avatar for Mary W. Ballard

Mary W. Ballard

Smithsonian Museum Conservation Institute
Suitland, MD

B.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 Textiles

Research Specialties and Interests

Interested in coloration of textiles and in the evidence of past technologies on historic textiles. Research specialties include work on finishes, surfactants, storage systems, climate, and exhibition as they affect the preservation of textile collections. Responsibilities include being licensed (Maryland) for fumigation, research and demonstration in order to be able to provide advice and treatment for infested textiles.

Recent Research Activities

Include the identification of mordants on printed cottons using micro-XRF; identification of natural indigo vs. synthetic indigo with isotope ratio mass spectrospectropy. On going work on the re-housing of the Black Fashion Museum collection for NMAAHC, some assistance for Renwick (SAAM) and for NASM, occasional collaborative projects with NMAH, NMNH, NMAI.

Recent Publications

Ballard, M.W. (ed.). 2009. Proceedings of the Forum on the Conservation of Thangkas: Special Session of the ICOM-CC 15th Triennial Conference, New Delhi, India, September 26,2008. Rome: International Council of Museums, Conservation Committee.

Ballard, M.W. 2008. Textile Conservation: A New World. AIC News, 33(3): 8-11.

Ballard, M.W. 2007. Microbial Growth on Textiles: Conflicting Conventions. In: Thomassen-Krauss, S., Facing Impermanence: Exploring Preventive Conservation for Textiles: Preprints, North American Textile Conservation Conference 2007, Washington, DC, November 6-9, 2007 = Enfrentando la Inestabilidad: Explorando la Conservacion Preventiva de Textiles: .... North American Textile Conservation Conference, pp.60-65.