable and favorable conservation attributes. Paraloid B-72 is the most stable, reversible and dependable resin now used in conservation. It was introduced as an adhesive by the author just over 30 years ago and also has very commendable working properties, including excellent adhesion and fast setting time, but these can easily be compromised by improper preparation and improper application. This paper discusses the many ways that Paraloid B-72, or other solvent-based adhesives should be prepared, modified or manipulated to obtain easy and efficient application as well as consistent and excellent results. Preparation is critical to having a dependable solvent-based adhesive. B-72 can be very easily made up with only a few minutes of preparation, and then allowing about 8 hours for the resin to dissolve in solvent. The choice of solvent is very important, and acetone has proven to be the best solvent, on its own, or in some cases with a small amount (5-10%) of ethanol. The ratio or percentage of resin:solvent can be modified to control the application and setting time for different uses. This then allows the conservator to control the application of a thin or thicker adhesive. One additive is recommended in the initial preparation, and that is the addition of a small amount of hydrophobic fumed colloidal silica, which aids in uniform application, stabilization of the mixture, film formation and solvent evaporation. Fumed silica is an inert material, classified as a rheological agent (to control flow characteristics). It is not necessary to evaporate off any solvent after the B-72 resin has dissolved in the acetone, as the initial amount of solvent can easily be calculated for producing an adhesive of specific viscosity (or thickness). For glass, a thinner solution of approximately 60 % weight/volume is recommended because glass is non-porous and non-permeable, while a thicker solution of 72 % works better on more porous substrates, such as low-fired ceramics, porous stone, wood, bone and ivory. For best results, including application and maintaining a consistent fluid mixture, the prepared adhesive should be poured into adhesive tubes, specifically designed for solvent adhesives. This also improves the ease-of-use and accuracy of assembly.

avatar for Stephen Koob-[Fellow]

Stephen Koob-[Fellow]

Chief Conservator, Corning Museum of Glass
Stephen Koob is responsible for the care and preservation of all of the Museum’s collections. This includes cleaning the glass and making recommendations for its handling, storage, display, and movement. He also oversees the maintenance and repair of objects in the Museum’s... Read More →

Thursday May 31, 2018 2:00pm - 2:30pm
Texas Ballroom B Marriott Marquis Houston


(Objects) Visible effects of adhesive and pressure on color in kingfisher feathers
Structurally colored feathers render color through physical scattering of light rather than pigments. There is an expected, but heretofore unexplored, effect of adhesive choice and pressure on the color of these materials. Further, such feathers are generally considered to be more light-stable than pigmented examples. In the current study, structurally colored blue kingfisher feathers are used to examine these effects in order to guide conservation treatments and preventive care.

The Chinese tradition of tian-tsui, literally 'dotting with kingfishers', describes a technique of cloisonné style jewelry that utilizes blue, blue-green, and purple feathers instead of fused glass powder. The feathers are adhered to a backing, usually metallic, though occasionally composed of thick layers of paper. This technique appears in Chinese culture from as early as the first century BCE, though surviving examples date most prevalently to the Qing dynasty (19th century) (Chambers et al. 1981, 32). The early featherwork items were not restricted to jewelry, but also appeared in the form of feather mosaics on clothing, bed coverings, and palanquins (Chambers et al. 1981, 32; Garrett 1994, 86). Such items are now ubiquitous in museum collections. Through a technical study of kingfisher feather jewelry from the Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery at Scripps College in Claremont California, as well as accelerated light aging studies and pressure tests completed on mocked up samples of recently plucked kingfisher feathers at both the UCLA/Getty and the Getty Conservation Institute labs, I evaluate the effects of original and conservation/restoration adhesives and coatings, and effects of mechanical interactions, on the structural colors of the feathers.

For the experimental part of the study, feather specimens from skins of Halcyon smyrnensis, the White-breasted Kingfisher, donated by the United States Fish and Wildlife Department, were plucked, trimmed, and adhered onto inert quartz glass plates and subjected to three methods of light aging, with color measurements occurring after aging with an integrating sphere. The accelerated light aging methods included museum conditions (free of ultraviolet radiation), window conditions (ultraviolet radiation present), and high intensity UVA conditions, with an additional control group kept in the dark. Adhesive systems tested were those documented as having been used originally or in the conservation of kingfisher featherwork, including: protein glues (gelatin and isinglass), funori, methylcellulose, and Paraloid B-72. Characterizing the adhesives used on the Scripps collection items provided supporting technical evidence.

Taken together, the results of this study provide insights into kingfisher feather tian-tsui technology, and the effect of adhesive systems and mechanical actions on the preservation of color within these structurally colored feathers. Findings will be presented about the color stability, both separately and upon interaction with different adhesives, leading to recommendations for adhesive choices for the conservation of such featherwork. Further, results of mechanical disruption of kingfisher feather coloration will be illustrated. Experimental work and technical analysis provide an enhanced understanding of a complex material, effectively aiding its conservation and preservation.

avatar for Ellen Pearlstein

Ellen Pearlstein

Conservator, UCLA/Getty Master’s Program in the Conservation of Archaeological and Ethnographic Materials
Ellen Pearlstein is a professor at the University of California, Los Angeles in both Information Studies, and is a founding faculty member in the UCLA/Getty Program in Archaeological and Ethnographic Conservation. Her research interests include American Indian tribal museums and how... Read More →

Thursday May 31, 2018 2:30pm - 3:00pm
Texas Ballroom B Marriott Marquis Houston


(Objects) Manganese Stain Reduction on an Ancient Greek Terracotta Vase
A 5th century BCE Greek red-figure terracotta pelike (jar) at the Harvard Art Museums exhibited areas of black manganese dioxide staining from burial. In addition to ceramics, these black stains are found on bone, glass and stone. They are not considered harmful to the object and are often left as part of its archaeological history. The disfiguring staining on this particular ceramic made interpretation of the painted design difficult necessitating treatment. Studies have been published on reducing manganese staining from glass, but very little was found for ceramics. Thus, a research project was undertaken to develop a safe method to reduce the manganese staining. A variety of treatment techniques were investigated including Nd:YAG and Er:YAG laser cleaning, and application of a range of chemicals by swabs and poultices. The latter was deemed the most promising option and a variety of poulticing materials, chelators and reducing agents were investigated. To avoid testing on the pelike itself, treatment options were evaluated first on terracotta mock-ups with artificial manganese staining and then on an ancient terracotta plate fragment with archaeological manganese staining. Based on the results, treatment was carried out on the pelike using a poultice of bentonite clay with 80:20 deionized water:ethanol. Bentonite is mostly sodium or calcium montmorillonite but also contains minor amounts of other minerals. It was chosen because it has a high ion exchange capacity (80-150 meq/100g) and thus was able to break the stain’s bond to the ceramic. After the poultice was applied, allowed to slowly dry and removed, a cotton swab dampened in water reduced the manganese staining. Because ethanol is a less effective solvent than water for soluble salts, it replaced a portion of water to minimize the amount of salts brought to the surface during treatment. The 80:20 ratio proved to be the most efficient at preventing the majority of salts while maintaining bentonite’s ability to reduce the staining. The thickness and the water content (Water content (Wc) = weight water/weight dry poultice) of the poultices were critical factors. Poultices used for effective treatment were about 3 mm thick with a Wc of approximately 5. If the poultice was too thin or the liquid content too low, the poultice dried quickly and was ineffective. The manganese staining was characterized by x-ray fluorescence spectroscopy (XRF), scanning electron microscopy with energy dispersive microanalysis (SEM-EDS) and x-ray photoelectric spectroscopy (XPS). SEM-EDS, XPS and Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) were used to analyze the bentonite poultice and the manganese stained terracotta before and after treatment. Results showed that the terracotta surface was unchanged and no bentonite was left behind. XPS analysis enabled identification of the manganese species present on the terracotta before treatment. The treatment of the pelike significantly reduced the manganese staining and achieved the desired outcome of a clearer interpretation of the painted design. The results of this research project can inform future treatments of manganese stained ceramics.

avatar for Susan Costello-[PA]

Susan Costello-[PA]

Associate Conservator of Objects and Sculpture, Straus Center for Conservation
Susan D. Costello received a BA in chemistry from College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA in 1996 and her MS in art conservation with a specialty in objects conservation from the Winterthur/University of Delaware Program in 2004. After graduation, she completed the advanced level... Read More →


Katherine Eremin

Patricia Cornwell Senior Conservation Scientist, Harvard Art Museums
Katherine Eremin is the Patricia Cornwell Senior Conservation Scientist at the Straus Center for Conservation and Technical Studies/Harvard Art Museums. She previously worked as an inorganic scientist at the National Museums of Scotland and received her PhD in 1994 from the University... Read More →
avatar for Georgina Rayner

Georgina Rayner

Associate Conservation Scientist, Straus Center for Conservation and Technical Studies
Georgina Rayner is the Associate Conservation Scientist at the Straus Center for Conservation and Technical Studies, Harvard Art Museums. Prior to this role Georgina was the Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Conservation Science at the same institution. Georgina holds a Masters... Read More →

Thursday May 31, 2018 3:00pm - 3:30pm
Texas Ballroom B Marriott Marquis Houston


(Objects) Loss Compensation on Ceramics using Photogrammetry, Digital Modeling and 3D Printing
This paper will describe some tools for producing detailed, 3D printed restorations for ceramics that may also be applicable to other areas of conservation. Photogrammetry is a 3D imaging process that is relatively easy to do with standard photography equipment in the conservation lab, provided one has a computer with a sufficient processing capability. Agisoft PhotoScan was used to create three dimensional mesh models of several different ceramics that were in need of restoration. The project involved experimentation with available 3D modeling and sculpting programs. Autodesk Meshmixer, a free software system, was selected to digitally ”sculpt” and process the meshes for a 3D print in resin. The finished resin parts were then easily attached to the body of the ceramic and painted using conventional methods. The ceramics in this study include a small Meissen porcelain with a missing right hand and eyeglass lens, a 12th century Persian ceramic with a missing handle, and an 18th century English delftware posset pot lacking sculptural elements on the lid. The use of 3D printed parts resolved a variety of problems commonly found in ceramic restoration, such as complex and simple modeling, shiny glazed surfaces, achieving fine detail on very small elements, mirroring of meshes to create a right hand from a digital model of the left, and the need for precise joins on complex break edges. While the learning curve for using these programs is steep, familiarity makes the operator more efficient, and there are a number of advantages to printing these restorations instead of using conventional techniques. First of all, handling of the artifact is dramatically reduced, an important safety factor. Conventional modeling and casting of very small detailed parts, such as a missing porcelain hand, is challenging for many, and may require some creative interpretation by the conservator. However, with digital models, it is possible to provide a more “authentic” restoration. For example, a missing left hand can be created and articulated from a digital mesh model of the right hand. Thus, the restored right hand, as a mirror image of the original left hand, could be considered a closer iteration of the artist’s intent. It is also very easy to create a digital mesh of the “stump” or break edges of the ceramic and use this to make a nearly perfect match in the printed restoration. One practical and timesaving advantage is that much of the imaging and printing work can be subcontracted to volunteers, students or contractors who have specialized digital skills. Sharing the highly accurate digital models based on laser scanning or photogrammetry will also make similar examples by the same artist or workshop easier to share, either for the purpose of loss compensation or study. The digital files are also available for future research. Finally, the use of 3D digital models allows for experimentation that is helpful in discussing positioning and articulation of restorations with curators. The techniques discussed here are likely to have applications beyond ceramic restoration.

avatar for Kathleen Garland-[Fellow]

Kathleen Garland-[Fellow]

Conservator, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
Kathleen M. Garland received her BA in Art History from Brown University, and her MA in Art Conservation from the State University of New York, Cooperstown. She completed her internship in the Sculpture Conservation Department at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. From 1986-89... Read More →
avatar for Stephanie Spence

Stephanie Spence

Conservation Fellow, Toledo Museum of Art
Stephanie Spence received her M.A. and Certificate of Advanced Study from the Art Conservation Program at Buffalo State College, State University of New York where she specialized in objects conservation, with interests in Asian lacquer and metals. Stephanie received her B.A. in Art... Read More →


R. Bruce North

Conservation Department Volunteer, The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
R. Bruce North received his BS in Ocean Engineering from Florida Institute of Technology and his MS in Civil Engineering from the University of Houston. He retired from a career in Structural Engineering and Project Management and is currently providing volunteer assistance to the... Read More →

Thursday May 31, 2018 4:00pm - 4:30pm
Texas Ballroom B Marriott Marquis Houston


(Objects) The Use of 3D Printing for Casting Proportional Replicas Used in the Treatment of Articulated Skeletons
The anatomical accuracy of natural science specimens is important for their use in education and display. This case study explores the recreation of missing elements of an articulated brant goose skeleton (Branta bernicla) from a study collection in the Ornithology Department at the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH). The articulated skeleton was treated during a course at the Conservation Center of the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University (NYU). In current AMNH practice, molds taken from other specimens of the same species are often used to cast replacement elements missing from an articulated skeleton. However, the goose skeleton in this case study is larger than other brant specimens at the AMNH, so casts made in the usual way would not have been proportionally correct. To create replicas of the required size, the analogous bones from a smaller specimen were laser scanned at NYU’s LaGuardia Studio, a facility providing advanced digital media services to faculty, students, and visiting artists. The scans were enlarged using modeling software and then used to 3D-print a model of each bone. In order to ensure low cost with long-term stability, the printed models were then used to create silicone molds from which casts were made in a stable epoxy. This presentation will detail the options available for 3D scanning, file manipulation, and printing, with emphasis on cost, practicability, and long-term stability. Both the printing process and printing materials will be discussed. For this case study, the final cost was under $60 for the scanning and printing of five small bones. Including creating the second molds, the treatment required about 20 hours, spread over a few weeks. The lag time was mostly due to scheduling with the LaGuardia Studio rather than the necessity of the process. Combining digital technology with traditional mold-making techniques allowed for the more accurate calculation of shape and proportion of the bone replicas and the creation of highly detailed molds quickly and economically.

avatar for Christine E Haynes

Christine E Haynes

Assistant Objects Conservator, Preservation Arts
CHRISTINE HAYNES is Assistant Objects Conservator at Preservation Arts (Oakland, California). Her research interest is in modern and contemporary art, especially plastic polymers and composite material. Christine trained at the Conservation Center of the Institute of Fine Arts NYU... Read More →

avatar for Julia	Sybalsky

Julia Sybalsky

Senior Associate Conservator, American Museum of Natural History
Julia Sybalsky is an Associate Conservator at the AMNH, where she began working in January of 2010. She was an important contributor in the recently-completed renovation of dioramas in the Hall of North American Mammals and the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Hall. Julia's work supports... Read More →
avatar for Fran E. Ritchie

Fran E. Ritchie

Conservator, Harpers Ferry Center
Fran Ritchie is the Conservator of ethnographic materials, natural science, and decorative arts objects at the National Park Service (NPS) Harpers Ferry Center. Prior to working for the NPS, she was an assistant conservator in the Anthropology Objects Conservation Lab at the American... Read More →

Thursday May 31, 2018 4:30pm - 5:00pm
Texas Ballroom B Marriott Marquis Houston


(Objects) Conditioning Basketry Elements with Water and Ethanol: An Investigation into the Effects of Standard Conservation Methods
Humidification or conditioning of baskets to effect realignment or re-shaping is a standard conservation treatment performed wherever these collections are held. We know that baskets are particularly prone to damage caused by the alternate swelling and shrinking of fibers due to fluctuations in relative humidity. At the same time, this sensitivity has long been used in the conservator’s favor. The chemical composition of cellulose, specifically its ability to form hydrogen bonds, allows for both water and polar solvents to plasticize dried plant tissue. While humidification (or conditioning when using solvents) has become a standard conservation procedure, its effects on material properties have remained only theoretically evaluated rather than through a material study. In fact, untested concerns have been raised over microbial growth, and also the potential for irreversible swelling of the basketry elements. As a result, polar solvents – for example ethanol – have been added to or become a preferred conditioning media instead water. The research for this thesis project, conducted at the UCLA/Getty Conservation Program, revolved around designing an experiment to track the extent of swelling and subsequent recovery of basketry samples treated with water and ethanol vapor. These samples represent two plant species, willow (Salix spp.) and spruce root (Picea spp.), one deciduous and the other coniferous, which occur with some frequency in the basketry traditions of the western United States and Canada. The extent of swelling before and after the conditioning process between all the samples was compared, using measurements taken with a Keyence digital microscope. Pure water, pure ethanol, and three mixtures of the two at different proportions, were each evaluated for consequent dimensional changes occurring before, during, and after conditioning to the same relative humidity as is typically used in conservation treatments. The results of this study not only corroborate information from fields as diverse as conservation, forestry science and material science, but also point towards clear trends which can inform the conservator’s decision-making in planning humidification/conditioning treatments of basketry. By performing a material study, we are able to provide clearer guidelines about the effects of different conditioning solutions.

avatar for Hayley Monroe

Hayley Monroe

Master's Student, UCLA/Getty Program for the Conservation of Archaeological and Ethnographic Materials
Hayley Monroe is a third year student in the UCLA/Getty Master’s Program in the Conservation of Archaeological and Ethnographic Materials. She graduated from Mount Holyoke College with a BA in Classics. She gained field experience in the conservation of ceramics, metals, glass and... Read More →
avatar for Ellen Pearlstein

Ellen Pearlstein

Conservator, UCLA/Getty Master’s Program in the Conservation of Archaeological and Ethnographic Materials
Ellen Pearlstein is a professor at the University of California, Los Angeles in both Information Studies, and is a founding faculty member in the UCLA/Getty Program in Archaeological and Ethnographic Conservation. Her research interests include American Indian tribal museums and how... Read More →

Thursday May 31, 2018 5:00pm - 5:30pm
Texas Ballroom B Marriott Marquis Houston
Friday, June 1


(Objects + Archaeological Conservation) Facial Reconstruction of Ancient Egyptian Mummies: Experiences from the Johns Hopkins Archaeological Museum
Poised at the intersection of science and art, the field of facial reconstruction offers an unprecedented way to approach the ancient dead as human beings who “look like us.” This paper discusses issues precipitated by the digital reconstruction of the faces of two ancient Egyptians stewarded by the Johns Hopkins Archaeological Museum, and considers how new scientific technologies as well as ethical concerns complicate attempts to render human remains more recognizably human. The interdisciplinary nature of this project required developing a new framework for respectful practices for the preservation and presentation of human remains, particularly as there were many perspectives involved; in the case of this research, this included the combined expertise and insights of forensic artists and anthropologists, a facial prosthetist, radiologists, biomedical engineers, digital imaging specialists, Egyptologists, graduate and undergraduate students, as well as an art conservator. Focusing on two ancient Egyptian individuals who have been closely associated with the history of Baltimore, and Johns Hopkins University, its hospital and its Archaeological Museum since the early twentieth century, this paper highlights the many unexpected types of documentation that were required to more fully understand the “object biographies” of these two individuals. From their acquisitions to early autopsies, to past conservation treatments, recent computed tomography scanning and digital reconstruction as well as multi-band imaging of associated objects, the kinds of data, and expertise required to decode these new kinds of data, has raised questions about how we affect a more holistic stewardship of human remains. The paper will also consider how the final digital depictions were contextualized and interpreted for a broader audience through student documentation and student-designed public programming in order to invite the museum visitor and the public to have a role in ensuring a respectful stewardship of the people of the past.

avatar for Sanchita Balachandran-[Fellow]

Sanchita Balachandran-[Fellow]

Associate Director, Johns Hopkins Archaeological Museum, The Johns Hopkins Archaeological Museum
Sanchita Balachandran is Associate Director of the Johns Hopkins Archaeological Museum and Senior Lecturer in the Department of Near Eastern Studies at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD. She teaches courses related to the technical study and analysis of ancient objects, as... Read More →


Juan Garcia

Student, Ridgely Middle School
avatar for Mark Roughley

Mark Roughley

Research and Teaching Assistant, Liverpool John Moores University
Mark is a trained Medical Artist and his 3D modelling, CGI texturing and animation skills, alongside knowledge of CT data reconstruction practice, 3D scanning and 3D printing are used to aid in Craniofacial Reconstruction and for presentation to public audiences.
avatar for Kathryn Smith

Kathryn Smith

PhD researcher, Face Lab
Craniofacial identification and depiction (forensic and archaeological)visual art and curatorshipEthics of display
avatar for Meg Swaney

Meg Swaney

PhD Student, Egyptian Art & Archaeology, Johns Hopkins University
Meg Swaney is a PhD student in Egyptian Art & Archaeology and a Graduate Student Museum Supervisor at the Johns Hopkins Archaeological Museum. She she does osteological work at the JHU Mut Temple expedition, and her dissertation focuses on the art history of the temple of Ptolemy... Read More →
avatar for Caroline Wilkinson

Caroline Wilkinson

Director, Liverpool School of Art & Design
Craniofacial identification and forensic art

Friday June 1, 2018 8:30am - 9:00am
Texas Ballroom B Marriott Marquis Houston


(Objects + Archaeological Conservation) Gold Working at Ur: A Collaborative Project to Better Understand Ancient Gold Smithing
This paper presents recent research on gold artifacts from the Royal Cemetery of Ur, ca. 2450-2100 BCE and proposes some possible methods for their manufacture. Sir Leonard Woolley excavated these artifacts at the site of Tell al-Muqayyar (ancient Ur) in southern Iraq in the 1920s-1930’s as part of a project sponsored by the Penn Museum and the British Museum. Iraq’s 1924 Antiquities Law provided for a division of finds, and half the material went to the Iraq Museum, with a quarter going to the Penn Museum and a quarter going to the British Museum. The initial data were collected as part of the Ur Digitization Project, a joint initiative between the Penn Museum and the British Museum to digitize objects and records at both institutions. The collaborative nature of the Ur digitization project fostered interdisciplinary research at the Penn Museum. These relationships have continued beyond the Ur Digitization Project and so too has the examination of the gold from Ur. Initial analysis of the gold from Ur focused on objects from Private Grave (PG) 1422. It has since expanded to include a diverse selection of gold items from the Royal Cemeteries as new research has been conducted in preparation for the re-installation of the Middle East galleries at the Museum. This paper will focus on three distinct object types, gold vessels, gold jewelry, and gold fillets. All the data presented here were captured non-invasively using digital X-radiography and digital photomicrographs. While X-radiography and microscopy are not new techniques for the examination of archaeological objects, new developments in digital processing allows for better data collection that can highlight features previously difficult to capture. The present study combines the knowledge of conservators, archaeometallurgists, and archaeologists to better understand how the gold vessels and adornments from the royal cemeteries may have been manufactured. This interdisciplinary study places the objects within their archaeological context as well as highlights which aspects of their manufacture are significant.

avatar for Tessa de Alarcon

Tessa de Alarcon

Project Conservator, Penn Museum
Tessa de Alarcon has been a Project Conservator at the Penn Museum since 2012. She received her B.A. from Carleton College in 2004 where she majored in studio art and minored in archaeology, and her M.A. from the UCLA/Getty Program in the Conservation of Archaeological and Ethnographic... Read More →


Moritz Jansen

Teaching Specialist for Archaeometallurgy for the Center for the Analysis of Archaeological Materials, Penn Museum
Moritz Jansen has been the Teaching Specialist for Archaeometallurgy at the new Center for the Analysis of Archaeological Materials at the Penn Museum since October 2015. Before he came to the Penn Museum he was employed as a Research Fellow in the Department for Archaeometallurgy... Read More →
avatar for Dr. Richard Zettler

Dr. Richard Zettler

Associate Curator-in-Charge of Penn Museum’s Near East Section, Penn Museum
Richard L. Zettler is an archaeologist specializing in Mesopotamia, the region occupied by modern Iraq and Syria. He received his MA and PhD (1984) in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations from the University of Chicago. He worked at Nippur, early Mesopotamia’s religious center... Read More →

Friday June 1, 2018 9:00am - 9:30am
Texas Ballroom B Marriott Marquis Houston


(Objects + Archaeological Conservation) The Tell-Tale Conservation of Two 2,000 Year Old Leather Water-Skins
In the early sixties, archaeologist Yigael Yadin excavated the "Cave of Letters" located near the Dead Sea in the Judean Desert, Israel. The cave probably served as a hideout during the second Jewish revolt against the Romans in 132 CE. Among many rare finds were several vegetable tanned leather water-skins, two of them in nearly complete form. While water-skins were originally created to contain liquids, the content of one of these excavated water-skins was different. It included: unspun wool skeins, jewelry, clothing, small glass vessels, wooden cosmetics utensils, and spindle whorls, indicating a secondary use of the water-skin as a satchel. The most historically significant items in the water-skin were a packet of letters written by Shimon Bar Kokhba himself, the leader of the rebellion, to his subordinates in hiding - hence the name “Cave of Letters”. The dry, stable conditions in the cave resulted in the leather’s fine state of preservation. Details such as historical repairs, in the form of sewn patches, could clearly be recognized in several places on the water-skin, and its opening end was still tied with an original rope. The water-skins, which are under the jurisdiction of the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA), are part of the archaeological collection of the Israel Museum (IMJ) in Jerusalem and are on display. Prior to their arrival at the IMJ, the water-skins were treated, probably in the mid 1960’s. Although no treatment records exist, black and white photographs from the excavation revealed that this initial treatment included cleaning, reshaping and inserting an inner support of a thick, cream colored fabric stuffed with hay. Nylon filament was used to hold down leather pieces which were folded over. In 1998, the IMJ’s Metal and Organic Materials Conservation Department was asked to assess the condition of the two treated water-skins. The evaluation concluded that while the leather was in exceptional state for its age, the 1960’s materials used in the treatment were not of conservation grade, and the aesthetics of the objects were not pleasing. It was therefore decided that one of the water-skins would be retreated. In 2017, fifty years after its initial treatment, and twenty years after the retreatment of its “twin”, the second water-skin was retreated. Over the span of 55 years, three different teams of well-meaning professionals tended to these invaluable treasures. Each team, with their knowledge and available materials, used these to their best abilities. This presentation aims to reveal, compare, and evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of each treatment within the perspective of time.

avatar for Irit Lev Beyth

Irit Lev Beyth

Conservator, Israel Museum
Irit Lev Beyth graduated in 1994 from Queen's University with a Master's of Art in Conservation. She interned at The Brooklyn Museum of Art and has been an objects conservator at The Israel Museum since 1998. In 2015 she was appointed Head of Metals and Organic Objects Conservation... Read More →
avatar for Hadas Seri

Hadas Seri

Object Conservator, The Israel Museum, Jerusalem
Hadas Seri is an object conservator at the Metals and Organic Materials Conservation, the Israel Museum, Jerusalem. She graduated in 2010 from the Master of Art Conservation program at Queen’s University, Kingston, ON, Canada. Ms. Seri holds a second MA in Art History and a B.Sc... Read More →

avatar for Liatte Dotan

Liatte Dotan

Student, The Israel Museum
Liatte is a pre-program intern in object conservation at the Israel Museum, Jerusalem. In 2016 she obtained her B.A from the Honors Art History Program at Tel Aviv University. Liatte intends to continue her studies with a degree in art conservation in the coming years.
avatar for Jessica Lewinsky

Jessica Lewinsky

Object Conservator, Israel Museum
Jessica Lewinsky is an objects conservator at the Israel Museum, Jerusalem. She specializes in collections care and preventive conservation. In 2014 she obtained her B.A.Sc. in Art and Heritage Conservation from ECRO, Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico; and in 2017 her M.A. in Theory and... Read More →

Friday June 1, 2018 9:30am - 10:00am
Texas Ballroom B Marriott Marquis Houston


(Objects + Archaeological Conservation) Hot Tub Time Machine: A Heated Water System for Artifact Disassembly and Treatment
The conservation of complex composite artifacts can pose a real challenge for conservators. Different material types often require dissimilar treatment methods, which can be incompatible between materials, resulting in the potential to damage one while attempting to conserve another. Therefore, when determined necessary, the decision can be made to disassemble an object, treat component parts separately, and then reassemble after treatment. This approach can be especially difficult for objects recovered from archaeological sites. The effects of the burial environment can lead to the hardening and embrittlement of organic materials and corrosion and de-alloying of metals. In both scenarios, this can result in an inability to easily and safely take part archaeological objects requiring the development of new treatment techniques and procedures. Between 1998 and 2002, over 210-tons of artifacts from the wreck site of the Civil War ironclad USS Monitor were recovered off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina by archaeologists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and US Navy divers. Many of the retrieved artifacts came from the vessel’s engine room which included five steam engines and an assortment of plumbing assemblies. Having spent nearly 140 years on the seafloor, the cast iron elements of these artifacts had de-alloyed through graphitic corrosion and now possessed the structural integrity of chalk. If that was not challenging enough, a majority of the “graphitized” objects had attached component parts which had become adhered together by rubber gaskets that had hardened having lost their elasticity over time. Early in the treatment of these artifacts, it was clear that some level of disassembly would be required so that organic, copper alloy, and iron alloy elements could receive independent treatment. However, any attempt to separate the objects into their component parts led to the cracking or breaking of the fragile “graphitized” material due to the rigidity of the gaskets. Fortunately for the conservation staff, during the application of a routine hot treatment technique used to removed concretion from copper alloy artifacts, it was discovered that a temperature of approximately 160 degrees Fahrenheit caused a previously hardened rubber gasket to soften an become pliable. This revelation led to the hypothesis that one potential solution to the disassembly conundrum could be to submerge the artifacts in a hot water bath and allow the transmission of heat to soften the gasket material; thus, limiting damage to the de-alloyed cast iron during disassembly. Additional experimentation to identify the effects of an elevated temperature on “graphitized” cast iron samples followed. Positive results from sample testing led to the design and construction of a heated water system and the development of a treatment procedure for artifact disassembly. This paper will provide an overview of the project and the operation the hot water tank apparatus. In addition, other potential treatment uses for the machine will be highlighted.

avatar for William Hoffman

William Hoffman

Director of Conservation, The Mariners' Museum
Will Hoffman received his Master's degree in art conservation from Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario in 2009 specializing in the conservation of objects. He received Bachelors’ degrees in Anthropology and Fine Arts at The State University of New York College at Buffalo in... Read More →


Ralph Spohn

Conservation Department Volunteer, The Mariners' Museum and Park
Ralph Spohn holds a PhD Organometallic chemistry. He worked for a major petrochemical company for 28+ years. During this time he was involved in basic and applied research. He holds 10 patents. He developed and ran this company’s research analytical lab for 5 years. He was recognized... Read More →

Friday June 1, 2018 10:30am - 11:00am
Texas Ballroom B Marriott Marquis Houston


(Objects + Archaeological Conservation) ‘All That Is Gold Does Not Glitter’: Developing Guidelines for the Recovery of Tin-plate on Mineralized Archaeological Iron through Material Analysis
X-radiographs are important guides for the air abrasive cleaning of archaeological iron. What happens then when an important feature, such as a finishing surface, recorded by an x-radiograph fails to materialize? Is this merely human error on the part of the conservator? Can the x-radiographic signatures of these surfaces be caused by other factors? Or have residual finishing surfaces simply degraded past the point of un-assisted visual detection? This presentation will discuss how the combination of spectral imaging and elemental analysis can contribute to x-radiographic interpretations of non-ferrous finishing surfaces on archaeological iron and inform decisions as to the practical recovery of such surfaces. Tinned surfaces are fairly ubiquitous in the archaeological record and are frequently documented in x-radiographs. Actual recovery of these surfaces, however, is under-reported in academic literature. Due to the nature of tin corrosion and its products, tin-plate is often assumed to be a visually discrete, recoverable surface. This is an assumption seemingly supported by the presence of distinct areas of differential density known as ‘tinning lines’ on x-radiographs. However, the extent to which these lines reflect the actual condition of the underlying tinned surface and can predict the success of practical recovery is not well documented. This is especially true in the context of highly mineralized artifacts in which metallic tin may no longer exist. The aim of this project is to positively identify and characterize presumptive tinning surfaces on a highly-mineralized iron artifact using SEM-BEI imaging and SEM-EDX elemental analysis to corroborate x-radiographic and optical microscopy evidence of tinning. This project uses an archaeological wrought iron key dating from the late medieval period of the deserted English village of West Whelpington as its subject. Previous conservation indicates that the artifact was likely tinned. The validity of this identification is tested through a) producing an array of x-radiographs that explore variables, such as penetrative power, exposure time and geometry to confirm the presence of tinning lines, b) performing investigative cleaning via air abrasion to test recoverability of the layer based on x-radiographs, and c) sectioning the key and using spectral analysis techniques to better chemically and physically describe and corroborate the presumptive finishing surface. The presentation will also use SEM micrographs and SEM-EDX mapping to illustrate the distribution of highly mineralized tin layers in the corrosion matrix and discuss the extent to which these morphological changes can be detected in x-radiographs and used as signifiers of surface condition. Ultimately, this will prompt commentary as to what constitutes a recoverable surface and what factors a conservator will need to take into account, such as, stakeholders, work constraints, and artifact ‘value’, etc. when making decisions about whether or not to attempt recovery of a finishing surface that is analytically distinct but not necessarily visually or physically identifiable. Much like “all that is gold does not glitter” this paper will demonstrate that not all things of value are strictly material.

avatar for Michelle Crepeau

Michelle Crepeau

Conservator, North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources
Michelle Crepeau is a Master's degree recipient recently returned from studying abroad at Cardiff University, Wales, following the completion of an MSc. in Conservation Practice with a focus on archaeological and object conservation. She has additional undergraduate qualifications... Read More →

avatar for Nicola Emmerson

Nicola Emmerson

Lecturer in Conservation, Cardiff University, School of History, Archaeology and Religion
avatar for David Watkinson

David Watkinson

Professor (Conservation)/ Deputy Head of School, School of History, Archaeology and Religion, Cardiff University

Friday June 1, 2018 11:00am - 11:30am
Texas Ballroom B Marriott Marquis Houston


(Objects + Archaeological Conservation) Measuring the burial microenvironment on an archaeological site as an aid to the conservation management of artifacts in the museum
Preliminary results will be presented from an in-situ assessment of the chemical microenvironment of an Early Bronze Age site in Central Anatolia. The work involved assessing the pH, the redox potential and chloride ion activity and was carried out in August 2017 on the soil of the Kaman-Kalehöyük excavation site in Turkey of the Japanese Institute of Anatolian Archaeology to ascertain the changes that occur in the burial and post excavation environment. A chloride ion electrode, pH meter, and corrosion meters with appropriate reference electrodes and calibrating materials were used. Surface chloride and pH mapping was carried out on excavated copper alloy objects and correlated with the archaeological profiles and records. Initial measurements indicate that it will be possible to prepare a degradation and conservation index as part of a mechanism to determine on a systematic basis corrosion behavior and which objects are in greatest need of conservation intervention. Treatment priority score cards will be prepared based on the significance and conservation needs assessments.

avatar for Ian D. MacLeod

Ian D. MacLeod

Fellow, Western Australian Maritime Museum
Ian D. MacLeod completed his studies at the University of Melbourne in 1974 and did post-doctoral work at the University of Glasgow (Scotland) and Murdoch University (Perth, Australia). From 1978 he worked for the conservation department at the Western Australian Museum and developed... Read More →
avatar for Alice Boccia Paterakis

Alice Boccia Paterakis

Director of Conservation, Japanese Institute of Anatolian Archaeology
A MAC graduate of the Queen’s University conservation program, Alice received her PhD in conservation from the Institute of Archaeology, University College London, in 2011. She served as Director of Conservation for the Athenian Agora of the American School of Classical Studies... Read More →

Friday June 1, 2018 11:30am - 11:45am
Texas Ballroom B Marriott Marquis Houston
Saturday, June 2


(Objects) Keeping them Ruby: The Preservation of Dorothy's Ruby Slippers
The National Museum of American History’s Ruby Slippers, the beloved shoes worn by Judy Garland in the 1939 classic film The Wizard of Oz, have been on display at the Smithsonian Institution since 1981. In 2016 their conservation, preservation, and long term display became the focus of the Smithsonian’s second Kickstarter campaign. This successful campaign funded research into their history, use, and construction, an in-depth assessment of their materials and condition, and identifying off-gassing degradation products. This analysis guided the Slipper’s treatment, and the design and construction of a display case with optimal environmental (temperature, humidity, light, oxygen) conditions. The shoes are comprised of at least 12 materials which have undergone various types of deterioration, some of which occurred during filming and others by natural degradation processes. The Slippers were created from commercially available pumps that were dyed, painted, and then adorned with sequins, bows and beads. Of particular interest are the sequins, consisting of a gelatin core with a red cellulose nitrate coating, which give the slippers their iconic ruby appearance. Some of the sequins appear transparent ruby red, while others are faded, opaque, have fractured surfaces, and coating losses. They are susceptible to changes in humidity, temperature, light, and chemical degradation. Micro-X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy (µ-XRF), micro–Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (µ-FTIR), polarized light microscopy (PLM), and scanning electron microscopy – energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (SEM/EDS) were used to identify the various materials used in the construction of the Slippers. A protocol to identify and monitor for volatile organic compounds included the analysis by solid phase micro-extraction gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (SPME-GC/MS) in parallel with Ormantine diffusion tube analysis. Rhodamine B was identified as the major colorant on the sequin coating using high performance liquid chromatography - diode array detector – mass spectrometer (HPLC–DAD–MS). This informed the creation of a VIS spectrophotometric library used to determine the most aesthetic LED light combination providing a spectral range that complements the light reflected by the slippers, as well as the optimum spectra to slow the deterioration of the materials.

Authors in Publication Order:  Dawn MP Wallace, Richard Barden, Janet Douglas, Dr. Gwénaëlle Kavich, Dr. Alba Martin Alvarez, Dr. Regina Baglia, Mary Ballard

avatar for Dawn MP Wallace

Dawn MP Wallace

Objects Conservator, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution
Dawn MP Wallace is an objects conservator working at the National Museum of American History on exhibits for the Museum’s newly renovated West Wing, and on several special projects like the Ruby Slippers. She spent her third year internship at NMAH before graduating from the Buffalo... Read More →

avatar for Regina Baglia

Regina Baglia

Post-doctoral intern, Museum Conservation Institute, Smithsonian Institution
Regina A. Baglia received her BS in biochemistry, magna cum laude from Temple University. She completed her PhD from Johns Hopkins in metallic complexes in porphyrin-type ligands that mimic biological oxidation reactions performed by metalloenzymes in 2016 with eleven co-authored... Read More →
avatar for Mary W. Ballard

Mary W. Ballard

Conservator, Smithsonian Museum Conservation Institute
EducationB.A. Wellesley (1971)M.A. and Diploma in Conservation New York University Institute of Fine Arts (1979)Additional coursework: North Carolina State University, College of TextilesResearch Specialties and InterestsInterested in coloration of textiles and in the evidence of... Read More →
avatar for Janet G. Douglas

Janet G. Douglas

Research Associate, Smithsonian Museum Conservation Institute
Janet G. Douglas recently retired as the Head of Technical Studies at the Smithsonian’s Museum Conservation Institute, where she applied heritage science, material research and technical support to Smithsonian museum collections. In 2014 she came from the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery... Read More →
avatar for Dr. Gwénaëlle Kavich

Dr. Gwénaëlle Kavich

Conservation Scientist, Smithsonian Museum Conservation Institute
Gwénaëlle Kavich, Conservation Scientist at the Smithsonian Museum Conservation Institute, earned a BSc in Chemistry from The Nottingham Trent University (U.K.) and a PhD in Chemical Sciences from the University of Pisa (Italy). She contributes to a wide range of technical studies... Read More →
avatar for Alba Alvarez Martin

Alba Alvarez Martin

Postdoctoral Fellow, Museum Conservation Institute. Smithsonian Institution
Alba Alvarez Martin received her B.S degree in chemistry in 2010 from the University of Salamanca and her PhD in chemistry in 2016. She has also has a MSc in Conservation Science. During her PhD she did stays at IDAEA-CSIC, Barcelona (Spain), University of Warwick, Coventry (UK) and... Read More →

Saturday June 2, 2018 10:00am - 10:30am
Texas Ballroom B Marriott Marquis Houston


(Objects) Eva Hesse Addendum: Exploring Materiality and Emerging Technologies
The third case study for the NANORESTART research project at Tate focuses on Eva Hesse, Addendum (1967), a sculpture made of rope and papier mâché. The project aims to address cleaning challenges by exploring the use of newly developed gels synthesised using nanotechnology. The first phase focused on material characterisation and analysis in combination with historical research to help understand the context of the materials Hesse used for this sculpture. Analysis using FTIR, EDX, microscopy, pyrolysis GCMS, and UV fluorescence confirmed the presence of a pEA/MMA acrylic paint throughout, with a transparent PVAc coating. The painted cotton ropes have an additional transparent pnBA/MMA coating which has degraded and yellowed. The surface of the entire sculpture has embedded surface dirt with particular soiling of the rope ends in contact with the gallery floor during display. Research into Hesse’s use of materials with a focus on her exploration of new synthetic materials at the time she was making Addendum, will help to determine if the secondary coating on the ropes was artist applied or applied subsequent to acquisition. In 1967 Hesse attended lectures such as Polymers and Acrylic Materials as part of a wider series on Experiments in Art and Technologies. These lectures significantly influenced her practice both in terms of her material choice but also her subject matter. Although pnBA/MMA was introduced commercially in 1967, given Hesse’s exploration of materiality it is possible she may have chosen to use this new latex-type material. The next phase was to undertake extensive cleaning tests on papier mâché and rope mock-up samples that were created using contemporary equivalents of the same materials used in Addendum. The mock-ups were also artificially soiled and aged. The surface cleaning options evaluated explored a range of commonly-used cleaning solutions, micro-emulsions, and various gel systems.  These included the polyvinyl alcohol-based gels developed through the NANORESTART project and new gels tailored by CSGI specifically for this case study. Once the most appropriate strategy was fully evaluated, the sculpture underwent an extensively documented conservation treatment, where key decisions were made in conjunction with Tate’s curatorial team and relevant stakeholders. This practice-based research included a collaboration of conservators, conservation and academic scientists and art historians/curators, where the balance of information gathered aimed not only to result in the successful treatment of this significant sculpture, but to contribute to our knowledge of Hesse’s work and the refinement of new technologies which can aid in the conservation treatment of complex modern and contemporary works of art.

The Nanorestart project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 646063
Tamar Maor [1], Angelica Bartoletti [1], Nicole Bonelli [2], David Chelazzi [2], Piero Baglioni [2], Bronwyn Ormsby [1]
[1] - Tate, London    [2] - Department of Chemistry and CSGI, University of Florence

avatar for Tamar Maor

Tamar Maor

Sculpture and Installation Conservator, Tate
Tamar Maor is a sculpture and installation conservator based at Tate, working primarily with modern and contemporary materials. Tamar works extensively with living artists represented in the Tate collection, developing techniques and solutions to challenges which arise from contemporary... Read More →

avatar for Dr. Angelica Bartoletti

Dr. Angelica Bartoletti

Research Conservation Scientist, Tate
Dr Angelica Bartoletti is a conservation scientist at TATE for the NANORESTART project. She has completed her PhD at University College London (UCL). Her research interests include the evaluation of the impact of traditional and innovative conservation treatments for cellulose and... Read More →
avatar for Dr. Bronwyn Ormsby

Dr. Bronwyn Ormsby

Principal Conservation Scientist, Tate
Dr Bronwyn Ormsby is Principal Conservation Scientist at Tate. She manages the Conservation Science and Preventive Conservation department and leads Tate's contribution to the Nanorestart project.

Saturday June 2, 2018 10:30am - 11:00am
Texas Ballroom B Marriott Marquis Houston


(Objects) Conserving Alchemy: Bonded Bronze and the Art of Michael Richards
In 2001 the 38-year-old Jamaican-American artist Michael Richards was flourishing. His body of work was compelling and suggested immense promise. He had already won a number of competitive artist residencies including one from the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC). His work had been exhibited at the Studio Museum in Harlem, the Miami Art Museum and the Aldrich Museum, amongst others. Often addressing themes of race and social injustice, his work from the 1990’s has particular current relevance. Imagery of aviation and flight recurs in Richards’ art expressing the potential of both uplift and downfall. Richards’s best known work is Tar Baby vs. Saint Sebastian, a full size cast of himself dressed as a Tuskegee Airman pierced by airplanes. This piece became prophetic when the artist perished in the September 11 attacks after working overnight in his studio on the 92nd Floor of the World Trade Center’s Tower One.

In the spring of 2016 in conjunction with the 15th anniversary of his death, the LMCC organized an exhibition entitled Michael Richards: Winged on Governor’s Island in New York. A.M. Art Conservation was asked to examine and treat 11 pieces for the show. The majority of these, which came from Richards’s estate, had not been exhibited since his death. Treating the sculptures within the LMCC’s tight timetable and budget was a challenge. These pieces are among the most significant surviving works by the artist yet none had been stored in conditions optimal for preservation.

Richards employed unique applications of a wide range of non-traditional materials, including human and synthetic hair, latex rubber, feathers, tar, barbed wire, fiberglass and mechanical moving parts/motors. These carefully chosen materials were often linked to themes in his work. The title work Winged (1999) was “cold cast” in “bonded” bronze, a material made from metal powder and resin. Bonded bronze became popular in the 1990’s and was increasingly used by artists. The material gave the appearance of bronze without the costs associated with a foundry and the raw materials themselves, while affording direct control over the final product. Richards referred to himself as an “alchemist” for this use of “resin instead of bronze.” For him, the use of bonded bronze was also a play on the significance and permanence of bronze monuments.

Richards experimented with finishes, ratios of materials, hollow versus solid sculpture construction and variable use of armatures. Examination of the works revealed a progression in his use of these materials. Surprising corrosion patterns were observed in the bonded bronze. Differential thickness of resin, surface flaws and vacancies and incomplete coverage of complex molds and forms contributed to some of the condition issues. Happily, in 2017, Winged was purchased by the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, ensuring that the object could be properly cared for and studied further. This paper will explore Richards’ use of bonded bronze and some of the challenges it presents for conservators during treatment.

avatar for Anne Léculier King

Anne Léculier King

Conservator, Artifact Conservation
Anne Léculier King is a Professional Associate member of the American Institute for Conservation (AIC). Anne obtained her degree in the Conservation of Cultural Materials from Canberra University, Australia in 1993 where she specialized in Objects Conservation. She has held positions... Read More →

avatar for Ainslie Harrison-[Fellow]

Ainslie Harrison-[Fellow]

Assistant Conservator, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
Ainslie Harrison is an Assistant Objects Conservator at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and previously worked at the National Museum of American History as a project conservator. She received her MA in Art Conservation from Queen’s University in 2008 and went on to hold fellowships... Read More →
avatar for Eugenie Milroy

Eugenie Milroy

Conservator, AM Art Conservation LLC
Eugenie Milroy is a Professional Associate member of the American Institute for Conservation with over 20 years of museum and conservation experience. She has held positions at the American Museum of Natural History, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Brooklyn Museum of Art... Read More →

Saturday June 2, 2018 11:00am - 11:30am
Texas Ballroom B Marriott Marquis Houston


(Objects) Preparing the Apollo 11 Columbia for Its National Tour
The Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum is home to the world’s largest collection of objects related to the history of spaceflight. Spacesuits, personal items, scientific instrumentation, satellites and entire spacecraft make up this inspiring collection.The Apollo 11 Command Module Columbia stands out as the most significant artifact, representing one of mankind’s most remarkable achievements of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to Earth. The last time Columbia traveled throughout the United States was in 1970, where it embarked on a 50-State Tour following the moon landing in 1969. Almost 50 years later, this historic spacecraft that carried astronauts Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins to the Moon and back, is headed out on the road for a second nationwide tour. Columbia was built for a single mission and while it was designed to withstand the rigors of launch and re-entry, 50 years later many of its materials are showing signs of deterioration. For the first time since the Smithsonian acquired the spacecraft in 1972, conservators had the opportunity to examine the materials, take an-depth look at the engineering and technology and to re-examine the history of the object. This analysis served to enhance the curatorial and historical record, guided the conservation treatment and informed the exhibition design. This paper will present a technical study of the Command Module, illustrating its design, engineering and use of materials while presenting its conservation challenges. Astronaut graffiti and a study of the many features of this spacecraft will help humanize the artifact that traveled nearly a million miles in 8 days. Today, shipping an iconic artifact of this scale across the country should be a comparatively simple task but it still proved to be a logistical challenge and required collaboration with a team of experts to design a climate-controlled container, fabricate handling fixtures and provide security and suitable exhibition venues. .

avatar for Lisa Young

Lisa Young

Supervisory Conservator, Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum
Lisa Young has served as objects conservator at the National Air and Space Museum since 2009. She earned her B.Sc. in Conservation at the University of Wales, Cardiff. She has worked at NASM since 1997, where she researched the preservation of spacesuits. From 1999-2006 she was the... Read More →

Saturday June 2, 2018 11:30am - 12:00pm
Texas Ballroom B Marriott Marquis Houston


(Objects) Ghost Lives On: The treatment of Rachel Whiteread's monumental plaster sculpture
The conservation treatment of Rachel Whiteread's monumental plaster sculpture, Ghost, was shaped by many challenging factors: physical size of the object, unstable material properties and construction, available technology, costs, institutional constraints, tempered expectations, ethical boundaries, and artist’s considerations. Ghost is an assembled, four-sided structure comprised of 86 plaster panels attached to a steel armature. The iconic sculpture is a negative cast of an entire room in a Victorian townhouse in London, and is Whiteread’s best-known work. To prepare for a retrospective exhibition in fall 2018, a trial installation and examination was scheduled for early 2016. In the course of unpacking, one of the keystone plaster panels was found to have cracks such that it could not be installed without jeopardizing the entire structure. Because the damaged panel was on the bottom course that supports all of the panels above, the panel needed to be strengthened and all other elements needed to be re-examined to assess their integrity. Almost half of the 86 panels were found to have cracks.

The primary purpose of the treatment was to ensure that the sculpture be made stable so that the work could be safely exhibited. This was accomplished by improving several distinct but interdependent conditions: the physical stability of each plaster panel, the attachment strength between the fastener and the back of each plaster panel, the security of the panels to the armature, and the overall stability of the supporting armature. The treatment sparked many logistical and aesthetic obstacles due to its structural complexity and monumental scale (approximately 9’ wide, 12’ high, and 10’ deep), and prompted conservators to reach out not only to other departments within the museum but to industrial sources for materials and processes not usually associated with fine art conservation treatment.

avatar for Judy L. Ozone-[PA]

Judy L. Ozone-[PA]

Senior Object Conservator, National Gallery of Art
Judy L. Ozone is senior objects conservator at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, where she has been on staff since 1986. She received her BFA from the Rochester Institute of Technology, and her MS from the Winterthur/University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation. While... Read More →

avatar for Shelley G. Sturman-[Fellow]

Shelley G. Sturman-[Fellow]

Head of Object Conservation, National Gallery of Art, National Gallery of Art
Shelley Sturman is head of the Object Conservation Department at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D. C. and also teaches a two semester course on Museum Preventive Conservation in the Graduate School at George Washington University. She received her B.A. and M.A. from Brandeis... Read More →
avatar for Andrew Watt

Andrew Watt

Armature Maker/Projects Coordinator, National Gallery of Art
Andrew Watt is an Armature Maker at the National Gallery of Art, Washington. He has been on staff since 2005 and has contributed to hundreds of installations, both of exhibitions and the permanent collection. He received his BA in History from the University of Maryland.(Photo: Jonathan... Read More →

Saturday June 2, 2018 2:00pm - 2:30pm
Texas Ballroom B Marriott Marquis Houston


(Objects) ‘Once in a Whale': The Conservation Treatment of Historic Cetacea at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History
In January 2013, the Oxford University Museum of Natural History (OUMNH) closed its doors for 14 months, allowing for the restoration of the original Victorian glass roof. The scaffolding required for this work enabled for the first time easy access to several whale skeletons suspended from the museum roof. This provided the opportunity for a thorough condition assessment and conservation treatment exercise which is the focus of this paper. The project, titled ‘Once in a Whale’, encompassed several large articulated skeletons as well as a Humpback Whale skull and the huge mandible of a Sperm Whale. The specimens had been on continuous display since the museum opened in 1860 and were in poor condition overall. 150 years on display had left these specimens with varied types of deterioration: decades of dust and ingrained dirt, acidic sebaceous secretions, and delamination and bleaching caused by continuous exposure to UV and the constant instability of the museum environment. With only 6 months to complete treatment and with limited funding, the aims were to preserve and stabilize the specimens for display and to improve their scientific accuracy. Treatment was guided by our own research, experimentation, and consultation with other conservators working on similar materials. The specimens were thoroughly cleaned, and consolidated to provide additional strength. Corroded wires were replaced and inappropriate anatomy was corrected where possible. Once completed, the skeletons were transferred to new positions and installed higher than previous to take advantage of the vast roof space and to make them a more prominent feature of the museum displays. The project blog, ‘onceinawhale.com’, was created to capture and convey the conservation process. This outlined the material science and treatment rationale for working on these unique materials, drawing interest from the public and conservation professionals alike. The whales attracted considerable positive attention, with artistic professionals and enthusiasts inspired to join us in the ‘whale tank’ to illustrate, film and photograph the work being carried out. The skeletons featured in the BBC4 series ‘Secrets of Bones’ (2014) and the project was eventually awarded ‘Highly Commended’ in the Conservation and Restoration category at the 2014 UK Museum and Heritage Awards. Overall the ‘Once in a Whale’ project delivered many beneficial outcomes. Firstly, by highlighting environmental issues and the resulting impact on these specimens, there have been positive institutional changes to collections care. Secondly, our research contributed and strengthened a limited knowledge base regarding the treatment of these types of materials and highlighted areas requiring further research. Finally, the project also served as an exemplar demonstration of how bringing conservation out of a laboratory setting and to new audiences can inspire and create innovative and exciting outreach opportunities.

avatar for Bethany Palumbo

Bethany Palumbo

Conservator of Life Collections, Oxford University Museum of Natural History
Bethany Palumbo is Conservator for Life Collections at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History, where she has held this role since 2012. She specializes in the conservation of natural history collections with emphasis in osteological and taxidermy collections as well as preventive... Read More →

Saturday June 2, 2018 2:30pm - 3:00pm
Texas Ballroom B Marriott Marquis Houston


(Objects) New ways of looking at historic ship models: a comparative technical study of a pair of Napier & Sons ship models in the Rijksmuseum collection
Ship models of the Buffel, an ironclad ram ship, and the Tijger, an ironclad monitor, were built by R. Napier & Sons in Glasgow, Scotland, between 1867-1868 for the Dutch Department of the Navy. Both models were presented to the commander of the Buffel and subsequently transferred to the Rijksmuseum in 1883 alongside other models in the naval collection. In 2017, the Rijksmuseum undertook a comparative technical study of the two models. Techniques employed by the craftsmen associated with historic ship models are generally not well understood and object-based examination had not previously been performed to characterize the materials found on these models. This presentation will review the results of this comparative technical analysis, which have provided new insight into the models and the practice of historical model making and suggest routes for future research. Additionally, it will describe the implications of utilizing a technical art history approach in the study of ship models. Historically, ship models have typically been used to represent their larger counterpart, to demonstrate developments in shipbuilding, or to embody aspects and historical maritime events. As a result, the materials and techniques found on ship models have often been obscured or even completely removed by intrusive restoration campaigns, which usually focus on preserving the aesthetic and illustrative values of the ship model. However, historic ship models carry traces of social histories that have not been widely explored and their various media demonstrate a range of craft techniques. Comparative technical analysis offers a novel approach to the study of ship model making; in-depth technical studies comparing ship modelling materials and techniques have neither been published nor presented previously. Importantly, this method of study, when combined with art historical research, offers significant potential in exploring these understudied areas, identifying historical model making practices, and building a more holistic understanding of historic ship models. This comparative study combined scientific and technical examinations with historical and primary source research to better understand how these models were made, what they are made from, and the historical context of their production. Together, the models of the Buffel and the Tijger were investigated using visual observation, ultraviolet illumination, digital microscopy, X-radiography, XRF, and paint sampling paired with SEM/EDX. The technical examinations revealed nuances in the construction of the models such as gilding applied with an oil mordant containing chrome yellow pigment, a decorative finish over the hulls composed of granulated tin applied with a mordant, and miniature rope purpose-made from silvered copper threads. Material analysis and historical sources suggests that the Napier & Sons model makers’ methods were closely linked to contemporary techniques employed by specialized craftspeople.

avatar for Riley Cruttenden

Riley Cruttenden

Student, Ohio State University
James Riley Cruttenden is a graduate of the University of Glasgow master’s program in Technical Art History and recipient of a 2016-17 US-UK Fulbright Study Award. During the summer of 2017, Riley was an intern with the Rijksmuseum's Furniture Conservation Lab where he conducted... Read More →
avatar for Davina Kuh Jakobi

Davina Kuh Jakobi

International Fellow (consulting conservator), Deutsches Schiffahrtsmuseum
From 2015-2017, Davina Kuh Jakobi served as the Junior Conservator for Ship and Scale Models at the Rijksmuseum, working primarily with the ship models in the Marinemodellenkamer (Navy model room) collection. Prior to this, Davina Kuh Jakobi has undertaken numerous conservation internships... Read More →

Saturday June 2, 2018 3:00pm - 3:30pm
Texas Ballroom B Marriott Marquis Houston


(Objects) “Ivory, bone and hide: Material identification of a 19th c. Greenland Inuit dog sledge collected by Admiral Peary”
The Peabody Museum recently opened a new exhibition “All the World is Here: Harvard’s Peabody Museum and the Invention of American Anthropology” to celebrate its founding 150 years ago. Featured in this exhibit is a selection of materials collected by Admiral Peary for presentation at the Chicago World’s Fair (1893), including an Inuit (Inughuit) dog sledge from Northern Greenland. Inughuit sledge designs played an essential role during Peary’s explorations of Greenland and his quest to reach the North Pole. Historic accounts note that Peary’s sledges, being much heavier and rounded at the front, were often damaged while traveling across the ice hummocks. In contrast, the flexible design of Inughuit sledges and the experience of Inughuit drivers allowed them to travel gracefully through the rough landscape. Discussions with museum curators and an independent scientist led to the desire to identify materials used in the construction of this Inuit sledge. Micro-samples were taken from hide, bone and ivory sledge components to identify the mammalian species from which they were derived utilizing a technique called “Peptide Mass Fingerprinting” (PMF). PMF is an analytical technique for protein identification. The method was first developed in 1992, and uses a process of enzyme digestion to break proteins down into smaller peptides. This peptide mixture can then be analyzed with a mass spectrometer to reveal characteristic marker ions. This is known as a “peptide mass fingerprint.” Each protein has its own fingerprint and can be compared to known reference samples to identify its mammalian origin. Recently, PMF techniques have been adapted to identify materials used in the creation of cultural objects. This technique requires only a micro sample and can be used to determine the mammalian origin of collagen-based materials such as ivory, skin, intestine, and bone. This new information allows researchers to better understand the availability of specific materials at a particular time or place and can serve as a tool for Indigenous communities and other stakeholders in understanding their material technologies. Materials used in cultural objects change over time due to a variety of factors – for example, resource availability and increased external contact and trade. The construction of an object reflects its social, political, and economic context. In the early 1800s, when explorers first had contact with the Inughuit, sledges were made almost entirely of animal-based materials. By the time Peary arrived, sledges were constructed from recycled wood in combination with bone, antler, ivory, and hide. By 1895, there were known examples of sledges made almost entirely of wood, with only the runners remaining ivory. Analysis of the Peabody’s Inuit dog sledge revealed that it is constructed of materials from at least five different species. This talk will discuss the history, material identification and construction of this unique 19th century sledge from Northern Greenland.

avatar for Judy Jungels

Judy Jungels

Conservator, Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard University
Judy Jungels, (MA, CAS, Art Conservation, State University College at Buffalo; MFA, SUNY Buffalo; BFA, Alfred University) joined the Peabody Museum in 2005 and currently serves in the position of Conservator. Prior to working at the Museum, she held a position at SUNY Buffalo in the... Read More →

avatar for Dan Kirby

Dan Kirby

Scientist, Private practice
After careers as an analytical chemist in semiconductor electronics, pharmaceuticals and academic research, Dan turned his interest to conservation. With over 30 years experience in analytical mass spectrometry, Dan is currently in private practice specializing in applications of... Read More →

Saturday June 2, 2018 3:30pm - 4:00pm
Texas Ballroom B Marriott Marquis Houston


(Objects) Understanding the Form, Materials, and Meaning of Two Ritual Figures: Conservation and Curatorial Collaboration for the Analysis and Treatment of the Historic Arts of Africa
This presentation will focus on the results of research and technical analysis, and describe the conservation treatment of two objects as examples of a large suite of technical analyses underway through a three year project funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation: a 19th-20th century figure from the Idoma speaking communities in the Benue state of Nigeria and a twentieth century Adja Bocio figure collected in Togo.

The project goals are to generate in-depth material, cultural, and scholarly knowledge of the objects in the African collection at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and contribute to scholarship on the historic arts of Africa at large.  The project is jointly administered and carried out by a conservation and curatorial team with collaborative exchange a hallmark of our process. The project also supports partnerships with specialist consultants, students, and source community members.

The Idoma figure is a religious object used for the veneration of the water spirit Anjenu and is comprised of multiple materials and mixtures that include wood, paints, dyes, coatings, plant fibers, and mineral rich pastes, as well as imbedded and hidden materials.  The Bocio is a religious Vodun object empowered by an accumulation of materials.  Multiple analytic methods were used to develop holistic understandings of the figures including x-radiography and UV imaging, pXRF, XRD, FTIR and Raman spectroscopy, microscopy, and SEM-EDS. Collaboration with scientists at the Virginia Commonwealth University provided access to more refined analytic methods and professional expertise in interpreting results. Identification of plant materials was aided by consultation with botanists and ethnobotanists at the Royal Museum for Central Africa in Belgium.

The knowledge and observations of curatorial partners informed the material investigations of the figures, while conservation discoveries about the materials and methods of manufacture informed scholarly investigations including curatorial interviews with members of the various Idoma speaking communities in central Nigeria including the Ortukpo, Otukpa, Igumale, and Igede, and with the collectors who acquired the Bocio in the field.

Changes in the perception and exhibition of historic arts of Africa may require reconstructing the histories and meanings of these objects that have been separated from their original context of manufacture and use. This is a complex process as objects may embody complex and secret cultural practices or they may have been altered to accommodate cultural shifts or market demands.  This presentation addresses the central importance of identifying the materials and methods of manufacture of historic arts of Africa through the investigation and treatment of ritual figurative sculptures and presents the discoveries about the structure, embellishments, and surface treatments that have resulted from collaborative investigation.  

avatar for Catherine Mallinckrodt

Catherine Mallinckrodt

Conservator, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
Casey Mallinckrodt received a MA in conservation at the UCLA/Getty Program in Conservation of Archaeological and Ethnographic Materials and previously received a MFA from Yale University. She has been a Kress Fellow in Object Conservation at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston and worked... Read More →

avatar for Ashley Duhrkoop

Ashley Duhrkoop

Curatorial Associate, African Art, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
Ashley Duhrkoop is a PhD candidate in Art History, specializing in Twentieth Century and African art. Her research interests include power figures and associated divination systems, the colonial and post-Independence periods, provenance, and the historiography of the field of African... Read More →
avatar for Dr. Ndubuisi (Endy) Ezeluomba

Dr. Ndubuisi (Endy) Ezeluomba

Curatorial Research Specialist for African Art, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
Endy Ezeluomba received a PhD from the University of Florida, and holds an MA from the University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria, and a BA and PGDE, from the University of Benin, Benin City, Nigeria. Endy has also participated in exhibition projects at the University of Florida’s Harn... Read More →

Saturday June 2, 2018 4:00pm - 4:30pm
Texas Ballroom B Marriott Marquis Houston