2016-17 ECPN Committee — Open Officer Positions

Are you an emerging conservator who wants to advocate for the interests of other emerging conservators? If so, then please consider one of the open officer positions on AIC’s Emerging Conservation Professionals Network Committee:
-Vice Chair
-Professional Education and Training Officer
-Communications Officer
-Outreach Officer
All positions will serve for a one year term, beginning in June 2016 just after AIC’s 44th Annual Meeting. New officers will have the option of renewal for a second year, except for the Vice Chair who will be expected to move into the Chair position after the first year, for a one year term.
To learn more about ECPN, please visit: conservation-us.org/emerging
Position descriptions should be requested and any questions directed to Michelle Sullivan at michellerosesullivan@gmail.com. To apply, please submit a brief statement of interest and your resume to Michelle Sullivan, ECPN Vice Chair, by April 15, 2016.

Becoming a Professional Associate: ECPN Interviews Molly Gleeson

This post follows up on a previous ECPN blog post from 2012 by Molly Gleeson titled “I’m not a PA, but I want to be” (http://www.conservators-converse.org/2012/01/i%E2%80%99m-not-a-pa-but-i-want-to-be/).
Professional Associate status is granted through a peer review system whereby the applicant submits evidence of their “sustained high-quality professional skills and ethical behavior that adheres to the AIC Code of Ethics and Guidelines for Practice.” (1) This usually means submitting treatment reports and other conservation documentation, as well as recommendations from other conservators. The AIC Membership Committee is tasked with reviewing the applications, which may be submitted at deadlines throughout the year. PAs make up almost 30% of the AIC membership for 2015 (2). To be eligible you must be 3+ years out of grad school.
In Molly’s original post (3) she pointed out five great reasons why Emerging Conservators might want to achieve Professional Associate status:
1. Inclusion in the “Find a Conservator” tool on the AIC website
2. Voting privileges within AIC
3. Make yourself stand out when applying for jobs, contracts and grants
4. Eligibility to apply for Individual Professional Development Scholarships
5. Recognition among your peers and colleagues
Now that Molly has completed the process of becoming a PA, Jessica Walthew (ECPN Professional Education and Training Co-officer) asks her to reflect on the experience by answering a few questions (4) :
JW: What was the most difficult part of the process of becoming a PA? Did you run into any surprises about how difficult or easy it would be?
MG: The most difficult part was committing to applying and actually contacting the people that I was asking to support my application, because that meant that I had to follow through with my part. Once I did that, I really do think the rest fell into place pretty easily. Since all application materials can be shared and submitted online now, I think the process is fairly simple and straightforward.
JW: What materials did you include demonstrating your skills and abilities? Just treatment reports or documentation of other types (outreach, blog posts)?
MG: I submitted 4 examples of work. At the time I applied, my work was not heavily focused on treatment, so I definitely wanted to demonstrate the range of activities that I had been involved in. In addition to submitting two treatment reports, I also submitted materials related to a long-term research project on Native Californian featherwork and from a workshop that I taught for a group of Native Californian basketweavers on the care of baskets, including images from the workshop. I also made sure that my CV was updated and mentioned other outreach I was involved in, publications, presentations, blogging, committee work, etc.
JW: Do you see any additional benefits now compared to those you identified in your blog post?
MG: Sure. First, I might order the benefits I originally listed in a slightly different order – probably bumping voting privileges within AIC and eligibility to apply for Individual Professional Development Scholarships to the top of the list. Another benefit I now see is that the process of applying for PA status is a great professional development activity. It allowed me to share my work with former mentors who didn’t know all the details of what I had been doing since graduation, and led to some meaningful professional exchanges. It was also a nice way to reconnect with some important people who have provided great support for me. And another benefit that I didn’t think of before is that now I can act as a sponsor for other conservators seeking PA status!
JW: For current ECP’s, do you have any advice on preparing for applying for PA status down the road? For example, in the application it states “Professional contributions to the field should be emphasized and must be documented.” (5)
MG: If you feel like you’re not as involved as you’d like to be in professional activities, then make an effort to get involved. I was encouraged to apply to be on the ECPN committee the year after I finished graduate school, and I am very happy that I did, because being on an AIC committee is a terrific way to contribute to the field. I recommend looking for ways to be involved on any committee of interest (and not just applying for committee positions, but also volunteering for specific projects, blogging at the AIC meeting, etc.) and also looking beyond AIC to local/regional groups and getting involved in those. There are so many ways to become involved and to contribute to the field, and these don’t have to be big time commitments either.
The takeaway is that applying for PA status can allow you to be more involved with AIC and gives you the opportunity to benefit from grants specifically restricted to PAs and Fellows. For those of us not yet eligible to apply, Molly’s advice is to make sure to stay involved.
(1) AIC, “Who Can join.” (http://www.conservation-us.org/membership/who-can-join#.VcF1_0VEyLo)
(2) Ruth Seyler, Personal communication, via email.
(3) Molly Gleeson for ECPN blog, “I’m not a PA but I want to be” (http://www.conservators-converse.org/2012/01/i%E2%80%99m-not-a-pa-but-i-want-to-be/).
(4) Edited and condensed interview with Molly Gleeson. Personal communication, via email.
(5) AIC. Professional Associate application. http://www.conservation-us.org/membership/peer-reviewed-status/professional-associate-status#.Vd8T7c5EyLp
Our thanks to Molly Gleeson, Project Conservator, Penn Museum and author of In the Artifact Lab. (http://www.penn.museum/exhibitions/special-exhibitions/in-the-artifact-lab)

About the Author
Jessica Walthew holds a BA in Art History and Biology from Williams College (2009), with an MA in the History of Art and Archaeology with an Advanced Certificate in Conservation from The Conservation Center, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University (2015). She has worked in the conservation departments of the American Museum of Natural History, Brooklyn Museum, The Frick Collection, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Penn Museum. Her research interests include theory and practice in archaeological and ethnographic conservation, best practices in documentation, and technical research in art history and archaeology. In fall 2015 she will begin an Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship at The Metropolitan Museum of Art researching the intersection of textiles and objects conservation practices in the Department of Arts of Africa, Oceania and the Americas.

ECPN Webinar Follow-up: Presenting Talks and Posters

posted on behalf of Ariel O’Connor
Since I started graduate school in 2006, I’ve given 24 conservation-related PowerPoint presentations at conferences. Each time I give a talk, there are many things that go well, and many things I wish I had done differently. I’ve never walked away from a podium and thought “that was perfect!” but I’ve been proud of many presentations, and that’s usually because I had plenty of time to practice and make changes suggested by friends and colleagues who saw an early version of the talk. When things haven’t gone according to plan – which happens often – I usually know why. I didn’t do a full run-through of the script before the talk, so I went over time. I forgot to check the video link, so it didn’t work during the talk. I’ve lost my place reading a script. I’ve answered, “I don’t know,” to questions in the Q & A session. I stayed up all night finishing the talk and had too much coffee the day of. We’ve all been there, and it’s okay.
As my career progresses, I’ve noticed a shift. I don’t have the time I did in grad school to focus on one PowerPoint at a time, often now I have several to prepare at once. So they’re less elaborate than they were, but I’m getting more comfortable in front of an audience. I look up to the conservators who can comfortably and clearly speak about their work in public, and I constantly try to get better at it. But things still go wrong all the time! To me, the most important thing to take away from those experiences is to understand why they happened, so you can try and improve for the next time. For example, I’m a habitually last-minute PowerPointer, so I try to give myself an earlier deadline by arranging a run-through with colleagues in advance. Sometimes I can, sometimes I can’t. I also want to use more scripts that have simple bullet points instead of sentences, so I can speak without a full script and still stick to time. That’s a future goal of mine, but it’s going to take practice.
I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about preparing and delivering a good PowerPoint talk, and I keep trying to meet those goals. In the feedback from this ECPN Webinar, many students and conservators told me they enjoyed the tips for fancy effects and tricks, but really needed guidance for the basics. In response to this feedback, I put together a 3-page checklist for basic PowerPoint guidelines and stats. It’s compiled from the notes given to me by my former professor and digital guru from SUNY Buffalo, Dan Kushel, and Buffalo’s current Imaging and Technical Examination professor, Jiuan Jiuan Chen, along with a sprinkling of my own notes. With their assistance and permission, we’d like it to be available for anyone to download from the AIC Wiki. Follow this link to access and download the checklist: http://www.conservation-wiki.com/w/images/9/93/PowerPoint_Checklist_OConnor_9-1-2015.pdf. The first two pages of the handout are designed as a checklist for making the talk, so each step can be checked off as the presentation is created. The last page can be brought to the venue and used as a checklist for giving the talk.
Conservators are incredibly generous with their research and knowledge, and being comfortable presenting your work is an important part of our profession. I hope this checklist will help increase your comfort with presentations. Please share any comments and tips you use as well. Happy PowerPointing!
About the Author
Ariel O’Connor is currently an Objects Conservator at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. Prior to Air and Space, Ms. O’Connor was an Assistant Objects Conservator at the Walters Art Museum, Assistant Objects Conservator and Samuel H. Kress Fellow at the Harvard Art Museums, and Andrew W. Mellon Fellow at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Her research focuses on materials and technology in archaeological Asian art. Her archaeological fieldwork includes seasons at the Aphrodisias Excavations, Mugello Valley/Poggio Colla Archaeological Project, and Gordion Excavations Project. She holds an M.A. and C.A.S. in Art Conservation from Buffalo State College.

Get Ready for AIC's 43rd Annual Meeting, Emerging Conservators!

Hard to believe, but AIC’s 43rd Annual Meeting in Miami, FL is just around the corner! And ECPN wants to make sure you are aware of the many opportunities to get involved and connect as an emerging conservator at the conference. Below, we’ve highlighted just a few of the activities and events that we think will be of particular interest to emerging professionals. Looking forward to seeing you soon in Miami!
**To register for the ticketed events listed below, please visit AIC’s website: http://www.conservation-us.org/annual-meeting/register#.VT_hkMe7lVg

Before you go…
Get your head in the game and take a few minutes to review Tips for Attending Conferences compiled by ECPN for the AIC’s 40th Annual Meeting in 2012. Download this and other resources for emerging conservators from our newly launched page on the AIC Wiki:
Also, consider signing up to write a blog post or two for Conservators Converse, summarizing a General or Specialty Group Session. This is a great way to engage more deeply in a talk, connect with a speaker, and provide valuable information to colleagues unable to attend the Annual Meeting. If you are interested, sign up for no more than two talks through the Google Docs spreadsheet: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1pNEluroUP6aP_Degsdvy0Ns7PMpximU2XDYUkGHia-A/edit?usp=sharing. Contact Rachael Perkins Arenstein, AIC e-Editor, at rachael@amartconservation.com for more information and to receive a log-in for the blog. As an added incentive, everyone who completes two blog entries will be entered in a drawing to win a free 2016 Annual Meeting registration!

Pre-conference Activities
This joint event with the Emerging Conservation Professionals Network (ECPN) and Conservators in Private Practice (CIPP) will feature a panel of speakers, both established and emerging conservators in private practice, who will discuss the benefits, challenges and fine points of establishing a private practice as an emerging conservator. The panelists include: Ana Alba, Cynthia Kuniej-Berry, Lara Kaplan, Stephanie Hornbeck, and Emily McDonald-Korth. After an initial set of moderated discussion topics, there will be time for questions and comments from the audience.
The ECPN-CIPP joint discussion panel on private practice will be immediately followed by our annual Happy Hour, allowing attendees to continue conversations and network in a less formal setting.
The Wiki Workshop will help you get more comfortable with Wikis and also provides a way to give back to our conservation community! Whether you are new to wikis or are looking to learn advanced functions, this workshop will provide guidance, examples, and the opportunity to immediately put into practice what you learn. Basic coding as well as tips for formatting, images, automation, and smoother workflows will be covered. Participants will have an opportunity to practice their new skills on AIC’s Knowledge Base wiki, the Museum of Fine Arts’ CAMEO, NCPTT’s Preservapedia, and SPNHC’s Best Practices wiki, as well as an open “hackathon” for organizing and generating new content. Participants should bring a laptop with wireless capability; plugging strips will be provided.
This is a ticketed event and registration is $39, which includes a boxed lunch.
This workshop will focus on three main areas of running a successful private practice: 1) Accurate estimating; 2) Streamlined documentation and billing; and 3) Outreach and marketing update, including tips for producing videos and using blogs.
The workshop will include lots of time for questions and participation and it is intended for both established and emerging conservation professionals. All three subjects are planned for future CIPP webinars as follow up to enhance the learning process and to make the information available to all CIPP members.
This is a ticketed event and registration is $39.00 for CIPP members and $79.00 for non-members, which includes a boxed lunch.
Conservation and collection care professionals are often called on to lead projects without the organizational power to make decisions. Participants will learn influencing skills, situational leadership techniques, and how to use the art of diplomacy to make a personal difference in value for their organizations or clients. Bob Norris, a management consultant who is deeply familiar with conservation issues will be joined by a mid-career collections manager and an emerging conservator to foster discourse about situational leadership at different points in one’s career. Key concepts will be developed through multiple interactive exercises.
This is a ticketed event and registration is $139.

During the Conference
Since it was so successful last year, ECPN is hosting a second annual speed networking lunch on Saturday, May 16th, aimed at conservators in all stages of their careers. From 12 -1pm, attendees are invited to lunch and network informally while from 1-2pm they will engage in 15-minute networking sessions to discuss a topic of their choice, which may include research interests, career path advice, or resume review.
Please join us! Signup is available online through AIC’s annual meeting website – when you register by May 1st, you’ll be asked to fill out a questionnaire that will allow ECPN to match you with your preferred type of professional. After May 1st, matches that correspond to indicated preferences cannot be guaranteed.
This is a ticketed event and registration is $20, which includes lunch.
We know this means getting up early after a fun night of socializing with colleagues, but it’s worth the effort! Attending business meetings is an important way to stay informed about the state of AIC, your specialty group, and our profession. These meetings will help you better understand how AIC operates and give you an opportunity to express you questions and concerns. And remember, someday it may be you at that podium!
Check your conference program or Sched for specific business meeting times and locations.
SATURDAY, MAY 16, 2-3:15PM
This Library Collections Conservation Discussion Group (LCCDG) will explore various methods of outreach. Which channels work best to communicate knowledge and resources? Which best capture community interest? LCCDG is looking for volunteers willing to take notes during the small group discussions during this session. If you are interested in helping out, please contact one of the co-chairs.
Co-chairs, Library Collections Conservation Discussion Group:
Danielle Creech
Associate Conservator and Manger
ECS – Midwest
Jacqueline Keck
Student and ECPN Liaison
Anahit Campbell
Book Conservator and Conservation Science Graduate Student

Post-conference Activity
History Miami is South Florida’s premier cultural institution committed to gathering, preserving, and celebrating Miami’s history through exhibitions, city tours, education, research, collections, and publications. History Miami’s offsite facility is 12,000 square feet of mixed climate controlled storage space. It houses a variety of the museum’s collections such as the outboard boat and motor collection, aviation collection, archeological materials, and the Whitman Family collection. The building was acquired by the museum in 1990.
The facility is located 15-20 minutes north of the museum and is unstaffed. The goal for the 2015 AIC Angels Project volunteers is to assist in improving the space, and the collections it houses, as well as consulting on ways in which to upgrade the facility conditions. The facility has a high dust level and attendees may be subject to warm environments. To volunteer, please contact Ruth Seyler at rseyler@conservation-us.org.

Meet the Speakers! ECPN’s Upcoming Webinar on Preparing for Graduation Education in Art Conservation

ECPN’s next webinar, Beyond the Prerequisites: Preparing for Graduate Education in Art Conservation is quickly approaching! This Wednesday, July 16 at 12pm EDT, representatives from five of the North American graduate programs in art conservation will discuss what makes a strong applicant and ways you can grow as an emerging conservation professional.
You may have seen their names on the program websites, but we thought you might like to get to know the speakers a little better before the webinar. Each program representative has provided a short bio to help you become better acquainted!
And there is still time to register — just follow the link below. You will have a chance to submit questions for the Q&A session when you complete the registration form, but you can also send us your questions by leaving a comment on the ECPN Facebook page, or by commenting below on this blog post. You can also submit your questions via email to Megan Salazar-Walsh, ECPN Chair, at salazar.walsh@gmail.com.
Registration link: https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/177805026
Let’s meet the speakers!
Margaret Holben Ellis is the Eugene Thaw Professor of Paper Conservation, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University.  She also serves as Director, Thaw Conservation Center, The Morgan Library & Museum.  She is currently Vice-President and Fellow of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works of Art (AIC), Fellow of the International Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (IIC), Accredited Conservator/Restorer of the International Institute of Conservation (ICON).  Professional and academic awards have included the Caroline and Sheldon Keck Award (2003) for a sustained record of excellence in education, the Rutherford John Gettens Merit Award (1997) in recognition of outstanding service to the profession both conferred by the AIC, and a Fellowship from the American Academy in Rome (1994).  She has published and lectured on artists ranging from Raphael and Titian to Pollock and Lichtenstein with her research on artists materials similarly far-ranging.  She is a graduate of Barnard College (1975 B.A. art history, magna cum laude) and the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University (1979 M.A. art history; Advanced Certificate in Conservation).
James Hamm has taught paintings conservation in the Art Conservation Department at SUNY Buffalo State since 1986. He earned his M.A. degree and Certificate of Advanced Studies in Art Conservation in 1978, in the earlier iteration of the Buffalo program operated by Sheldon and Caroline Keck, as part of the Cooperstown Graduate Programs. Between graduate school and the beginning of his tenure at Buffalo State, James and his wife Patricia Hamm (’75) operated a successful private practice near Albany, New York. Professor Hamm has an ongoing interest in authentication issues and the detection of fakes and forgeries in paintings. Working closely with colleagues in the department, he regularly examines paintings using modern imaging techniques and sophisticated methods of materials analysis, in conjunction with an educated eye, to address questions of age and authenticity. He also applies the knowledge gained from the study of art materials and the processes of their degradation, to the improvement of materials and techniques available to modern artists. As a part of this work, he was awarded a U.S. patent for a rigid painting support for artists and has recently developed a pigmented wax-resin system for filling losses in paintings and objects. He has lectured and published on a wide variety of conservation topics. In 2007, Professor Hamm was honored with the President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. He has supervised students who have become conservation professionals at museums all around this country and a few overseas, as well as those who have established successful private practices.
Rosaleen Hill is the Director of the Queen’s University Art Conservation Program. Prior to joining Queen’s University in 2013 she taught at the School of Library and Archival Studies at the University of British Columbia and in the Conservation of Cultural Materials program at the University of Canberra in Australia. Rosaleen has taught more than 40 workshops and seminars for conservator and allied professionals and has consulted widely for archives, museums, libraries and other heritage institutions.
Debra Hess Norris is chair of the Art Conservation Department at the University of Delaware, director of the Winterthur/University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation, and professor of photograph conservation. Debbie has taught more than 125 workshops and seminars for conservators and allied professionals globally including in Peru, Columbia, Mexico, New Zealand, Australia, Russia, Ireland, Finland, France, the Netherlands, Morocco, Abu Dhabi, Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, and India. She has published over 35 articles and book chapters on the preservation of photographic materials, conservation education, ethics, and emergency planning. Debbie served as president of the American Institute for Conservation from 1993 – 1997 and chairperson of Heritage Preservation from 2003-2008. She currently serves on the boards of Heritage Preservation and the Conservation Center for Art and Historic Artifacts in Philadelphia, and the Advisory Committees for the FAIC Hermitage Photograph Conservation Initiative, the Mellon Collaborative Photograph Workshops, and the American Friends of the National Gallery of Denmark, among others.  In 2002, she was inducted into the University of Delaware’s Alumni Wall of Fame and in 2004 she was appointed as the Henry Francis duPont Chair of Fine Arts. She is a Fellow in the AIC and the International Institute for Conservation, and received the 2008 AIC University Products Award for distinguished achievement in the conservation of cultural property and the Caroline and Sheldon Keck Award for Teaching Excellence.
Ellen Pearlstein is one of the founding faculty and is associate professor at the UCLA/Getty Master’s Program in Archaeological and Ethnographic Conservation, which accepted its first students in 2005. Beforehand, Ellen spent 22 years as a conservator at the Brooklyn Museum of Art in New York City, and she taught classes at the Conservation Center of the IFA. Ellen teaches classes in organic materials conservation, conservation and ethnography, and preventive strategies at UCLA/Getty. Her research focuses on tribal museums and values for cultural preservation; effects of environmental agents on ethnographic and natural history materials (including understanding and preventing light damage in feather work); reinstating context for museum materials found ex situ; and curriculum development within conservation education.

We are looking forward to learning from this amazing group of conservation educators on Wednesday!  If you miss the webinar, it will be posted afterwards on the AIC YouTube channel.  Keep an eye out for an announcement when the link becomes available.

42nd Annual Meeting – Book and Paper Group, May 31 – “Made of Paper: Robert Motherwell’s Collage Materials in the 1940s” by Jeffrey Warda

Jeffrey Warda, Paper Conservator at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, presented a fascinating technical study of the collage work of Abstract Expressionist Robert Motherwell (1915-91). Warda completed this study in preparation for the exhibition Robert Motherwell: Early Collages organized by the Guggenheim. The exhibition, which was presented at Guggenheim venues in both Venice and New York in 2013, featured exclusively Motherwell’s papier collé works dating to the 1940s and 50s.
This presentation discussed the evolution of Motherwell’s collage work as a function of his relationship with other artists and patron Peggy Guggenheim (1898–1979); collaborative efforts to better characterize Motherwell’s process and palette of materials; and the artists’ perspective on the aesthetic of his works and the inevitable changes that result with the passage of time.
Warda began the presentation by describing the importance of the Motherwell’s relationship with Peggy Guggenheim to the artist’s pursuit of collage as an artistic medium. In 1943, Guggenheim organized an exhibition of contemporary collage at her gallery in New York City, Art of This Century. In preparation, she paired emerging artists to collaborate with more established artists to produce collage work for the exhibition. Motherwell was among the younger artists invited to participate along with Jackson Pollock (1912-56) and William Baziotes (1912-63). Encouragement by the artist Roberto Matta (1911-2002) was also cited as influential in Motherwell’s pursuit of collage and the creation of The Joy of Living, which was exhibited in Guggenheim’s 1943 exhibition and is now located in the collection of the Baltimore Museum of Art. Clearly this was a formative moment for the artist who continued to produce collage work, numbering nearly 900, throughout his entire career.
Illustrated with examples from the collections of the Baltimore Museum of Art, Cleveland Museum of Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and Harvard University Art Museums, the presentation continued with a discussion of Motherwell’s palette in terms of both color and materials. The former owes much to his the artists travels in Mexico and California. Modern art critic and curator James Johnson Sweeney related Motherwell’s color selections to these landscapes, relating the pinks to bougainvillea and terracotta. The blue grays and yellow ochres in his palette are often viewed as allusions to his childhood spent in California.
The survey of his collage work revealed Motherwell’s use of diverse materials including paperboard, colored artist’s papers, hand-coated papers, cloth rag, inks, paint, pastel, found paper objects (e.g. labels), and several adhesives including LePage’s® (fish glue) and Duco Cement® (cellulose nitrate). His favor for decorative papers is evident in his repeated use of a unique crinkled, Western-fibered paper with Japanese aesthetic qualities, seen in Harvard’s Collage No. 1. When Motherwell’s stock of this paper runs out, he continues to allude to it in his work by manipulation of other papers. Also of particular interest in this technical study was the characterization of a specific magenta-colored paper found in several of Motherwell’s collages. This paper was first observed in Motherwell’s collages by paper conservators Kimberley Schenck and Tom Primeau at the Baltimore Museum of Art. The fugitive nature of this colorant used in this brilliant paper was emphasized through examination of Mallarme’s Swan. In this work, exposed areas of the magenta paper have become severely discolored while areas protected from light by other paper elements remain vibrant. During this study, the colorant was identified as a Rhodamine-based dye and its light-sensitivity relative to Blue Wool Standards determined. For the exhibition, a virtual reconstruction was created using Adobe Photoshop to give visitors a sense of the original appearance of this work as the artist intended. In Harvard’s Collage No. 1, an interesting phenomenon was observed where a particular adhesive was applied, the magenta paper elements were somewhat protected from light-induced discoloration. The adhesive as identified as cellulose nitrate using Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR). The protective qualities of the adhesive may be attributed to the fact that cellulose nitrate is an ultraviolet-absorbing material.
Finally, Warda discussed Motherwell’s perspective on the aesthetics of his collages with regard to materials employed and his views on the changes that occur over time as a work ages. Maintaining a matte surface was important to the artist and he was reportedly “loathe” to see a collage varnished. Accordingly he employed artist materials with binders that would help achieve this effect, many of which were identified through gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) during this project by the Getty Conservation Institute: gum Arabic, animal glue (distemper), and casein. Generally, Motherwell tended to accept change in works as they aged and, in an interview with conservators Betty Fiske and Rita Albertson during the 1980s, described that he actually liked the visual effect of discoloring adhesives in his collages.

42nd Annual Meeting – Photographic Materials Group, May 31, “Comparative Study of Handheld Reflectance Spectrophotometers” by Katie Sanderson

Katie Sanderson, Assistant Conservator of Photographs at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (MMA), presented a most informative comparative study of handheld spectrophotometers undertaken at MMA. When the Department of Photograph Conservation decided to replace its existing handheld spectrophotometer—an X-Rite 968—Sanderson along with Scott Geffert, Senior Imaging Systems Manager, researched current units available to determine the best replacement and variation in measurements taken by each.
Sanderson began by outlining the factors to consider when replacing a spectrophotometer: data continuity (extant data over 20 years); instrument agreement; data translation; software compatibility with previous and future instruments; and longevity and support (the previous spectrophotometer is no longer supported by X-Rite but still takes good data readings). In total, seven spectrophotometers—four by X-Rite and three by Konica Minolta—were tested against the MMA’s X-Rite 968 and a bench-top spectrophotometer equipped with an external remote diffuse reflectance accessory probe in the Department of Scientific Research. The seven spectrophotometers examined were:

  • X-Rite 964
  • X-Rite eXact
  • X-Rite Ci64
  • X-Rite RM200
  • Konica Minolta 2600D
  • Konica Minolta 2500c
  • Konica Minolta FD-7

Before delving into the specific finding of each unit tested, Sanderson provided a brief overview of how spectrophotometers work. She explained that an object is illuminated by a light source of a specific spectral range, a detector collects any reflected light, and a unique spectrum is produced. While some light sources extend into the ultraviolet region of the electromagnetic spectrum, most are within the range of visible light (400-700nm). The two most common geometries for spectrophotometers are 0/45—in which the first number represents the angle (in degrees) of the light source and the second number the angle of the detector—and integrated spherical.
As Sanderson described, some of the units tested had an integrated spherical geometry that takes into account specular reflectance; these spectrophotometers can be operated in either specular component excluded (SCE) or specular component included (SCI) mode. The aperture of the X-Rite units was set to 4mm—that of MMA’s current spectrophotometer—andthe Konica Minolta units were set to 8mm as they exhibited a range of apertures and, in some cases, were not adjustable.

X-Rite Digital SG ColorChecker. Image courtesy of X-Rite

To determine an appropriate replacement, several reference standards and sample objects were tested with the seven spectrophotometers. The reference standards tested were obtained directly from X-Rite that is about to release a new Digital SG ColorChecker. The new target will include the same colors as the existing one but will utilize new pigments for some colors. For this comparative study, MMA obtained samples of the new standards to assemble its own large-format color checker. Ceramic BCRA calibrationcolor tiles were also tested as well as objects with varied surface qualities—chromogenic photographic prints (glossy and matte), watercolorpaper, textiles, and paintings. Five readings were taken and averaged for each spot tested; the units were lifted and repositioned before each measurement to account for a margin of error in positioning when monitoring color shift in objects over time using a spectrophotometer. Mylar® templates were created to facilitate positioning of the meters. All testing was completed by a single operator and resulted in approximately 12,000 readings!
To evaluate the variation in measurement between spectrophotometers, MMA’s X-Rite 968 was used as a master and delta E values were calculated for each of the 140 X-Rite color references. Sanderson summarized the results of this comparative study as follows. Meters with a 0/45 geometry produced readings with the closest match to the unit currently in use, which was not surprising as both are 0/45 instruments. When operated in SCE mode to exclude specular reflectance, the integrated spherical instruments fared worse than the 0/45. The easiest-to-use instruments were lightweight with built-in crosshair targets to facilitate alignment with a template. Finally, Sanderson introduced the concept of acceptable tolerance meaning that the operator should simplify the use of spectrophotometric readings by using a single instrument with a single set of standards. During the Q&A session that followed this presentation, a member of the audience asked which spectrophotometer MMA ultimately selected.   Sanderson responded that the X-Rite eXact was selected for several reasons: it is lightweight; it produces data reasonably consistent with MMA’s existing spectrophotometer (understanding that data translation will be necessary regardless of which instrument is chosen); and long-term support from the manufacturer as well as continuity in data and software.
X-Rite eXact spectrophotometer. Image courtesy of X-Rite

The presentation concluded with a discussion of areas of further research within this project, specifically continued analysis of data pertaining to the UV-radiation source found in some of the meters as well as the use of SCE settings in spherical integrated systems for more highly textured surfaces like those found in textile objects. Finally, it is a goal of MMA to complete processing of all data collected during this study and make it available to a wider audience so that it might contribute to more standardized color communication within the field of conservation and allied professions.

42nd Annual Meeting – Photographic Materials Group, May 31, “Characterization of a Surface Tarnish Found on Daguerreotypes under Shortwave Ultraviolet Radiation” by Krista Lough

Krista Lough, graduate intern in photograph conservation at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and third-year student in the Buffalo State College (BSC) program in art conservation, presented an interesting talk on the presence and potential sources a particular fluorescent tarnish found on many daguerreotypes when viewed under shortwave ultraviolet radiation. In addition to examination and photodocumentation of a set of daguerreotypes that exhibit this type of fluorescence, Lough also used Raman spectroscopy, scanning electron microscopy (SEM), and x-ray diffraction (XRD) to determine that the fluorescent tarnish is copper- and cyanide-based.
The presentation began with a summary of prior research on this subject by Lee Ann Daffner, Dan Kushel, John Messinger, and Claire Buzit Tagni. These studies corroborated Lough’s findings in characterizing the fluorescent tarnish as copper- and cyanide-based. These studies also showed that the tarnish was either removed or its fluorescence quenched when the daguerreotypes were treated with ammonium hydroxide.

Daguerreotype and brass mat from study observed normal illumination (top) and UVC (bottom) to reveal fluorescent tarnish. Image courtesy of Krista Lough

Following a brief review of the phenomenon of fluorescence and its causes, Lough presented the photodocumentation of nine daguerreotypes that were examined during this study. The plates came from two sources—a private collection and a study collection at Buffalo State College—and only those from previously opened packages were examined. Lough’s research focused on determining the source of the fluorescent tarnish and its long-term effects. While the plates varied widely in condition, three primary types of fluorescent tarnish were identified: edge tarnish; rings and circles; and continuous film. The characteristic fluorescence was only observed when the plates were viewed under shortwave UV-C and not under longer wavelengths of ultraviolet radiation. Lough also noted that it was not always possible to associate fluorescent areas with tarnish perceived under visible light. Further, the greenish fluorescence was observed on the verso of some of the plates and along the verso and beveled edges and brass mats that accompanied some of the daguerreotypes. No strong connections could be made, however, between the fluorescence observed on the plates and the corresponding components of their once-sealed packages.
As part of her research methodology, Lough created a number of pure copper and silver-coated copper mock-ups. The mock-ups were treated with both potassium cyanide and sodium cyanide in an attempt to produce the same fluorescent tarnish observed in the 19th-century daguerreotypes. Ultimately, the tarnish only formed in the mock-ups treated with sodium cyanide in areas of exposed, pure copper. The fluorescent tarnish did not form on the plates treated with potassium cyanide or where the copper mock-ups were protected by a coating of silver.
Mock-ups observed under normal illumination (left) and UVC (right). Image courtesy of Krista Lough

To characterize the composition of tarnish, the mock-ups and select 19th-century daguerreotypes were analyzed using Raman spectroscopy, SEM, and XRD. The Raman spectra obtained indicate that the composition of the tarnish was identical in all spots analyzed. SEM was used to create elemental maps of some of the tarnished areas on one of the 19th-century daguerreotypes. A higher concentration of copper, carbon, and nitrogen and a lower concentration of silver were revealed in the areas of tarnish analyzed. Further, a higher concentration of sodium was observed in the areas surrounding the tarnish spots, perhaps an indication of previous treatment with sodium cyanide. Finally, XRD analysis of the fluorescent tarnish on the historic plate produced peaks for silver sulfide and pure silver. Unfortunately, while cyanide was identified on one of the mock-up plates, it was not found on the historic daguerreotype examined and it is thought that the quantities present may be below the detection limits of the XRD instrument.
Lough concluded the presentation with a list of daguerreotype procedures documented in historic literature that could account for the presence of cyanide: electroplating, cleaning, brightening, fixing, gilding, and engraving by galvanism. She also identified avenues for future research including investigation into whether or not the tarnish should be removed, the presence of copper cyanide on brass mats, and potential problems or affects to the daguerreotype that may arise if the tarnish remains untreated. Lough suggested documentation of the fluorescent tarnish could be used to develop a monitoring program for daguerreotype collections and potentially map trends during the examination of larger collections to determine, for instance, if a specific cyanide procedure is common to daguerreotypes from a particular period or location. In closing, Lough summarized the findings of her study in three main points: UV-C examination is a useful tool for understanding the condition of daguerreotypes; the fluorescent tarnish was positively identified as copper cyanide; and the objects exhibiting this characteristic fluorescent tarnish should be handled with caution as the tarnish is toxic.
The copper cyanide tarnish is toxic! Image courtesy of Krista Lough


How to Make the Most of Your Pre-Program Internship: Online Resources from ECPN

Landing a conservation internship or fellowship is tough at any stage of an emerging conservator’s career, but securing a position is only the beginning!  Remember, internships are a two-way street and, whether or not your position is paid or unpaid, there are certain steps you can take to make meaningful contributions and enrich your experience (and portfolio!).
To complement ECPN’s upcoming webinar How to Make the Most of Your Pre-program Internship scheduled for Tuesday, September 24 at 12:00PM ET), we’ve collected a number of online resources that we hope interns and internship supervisors alike will find helpful.
If you would like to register for the webinar, please visit: https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/766549178
For Interns:  Express enthusiasm and gratitude.  Network within your institution.  Always be professional and behave like an employee.  These are just a few words of advice for making the most of your internship that you will find among the resources compiled below.
Checklist for Interns: Getting the Most out of Your Internship, Virginia Association of Museums
Making the Most of Your Internship(s), Quintessential Careers
Key Advice for Young Creatives from Four Nonprofit Professionals, NYCreative Interns
Internship Dos and Don’ts for College Students, Quintessential Careers
10 Tips to Get the Most out of Your Internship, U.S. News
For Supervisors: Thinking of taking on a pre-program intern but not quite sure?  Interested in freshening your approach to mentoring emerging conservation professionals?  Take a look at these resources and learn a few ways to maintain a mutually rewarding internship program!
Non-profit Interns, National Council for Non-profits
How to Manage Interns, Inc.com
Co-operative Education: 6 Steps to Hire an Intern, University of Arkansas

Finding an Internship: Still searching for a pre-program internship?  Don’t forget to regularly review the following sites for paid and unpaid internship opportunities!
Jobs, Internships, and Fellowship Listings, AIC’s Blog Conservator’s Converse
eNews, International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Conservation of Cultural Property (ICCROM)
Job and Fellowship Listings, International Institute for the Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (IIC)
Internship and Job listings, Art Conservation Department, University of Delaware
Career and Job HQ, American Alliance for Museums (AAM)
Listings, Indigo Arts Alliance
Funding for Pre-program Interns: Art supplies are expensive, chemistry courses are not free, and an intern has to eat! Despite the invaluable experience you will receive through your pre-program internships, we all know how difficult it can be if your position is unpaid. Recognizing this challenge faced by many emerging conservators, the Indigo Arts Alliance has established a grant in honor of Denese L. Easerly to support pre-program students and interns as they complete the numerous pre-requisites required for admission to a graduate-level training program.  If you are interested in applying for a pre-program training grant or making a contribution to the support the award of such grants, please follow the link below.
 The Denese L. Easterly Conservation Training Pre-program Grant, Indigo Arts Alliance

41st Annual Meeting – Book and Paper Session, June 1, "Conservation and Encasement: 1297 Magna Carta" by Morgan Zinsmeister and Terry Boone

In 2011, senior conservators Morgan Zinsmeister and Terry Boone of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), thoroughly documented, conserved, and encased a copy of Magna Carta that dates to 1297.  During his presentation at AIC’s 41st Annual Meeting in Indianapolis, Zinsmeister recounted the project.  His presentation, which I’ve summarized in this post, beautifully illustrated the measures taken by NARA conservators to preserve documents and artifacts so essential to the history of our nation.
First drafted by a gang of rebellious barons in 1215, Magna Carta asserted the individual and property rights of its authors in opposition to the tyranny of King John of England (1166-1216).  This document also addressed the fundamental principles of majority rule and due process that would prove essential to later charters.  Magna Carta served as a precedent to the British Constitution, the Bill of Rights, Declaration of Independence, and U.S. Constitution.

Magna Carta Front 1297 Old Military and Civil Records
Magna Carta, 1297 after treatment

Between 1216 and 1297, Magna Carta was reissued four times and copied many more.  Today, 17 extant copies are known: 15 in the United Kingdom, one in Australia, and one in the United States, that is the copy conserved and exhibited at NARA courtesy of its current owner, David M. Rubenstein.
Magna Carta, 1297 is written Latin with iron gall ink and metal-point ruling on parchment.  A sur double queue wax seal with parchment tag served as a closure.  When the document was removed from its previous encasement–an anoxic acrylic case designed by Dr. Nathan Stolow at the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin–it was closely monitored for change as parchment is extremely sensitive to moisture and fluctuations in relative humidity.  Once removed, Magna Carta was examined closely and its condition documented.  It was during this examination period that conservators made the happy discovery that a portion of the text previously obliterated by water damage was made legible again through photography using ultraviolet radiation.  To learn more about this discovery, see a past blog post by AIC’s own E-editor Rachael Perkins Arenstein.
Following thorough examination and documentation, a three-step treatment was devised that included removal of previous mends, reduction of adhesive residues, and humidification and flattening of the document in preparation for re-encasement.  Magna Carta was first selectively surface cleaned.  Next, adhesive residues were carefully reduced, old repairs removed, and acrylic-toned, handmade kozo (long-fibered mulberry paper) used to create new fills and repair tears.  Prior to humidification and flattening, transparent polyester film was used to make outline tracings of Magna Carta to document any dimensional changes that might occur during treatment.  Humidification was carried out using the damp-pack method and the document was dried under tension for several months to allow the moisture content of the parchment to reach equilibrium.
The tight environmental control required to preserve Magna Carta lead NARA staff to partner with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in designing the new encasement.  Together, NARA and NIST developed an anoxic (without oxygen) display that inhibits oxidative degradation to preserve the document as long as possible.  A perfect collaboration!

Installation of Magna Carta, 1297 in its new encasement at NARA

To create the new encasement, NARA drew upon past experiences housing important documents and applied lessons learned from encasement of the Charters of Freedom: the Bill of Rights, the Declaration of Independence, and the U.S. Constitution.  Magna Carta was scanned and its exact profile obtained to produce a custom support that would eliminate any strain to the document and protect it from damaging vibrations.  A special paper with high alpha-cellulose content created by Timothy Barrett was used as a barrier between the document and the encasement’s metal support.  Ultimately, this paper serves two functions: it works as a buffer to help maintain the desired relative humidity within the encasement and as a sort of non-invasive optical brightener.  The whiteness of the paper barrier combined with the parchment’s translucency actually caused the document appear more luminous!  Polyester film tabs with rounded edges hold the document in place.  The encasement is fitted with o-rings to create a tight seal and a leak-detection system.  Once sealed, the air trapped inside the case was flushed out using the inert, humidified argon gas to create an oxygen-free environment.
In March 2012, Magna Carta, 1297 was re-installed in NARA’s West Rotunda where it remains on view.  When we take a moment to reflect upon the important role that historic documents like Magna Carta play in telling the story of a nation, their preservation becomes unquestionable and the essential nature of the conservator’s work is underscored.  Thanks to the amazing work of NARA conservators Morgan Zinsmeister and Terry Boone, their collaborators at NIST, and David M. Rubenstein who brought the document to NARA and underwrote its treatment and encasement, the Magna Carta will be preserved for the education and enjoyment of many generations of visitors to come.
To learn more about the exciting story of Magna Carta’s preservation, visit NARA’s website or YouTube channel to view videos on the treatment and the encasement.