ECPN Interviews: Electronic Media Conservation with Christine Frohnert

To promote awareness and a clearer understanding of different pathways into specializations that require particular training, The Emerging Conservation Professionals Network (ECPN) is conducting a series of interviews with conservation professionals in these specialties. We kicked off the series with Chinese and Japanese Painting conservation, and now we are focusing on Electronic Media Conservation (EMG). These conservators work with time-based media, which is characterized by artwork with durational elements, such as slide, film, and video, analog or born-digital materials, performance, light or kinetic art, sound or software-based art. We’ve asked our interviewees to share some thoughts about their career paths, which we hope will inspire new conservation professionals and provide valuable insight into these areas of our professional field.

In the first interviews for this series, we spoke with emerging conservators starting in the early stages of their careers working in time-based media, which included Alexandra Nichols, Nicholas Kaplan, Brian Castriota and Yasmin Desssem. In this interview, we hear from Christine Frohnert, a conservator who graduated in 2003 from the University of Arts in Berne, Switzerland, where she majored in the Conservation of Modern Materials and Media. Prior to establishing a private practice for Time-based Media (TBM) with colleague Reinhard Bek, Christine served as chief conservator at the Museum Ludwig in Cologne, Germany for twelve years and as chair of the AIC Electronic Media Group from 2008-2012. In 2012, she was named the inaugural Judith Praska Distinguished Visiting Professor in Conservation and Technical Studies at the Conservation Center at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University (CC/IFA/NYU), where she now serves as the Time-based Media Art Conservation Curriculum Development Program Coordinator.


Christine Frohnert and Reinhard Bek [Photo: Reinhard Bek]
Christine Frohnert and Reinhard Bek [Photo: Reinhard Bek]
ECPN: Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your current position.

Christine Frohnert (CF): I am a conservator of contemporary art with a specific focus on technology-based art. Reinhard Bek and I founded Bek & Frohnert LLC in NYC in 2012- a conservation studio in private practice specializing in the conservation of time-based media (TBM). We are both German, have been trained in Europe, worked in leading positions in museums, and have been involved in international research projects.

Bek and I focus on the conservation of artworks with a durational element in our practice—such as sound, moving image, performance, light, or movement, that unfolds to the viewer over time via slide, film, video, software, or the internet. Since the studio’s inauguration, we have responded to individual needs for both TBM conservation treatments and consulting requests. However, over the last several years, we have experienced a rising demand to serve as consultants for different U.S. institutions without time-based media conservators on staff, as well as for collectors and artists. As many TBM art collecting institutions are facing rapidly increasing needs to adequately acquire, preserve, exhibit and store TBM works, we are responding to this development and our work is more geared towards long-term collection care and the development of preservation plans, as well as education.

ECPN: How were you first introduced to conservation, what contributed to your decision to specialize in time-based media, and why has been your training pathway?

CF: As with most of my colleagues, I started conservation being exposed to more traditional media such as paintings and sculpture. About 20 years ago, I realized that technology-based artworks can be seriously harmed or lost without a new conservation specialty being established. I became fascinated with TBM, and I learned about the newly established program ‘Conservation of Modern Materials and Media’ at the University of Arts, Berne, Switzerland. I graduated from there in 2003.

ECPN: Are there any particular skills that you feel are important or unique to your discipline?

Christine Frohnert [Photo: Marlies Peller]
Christine Frohnert [Photo: Marlies Peller]
CF: A complex range of skill sets are needed, which should be solidly grounded in the conceptual framework of contemporary art conservation as a whole. It requires knowledge in electrics/electronics and programming, and an in-depth understanding of each media category, technology and its preservation, documentation and digital preservation needs. As our profession is highly collaborative by nature, soft skills are equally important to collaborate with all the stakeholders in the institutions involved, as well as with affiliated external professionals such as engineers, computer scientists, and technicians. This is important when defining, communicating, and verifying goals with vendors.

As many museums recently formed or are currently forming ‘Media Teams’ in their respective institutions to tackle their individual TBM collections needs, we have witnessed a rapidly increasing need for skilled labor, dedicated TBM lab space, equipment, and the trustworthy storage and management of huge amounts of born-digital or digitized artworks.

ECPN: What are some of your current projects, research, or interests?

CF: Currently our recent projects include consultation with several institutions to analyze their TBM collections and develop custom-designed conservation strategies according to their individual collections needs and skill sets of staff. These consultations may include surveys, assistance with media acquisitions, exhibitions and artwork documentation, storage, and migration. Bringing in external expertise often provides the bridge that many museums and their TBM stakeholders do not find in-house or do not have the capacity to coordinate. This work helps to identify and structure these needs more clearly and often provides the basis for institutional development and the implementation of larger collection care projects.

Recent and current treatment-based activities range from analyzing the ‘mechanical’ programming of a light-based work, the conservation of a seven channel-video wall from 1998 consisting of 207 Cathode Ray Tube monitors, digitization of analog video, and  the reverse engineering of custom-designed large format slide projectors, to name a few.

Cathode Ray Tube monitor [Photo: Marlies Peller
Cathode Ray Tube monitor [Photo: Marlies Peller]
ECPN: In your opinion, what is an important need in your specialization?

CF: the most pressing need is education. Technology-based art is considered to be very sensitive to damage, loss, misinterpretation, and incorrect installation, due to its very specific and sensitive relationship to time, space, and concept. Damage or loss of a TBM work cannot be seen by simply examining the physical material and may not be immediately apparent unless the individual has received specialized training.

TBM conservation has been identified as a priority by many museums, collectors, and funding agencies. However, the educational opportunities are still limited, and there is currently no U.S. graduate program offering a degree in this specialty (but this will change soon!). As a result, a huge amount of our most recent cultural heritage is at risk, in an unknown condition, and/or not sufficiently integrated into museums’ missions of collecting, exhibition, conservation, research, and education.

However, thanks to the generous funding provided by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Conservation Center at the Institute of Fine Arts, NYU, started the TBM art conservation curriculum planning project in 2016.The new TBM specialization will be integrated within its current curriculum starting in fall 2018. This will be the first conservation program offering this specialty in the U.S. and the graduates will receive a dual degree: an MS in the Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works and an MA in the History of Art and Archaeology.

ECPN: Have you been involved in any advocacy, outreach, teaching or professional service roles in your specialization?

CF: During my time as EMG (Electronic Media Group) board Chair from 2008-2012, we received numerous request from the membership to offer continuing education opportunities, and in response EMG launched the conference series entitled TechFocus in 2010. The series is designed to provide hands-on guidance and systematic education on different media categories (TechFocus I: Caring for Video Art, Guggenheim Museum, NY, in 2010; TechFocus II: Caring for Film and Slide Art, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC, 2012; TechFocus III: Caring for Software-based Art, Guggenheim Museum, NY, in 2015). In addition, the first periodical worldwide that focuses on TBM art conservation was launched by the EMG in 2012, The Electronic Media Review.

At the (CC/IFA/NYU) I have offered instruction in TBM conservation art in different capacities, including the course Art With A Plug: The Conservation of Artwork Containing Motion, Sound, Light, Moving Images and Interactivity (Fall 2012 and Spring 2015).

Several professional organizations and initiatives have created additional targeted educational opportunities and collaborations. However, despite all these good developments, further training is needed at the graduate level, as well as in continuing education for professionals, to address the fast-increasing demands of TBM conservation.

Under the leadership of Dr. Hannelore Roemich, Professor of Conservation Science and TBM program Director, I have also served as TBM Program Coordinator to assist in identifying skill sets and core competencies of TBM conservators that translate into the educational needs to develop a TBM curriculum. In the fall of 2016 the Conservation Center offered the course and public lecture series Topics in Time-based Media Art Conservation, which included ten lectures by leading art historians, artists, computer scientists, and conservators. These events were an important outreach component of the curriculum development project, and they created the opportunity to promote the field, foster the dialogue between TBM professionals, and build a community.

We are now organizing the upcoming symposium It’s About Time! Building a New Discipline: Time-based Media Art Conservation to be held in May 2018. The two-day symposium will provide a forum for educators, artists, art historians, museum curators and directors, collectors, gallerists, engineers, computer scientists, and conservators to promote TBM art conservation as a discipline on an international level and will conclude the TBM curriculum planning phase.

ECPN: Do you have any advice for prospective emerging conservators who would like to pursue this specialization?

Cathode Ray Tube monitor [Photo: Christine Frohnert]
Cathode Ray Tube monitor [Photo: Christine Frohnert]
CF: While I am not comfortable issuing general advice, I can say that I personally appreciate working with students and colleagues in our field, and that this has shaped and enriched my professional life. If you are a strong communicator who is interested in the intersection of art and technology, art conservation, and art history– and maybe you even have a background in one or more of the related media fields–why don’t you join the EMG sessions at the AIC annual meetings and/or attend the upcoming NYU symposium to engage with the TBM community and find out if this specialty may be just the right fit for you?

ECPN:  Please share any last thoughts or reflections.

CF: We currently see an extremely high demand for trained TBM conservators. This can be measured by the exponentially increasing job offers worldwide and the challenges many institutions face to find qualified candidates. So, it is safe to say that this is the best moment in time for becoming a TBM conservator in this country. If you are interested in pursuing a career in TBM conservation- check out the new TBM curriculum page at the Conservation Center, Institute of Fine Arts at NYU.



ECPN Interviews: Electronic Media Conservation with Yasmin Dessem

To promote awareness and a clearer understanding of different pathways into specializations that require particular training, the Emerging Conservation Professionals Network (ECPN) is conducting a series of interviews with conservation professionals in these specialties. We kicked off the series with Chinese and Japanese painting conservation, and now we are focusing on practitioners in AIC’s Electronic Media Group (EMG). These conservators work with time-based media, which can include moving components, performance, light or sound elements, film and video, analog or born-digital materials. We’ve asked our interviewees to share some thoughts about their career paths, which we hope will inspire new conservation professionals and provide valuable insight into these areas of our professional field.

This is the third post from ECPN’s EMG blog series, for which we first interview Nick Kaplan and more recently, Alex Nichols. For our third interview from the EMG series, we spoke with Yasmin Dessem, currently Head of the Audiovisual Preservation Studio at UCLA Library where she serves as the technical lead as the library continues to develop its program of preservation, digitization and access of its moving image and sound holdings. Previously she managed archive deliverables for new feature releases at Paramount Pictures. She has experience working with a wide variety of moving image and sound formats, as well as pre-film animation devices, silent-era cameras, costumes and paper collections. Yasmin holds Master’s degrees in Art History and Moving Image Archive Studies from UCLA.

Yasmin Dessem (left) and Allie Whalen (right) cleaning and relubricating a Betacam deck. [Photo: Walter Urie]
Yasmin Dessem (left) and Allie Whalen (right) cleaning and relubricating a Betacam deck. [Photo: Walter Urie]
ECPN: Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your current position.

Yasmin Dessem (YD): I oversee the preservation of moving image and recorded sound materials at the UCLA Library’s Preservation Department. For nearly 90 years, the UCLA Library has collected audiovisual materials with content such as home movies, oral histories, and radio broadcasts. Examples are home movies of Susan Sontag’s parents sailing to China in the 1920s and field interviews with Watts residents after the 1965 riots. Audiovisual preservation (AV) at the library is a relatively young unit—a dedicated AV preservationist first came on board in 2011. We offer a number of in-house digitization and preservation services and are currently focusing on increasing our capacity and launching a survey.

ECPN: How were you first introduced to conservation, and why did you decide to pursue conservation?

YD: The 1996 re-release of the restored version of Vertigo first made me aware of film restoration and preservation as an actual practice. Later, as I was finishing my Masters in Art History at UCLA, I took a wonderful class on restoration, preservation, and conservation with Professor David A. Scott. The course covered the material care issues and decision-making ethics for a wide breadth of cultural heritage materials. The class struck a deep chord with me, but I was eager to graduate and start working. After graduation, I ended up working in the film industry for about six years. I was tracking down historic stock footage at one job when my mind circled back to the preservation field as I considered how the films were stored and made available. I had entertained the idea of potentially returning to graduate school to study art conservation some day, but around that time the idea of film preservation as a possible career path began to fully materialize for me. As a result, I began exploring potential graduate programs.

ECPN: Of all specializations, what contributed to your decision to pursue electronic media conservation?

YD: My longtime love for film and music intersected with my curiosity for all things historical and technology-related. These were topics that in one form or another always interested me, but I don’t think I had a full grasp on how to combine them meaningfully into a profession. Preservation was the missing key. My exposure to preservation and conservation while studying art history and my later experience working at film studios both helped direct me towards the specialization.

ECPN: What has been your training pathway?  Please list any universities, apprenticeships, technical experience, and any related jobs or hobbies.

YD: I pursued my studies in the Moving Image Archive Studies (MIAS) Program at UCLA—which persists today as a Master of Library and Information Science (M.L.I.S.) with a Media Archival Studies specialization. While in the program, I completed internships with Universal Pictures and the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, and volunteered at the Hugh Hefner Moving Image Archive at the University of Southern California. Throughout the two-year MIAS program, I also worked as a fellow at the Center for Primary Research and Training program at UCLA Library Special Collections, where I learned archival processing. My experiences weren’t limited to preserving moving image and sound media, but included paper-based collections, costumes, and film technology. After graduating I attended the International Federation of Film Archives (FIAF) Film Restoration Summer School hosted by the Cineteca di Bologna and L’Immagine Ritrovata.

ECPN: Are there any particular skills that you feel are important or unique to your discipline?

YD: Digital preservation will continue to be a key area of expertise that’s needed in museums and archives. Preserving the original source material and digitizing content is not enough. There are more resources than ever for strategies and tools for digital preservation, and it’s important to seek them out. Another valuable skill is developing a level of comfort with handling and understanding the unique characteristics of a wide variety of physical analog formats  such as film, videotape, audiotape, and grooved media (LP, 78s, lacquer discs, wax cylinders, etc.). Similarly, it’s helpful to have a familiarity with playback devices for these obsolete media formats (equipment like open-reel decks or video decks.) Lastly, metadata can be an unsung hero in media preservation. Often, we’re the first to see or hear a recording in decades, so capturing metadata around the point of transfer is critical. Metadata standards can be a rabbit hole of complexities, especially when it comes to describing audiovisual media, but understanding their application is an essential skill.

Lacquer disc cleaning and transfer workshop at the Instituto de Historia de Cuba in Havana, Cuba [Photo: Yasmin Dessem]
Lacquer disc cleaning and transfer workshop at the Instituto de Historia de Cuba in Havana, Cuba [Photo: Yasmin Dessem]
ECPN: What are some of your current projects, research, or interests?

YD: We’re just wrapping up digitization of materials from the Golden State Mutual Life Insurance Company (GSM), an African American-owned and operated insurance firm established in Los Angeles in 1925 in response to discriminatory practices that restricted the ability of African American residents to purchase insurance. GSM operated for 85 years and their collection is a vibrant resource documenting Los Angeles and the empowerment of a community. We received grants from the National Film Preservation Foundation and the John Randolph Haynes and Dora Haynes Foundation to support this work. The digitized collection is now available on Calisphere. We’ve just started a crowd sourcing project working with former GSM staffers to describe any unidentified content. It’s been one of the most rewarding experiences of my career, hearing everyone’s stories and seeing how much it means to everyone involved to have this collection preserved and made available.

We’ve also been in preparation to launch a large-scale survey that will help us gather data on the Library’s audiovisual collections that can be used for long term-planning. Outside of UCLA, we’ve been involved with ongoing work with cultural heritage institutions in Cuba. Last February, I set up equipment and held a workshop on the digitization of radio transcription discs held at the Instituto de Historia de Cuba (IHC) in Havana. I’m heading back there next week to begin a project to transfer IHC’s open reel audio collections.

ECPN: In your opinion, what is an important research area or need in your specialization?

YD: It’s crucial to preserve the expertise related to the operation and repair of playback equipment. Playback equipment will become more and more difficult to source in the future. Engineers, whose entire careers are dedicated to the use and care of this equipment, are some of the best resources for this knowledge. Their knowledge is shared through conversation, YouTube videos, social media, and professional workshops. Documenting the skills required to handle, maintain, calibrate, and service this equipment in a more formalized way and sharing that knowledge widely will ensure that the preservationists can keep their equipment viable for longer.

ECPN: Do you have any advice for prospective emerging conservators who would like to pursue this specialization?

YD: Try everything. Media preservation requires a wide variety of skills from computer coding to soldering decades-old circuit boards. Depending on where your career takes you, it’s good to have at least a passing familiarity with the full range of skills you may need to call upon. Apply for internships or fellowships with organizations, like the National Digital Stewardship Residency. Volunteer at community-based archives that need help getting their collections in order. Join professional organizations, like the Association of Recorded Sound Collections (ARSC) or the Association of Moving Image Archivists. Attend conferences like code4lib, the Preservation and Archiving Special Interest Group (PASIG), or the Digital Asset Symposium (DAS). Network with engineers or preservation professionals to continue to grow your own expertise, but also share your own skills when you can. Collaboration and knowledge-sharing are a fundamental part of the profession.

Perforation repair of 16 mm film [Photo: Yasmin Dessem]
Perforation repair of 16 mm film [Photo: Yasmin Dessem]
ECPN: Please share any last thoughts or reflections.

YD: One thing to be aware of, if you’re a woman in the field of audiovisual preservation, is that you may occasionally run into people who are surprised to see a woman working with technology (much less wielding a screwdriver!). This response persists to some degree despite the presence of many successful female professionals in the field. What’s encouraging, however, is seeing the growth of groups like the Women in Recorded Sound collective at ARSC providing support.

Audiovisual preservation is such a gratifying profession. Having the opportunity to make historic content available is incredibly meaningful work that I feel lucky to be a part of everyday. On an even more basic level, figuring out a new workflow or getting a piece of equipment to finally work is just so viscerally satisfying. I’m part of an amazing team whose passion, humor and willingness to try out new things inspires me every day and makes me feel so lucky to be doing this work.

Job Postings: Digest 10/24/2016

JOB – ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER CURATOR, Western Australian Museum (Perth, Australia)

The New Museum for Western Australia was developed with a People First approach, and it aims to be at the heart of our State and to reflect the spirit of its people. Visit for further information.
We are seeking a committed team player who is passionate about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander content. You will have good knowledge of how to create outstanding and meaningful visitor experiences and be committed to working with Western Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to achieve this.
Conditions: This is a full time, fixed term vacancy until 30 June 2020. There will also be a Pool running for a period of 18 months from the initial appointment. Applicants deemed suitable will be placed into a pool from which full-time, part-time, fixed term appointments may be made. A current C class Drivers License or equivalent will be required for this position.
You must also have a relevant tertiary qualification to be considered for this position. All overseas qualifications must have been assessed for Australian equivalency.
Special Requirements: The Department recognizes Aboriginality as a genuine qualification for this position under 50D of the Equal Opportunity Act 1984. To apply you must be of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) descent, identify as ATSI and be recognized as such by the ATSI community.
Location: This position is based in Perth however employees may be required to travel to and work from any of the Museum’s sites on a short-term basis as well as undertake travel to regional and remote communities.
For further job related information, contact Bill Seager, by email or by telephone +61 (08) 6552 7766 (note: he is not to be contacted for an Applicant Information Package).
How to Apply: visit You will need to key in the Position Number (Pool Ref 13228 into the ‘Web Search No. Position Number or Keywords’ box on the website to access the advertisement.
To see this announcement, go to:

JOB – CRAWFORD COLLECTIONS MANAGER, Western Reserve Historical Society (Macedonia, OH, USA)

  • Deadline to apply is November 11, 2016.

Responsible to the Frederick C. and Kathleen S. Crawford Curator of Transportation History for the long-term care, maintenance, and preservation of collections vehicles and objects. Primary location of work will be at WRHS offsite storage facility in Macedonia, Ohio with one (1) to two (2) days of work per week at the Cleveland History Center.
This position is classified as full time professional and non-exempt from overtime compensation.
Works closely with WRHS curatorial, registrar, education, and exhibit team.
• Aid in the implementation of the overall care, maintenance, and preservation of collection vehicles and objects.
• Perform maintenance and preservation treatments as assigned.
• Maintain accurate documentation of any preservation or restoration work undertaken on collection vehicles and objects.
• Utilize museum database software for data entry, object cataloging, and collections tracking purposes.
• Assist in the supervision of the volunteer staff working on the care, maintenance, and preservation of collection vehicles and objects.
• Report on the progress of any preservation or restoration projects undertaken.
• Maintain contact with, and assist in managing, outside contractors hired to do any preservation or restoration work on collection vehicles or objects.
• Assist with the evaluation of vehicles considered for acquisition.
• Assist in the transport and installation of collection vehicles, onsite, offsite, and in transit.
• Maintain preservation shop appearance and function, including tracking equipment, parts, and supply needs.
• Participate in educational and public programming involving or pertaining to the Crawford Collection.
• Manage special projects and tasks as assigned.
• Undertake other specific duties as assigned.
• Bachelor’s Degree in Automotive Technology field, Museums Studies, History, or related field of study preferred.
• Must have museum (or equivalent) experience in handling historic vehicles and objects appropriately, and be able to work as part of a professional team.
• Knowledge of museum methods, technologies, standards, practices, procedures, and ethics, and a desire to adhere to current museum policies and best practices.
• Organizational skills and attention to detail, ability to communicate ideas effectively, ability to prioritize work and meet deadlines, ability to work independently and in a team, and the ability to manage several projects simultaneously.
• Minimum five years of experience in hands on maintenance and care of vehicles from 1890 to present.
• Minimum three years of experience supervising staff and volunteers in a shop environment.
• Must be able to lift 75lbs, work at heights, and able to work in environments where paint, solvents, cleaners, dust, molds, and other materials generally associated with a shop are present.
• Excellent oral, written, and computer skills (Excel, Outlook, Word, etc.).
Please submit a cover letter and resume to Janet Waterman, HR Associate via email at or mail them to:
Western Reserve Historical Society
Attn: Human Resources, 10825 East
Blvd, Cleveland, OH 44106 USA

JOB – COLLECTIONS MANAGER, Wake Forest University (Winston-Salem, NC, USA)

  • Position Closing Date: December 1, 2016 at 4:00 p.m. EST
  • Tracking Code 2402-141
  • A cover letter is required with application
  • Position Type: Full-Time/Regular
  • Employment Type: Full-Time Exempt Staff
  • Benefits Eligibility: Available at full-time University sponsored rates
  • Grant funded: No
  • Scheduled Hours: 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
  • Number of months per year: 12
  • Department: Museum of Anthropology
  • Hiring Range: $47,500.00 – Commensurate with education and experience.
  • A cover letter is required with application

The Collections Manager implements and directs collections management activities for the Museum of Anthropology. The Museum of Anthropology holds more than 30,000 ethnographic and archaeological objects from the around the world. These objects are used in exhibits at the Museum of Anthropology, in teaching demonstrations in Wake Forest University classrooms, and in research projects of students, faculty, and visiting scholars. The Collections Manager handles, stores, houses, organizes, inventories, and photographs objects in the collections.
Essential Functions
• Implements the Museum of Anthropology Collections Plan by ensuring the collections are held and used in compliance with the research, storage, conservation, accession, deaccession, and loan policies.
• Maintains storage conditions for the Museum of Anthropology collections through preventative conservation methods, and suggests improvements to storage conditions. Houses, organizes, inventories, moves, tracks, and photographs the collections as appropriate.
• Identifies and implements preventative conservation measures for objects in the collections, coordinates access to the collections, processes accessioning and deaccessioning, and oversees the maintenance of collections facilities.
• Partners with the Academic Director to identify objects for exhibits, educational programs, and loans, and ensures their proper care while in use.
• Supervises Wake Forest University student projects and provides support to visiting researchers when appropriate.
• Monitors movement of collections at all stages of storage and use. Maintains Museum of Anthropology database and ensures it is up-to-date. Consults with the Academic Director regarding the database and the accuracy of its information. Identifies and solves cataloging errors in order to improve the veracity of collections records and the database.
• Responds to requests and inquiries about collections use from Wake Forest University student and faculty researchers, as well as other academic institutions, interest groups, heritage/descendant communities, and the public.
• Plans, coordinates, and supervises scholarly and public use of the collections, including for research, tours, and special events.
• Attends special events, which may occur offsite and during non-regular work hours.
• Acts as courier for loan objects when required.
• Consults with the Academic Director regarding deaccessioning objects outside the scope of the Collections Plan and accession policy.
• Suggests improvements to the Collections Plan and consults with the Academic Director to update Museum of Anthropology policies that impact the collections.
Required Education, Knowledge, Skills, Abilities
• Master’s Degree in Anthropology, plus three or more years’ experience handling and caring for museum collections.
• In-depth knowledge of collections management practices and procedures, including the legal and ethical requirements of museum collections.
• Demonstrated skill in organization, attention to detail, effective communication, and ability to work in diverse cultural settings.
• Demonstrated computer proficiency with museum collections databases (including Re:Discovery and PastPerfect) and Microsoft Office Suite (including Word and Excel).
• Ability to work some evening and/or weekend hours as required.
• Ability to meet the requirements of the University’s automobile insurance.
• Travel may be required to support out of area events.
• Ability to bend, kneel, and lift up to 50 pounds frequently.
Preferred Education, Knowledge, Skills, Abilities
• Degree or certification in Museum Studies.
• Museum collections conservation experience.
• Experience with artifact photography and object mount construction.
• Experience with NAGPRA.
• Demonstrated success in grant writing.
• Responsible for own work.
• Supervises volunteers, interns, and student employees working on collections-related projects as required.
Note: This position profile identifies the key responsibilities and expectations for performance. It cannot encompass all specific job tasks that an employee may be required to perform. Employees are required to follow any other job-related instructions and perform job-related duties as may be reasonably assigned by his/her supervisor.
In order to provide a safe and productive learning and living community, Wake Forest University conducts background investigations and drug screens for all final staff candidates being considered for employment. Wake Forest seeks to recruit and retain a diverse workforce, and encourages qualified candidates across all group demographics to apply.
For more information and to apply, go to:


  • This position remains open until filled

Position Purpose
The Archaeological Collections and Lab Manager will experience the inner workings of an archaeological laboratory by performing various collections-based duties and working on a variety of projects that require different skills. Under the general direction of University Operations and direct supervision by the Director of Cultural Resources Management, the Archaeological Collections and Lab Manager will be responsible for all aspects of management and stewardship of the permanent collections. Essential responsibilities include managing activities related to the permanent collection, exhibition coordination; registration of objects, cataloging, and inventory control; packing, crating and shipping of collections; management of outgoing loans; evaluation of collection conservation needs and implementation of long-range collections care plan; maintaining storage facilities and serving on collections/exhibitions project teams.
The successful applicant will also be responsible for cataloguing backlogged collections and will be directly responsible for managing the physical care and storage environment of the archaeological collections. This colleague must work cooperatively and creatively with staff, students and volunteers at the CRM facility and with university partners and contractors, ensuring that the overall institutional goals are maintained and programs are effectively promoted. This is term position of one year, renewable upon review and needs assessment.
Care of Collections (Primary duty)
• Work closely with the Director of Cultural Resources Management to oversee stewardship of the archaeological collections including policy and procedure creation and enforcement.
• Organize the collections rooms and assign barcodes to each box; maintain associated database and inventory.
• Direct and supervise volunteers and students with the reconstruction and/or cross mending of catalogued objects.
• Direct and supervise volunteers and students with the labeling of artifacts and packaging materials.
• Rehouse old collections that are incorrectly packaged (non-acid free boxes, etc.) into archivally stable materials.
• Monitor environmental condition of objects (desiccants andHOBOsensors).
• Administer Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Program – coordinate with IPMcontractor and pest traps to ensure there are no infestations, if there are, be able to treat the infestation/work with IPM Contractor to treat.
• Coordinate conservation efforts.
Manage object and accession records, both paper and computer.
• Track object locations and condition within the facility, e.g. display areas, using a database.
• Track project collections temporarily housed at CRM facilities for analysis.
• Coordinate and perform inventories of objects on display and storage areas both on and off site.
• Coordinate and implement rotation schedules for objects on display.
Collections Catalog Backlog Reduction (Primary duty)
• Reduce project backlog: catalog archaeological collections from previous projects using an electronic collections database (including digital images). Assign accession and catalogue numbers to collections and individual artifacts.
• Recommend individual artifacts and collections for deaccession in accordance to the written deaccession policy (actual deaccession of items will be approved by theCRM director prior to implementation).
Public Outreach (collaborative programs, loans, exhibits, etc.)
• Assist theCRMdirector with the creation of a strategic plan for exhibitions.
• Manage the volunteer corps and student workers/interns.
• Prepare loan agreements with museums and other SCU departments.
• Manage transfer arrangements for exhibitions, including receiving and releasing all incoming/outgoing exhibition loans.
• Respond to various requests and inquiries from staff and the public about the collections.
• Create appropriate database records for exhibition loans including generating lists as well as incoming and outgoing receipts.
• Manage outgoing loans, both internal to SCU and regional institutions, particularly those temporarily housed offsite to CRM contractors.
Cultural Resources Management (CRM) Support
• Act as field liaison betweenCRMdirector and CRM consultants; providing logistical support as needed.
• Assist CRM contractors with field projects by providing help with artifact identification, particularly during the screening process.
• Coordinate, with CRM field lab, the packaging, recordation and transfer of artifacts during field recovery efforts.
• Other duties as assigned.
Provides Work Direction
• Supervise volunteers and student workers on various laboratory and curation tasks by providing training, work direction, and problem solving assistance.
• Act as liaison and coordinator for field laboratory organization and logistics betweenCRMcontractors and SCU.
To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily. The items below are representative of the knowledge, skills, abilities, education, and experience required or preferred.
This position requires the ability to effectively establish and maintain cooperative working relationships within a diverse multicultural environment.
• Must be proficient working with and maintaining large databases;
• Must be committed to education and excellence; discretion, confidentiality, professionalism, and enthusiasm for collaboration;
• Must demonstrate experience including the ability to exercise sound judgment and decision-making.
• Must demonstrate the ability to be an effective team member who can work in a dynamic and collaborative environment;
• Must be able to work independently;
• Must be detail oriented;
• Exhibit ability to plan, organize, and implement complex filing and research systems;
• Exhibit ability to multi-task and problem solve;
• Exhibit ability to work in a team-oriented environment;
• Exhibit ability to communicate effectively, verbally and in writing; ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships with volunteers, assistants, supervisor, other agencies, and the public.
Physical Demands
The physical demands described below are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, as amended, the California Fair Employment & Housing Act, and all other applicable laws, SCU provides reasonable accommodations for qualified persons with disabilities. A qualified individual is a person who meets skill, experience, education, or other requirements of the position, and who can perform the essential functions of the position with or without reasonable accommodation.
Frequently required to walk, sit, talk, and hear; frequently required to use hands to handle, feel, or operate objects, tools, or controls and to reach with hands and arms; occasionally required to climb or balance, stoop, kneel, or crouch; occasionally lifts and/or moves up to 25 pounds. Specific vision abilities include close vision, distance vision, color vision, peripheral vision, depth perception, and ability to adjust focus. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform essential functions.
• Considerable time will be spent at a desk using a computer terminal.
• May be required to travel to other buildings and/or construction job sites on the campus.
• Will be required to climb stairs on a semi-frequent basis.
• Will be required to lift “bankers style” boxes with an average weight of 10-15 pounds.
• Will be required to reach or bend down to put boxes away or take them off of shelves.
• Will be required to move, load and unload carts.
• Must have physical coordination/skills to handle and move fragile collection objects.
Work Environment
The work environment characteristics described below are representative of those an employee encounters while performing the essential functions of this job.
• Typical office environment.
• Typical laboratory environment.
• Mostly indoor office environment with windows (no A/C).
• Offices with equipment noise.
• Offices with frequent interruptions.
• Construction sites with noise, dirt, moving distractions, uneven ground (minimal).
Tools and equipment used
Collections databases; computer including word processing and other database programs; document/image scanner; digital camera; general office equipment; digital/mechanical scales, carts, stairs.
• Demonstrated experience in archaeological collections management;
• Demonstrated experience in managing, creating, and maintaining large databases;
• Basic knowledge of English colonial artifact types;
• Knowledge of artifact handling procedures for three-dimensional artifacts in a variety of materials, sizes, and weights;
• Knowledge of standard museum collections management practices and procedures.
• Knowledge and experience with museum database systems and standards and proficiency, preferably with collections databases.
• Working knowledge of Access, Excel and Re:Discovery Proficio database software required; must possess an aptitude to learn new computer programs/platforms as needed.
• Experience with digital photography;
• High degree of sophistication in verbal and written communication skills, including the ability to communicate complex concepts about archaeology and cultural practice;
• Experience with the application of Harris Matrix software.
• Preference may be given to candidates with specialized skills beyond the preferred requirements that contribute significantly to program needs.
• Excellent computer and database management skills;
• Working understanding ofHOBOsensors and environmental control databases.
• Experience with cataloging, collections documentation, and determinations of cultural affiliations for archaeological objects.
• Must be able to meet the physical demands of the position on a continual basis with or without reasonable accommodations including climbing ladders, lifting heavy objects, pushing and pulling heavily loaded carts;
• Experience conducting inventory, housing and re-housing collections;
• Applicant must have a working understanding of archaeological methods, stratigraphy, and inventory procedures. Although not required, previous excavation experience is a plus.
• Demonstrated experience identifying artifacts, particularly European and American ceramics, glass and metal, as they pertain to the historical record of California.
Education and/or Experience
• Minimum of three years of consecutive collections management experience in an archaeological curation facility or museum setting required; 5+ years preferred.
Special Instructions to Applicants
This is a fixed-term position ending 12/1/2017 with the possibility of extension or conversion to regular status dependent on funding and/or business need.
About Santa Clara University
Santa Clara University is a comprehensive Jesuit, Catholic university located in California’s Silicon Valley, offering its 8,800 students rigorous undergraduate curricula in arts and sciences, business, and engineering, plus master’s, Ph.D., and law degrees.
Santa Clara University does not sponsor work visas for staff positions. If hired, individuals must independently provide proof of their eligibility to work in the United States.
Santa Clara University is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer, committed to excellence through diversity and inclusion, and, in this spirit, particularly welcomes applications from women, persons of color, and members of historically underrepresented groups. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, religion, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, status as a protected veteran, status as a qualified individual with a disability, or other protected category in accordance with applicable law. The University will provide reasonable accommodations to individuals with a disability.
Santa Clara University annually collects information about campus crimes and other reportable incidents in accordance with the federal Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act. To view the Santa Clara University report, please go to the Campus Safety Services website. To request a paper copy please call Campus Safety at (408) 554-4441. The report includes the type of crime, venue, and number of occurrences.
For more details about this job opportunity, and to apply visit:

JOB – COLLECTIONS CARE, Denver Museum of Nature & Science, (Denver, CO, USA)

  • Close Date: Cover letter and resume by November 20, 2016 at 5:00 p.m. (MST)
  • Job Code No. 702
  • Pay Range: $38,590- $50,168

The Denver Museum of Nature & Science (DMNS) is seeking a Collections Manager to join our amazing institution.  This is an exciting opportunity to play an integral part in the continued success of the Museum, with 450+ full-time and part-time employees and more than 1,800 volunteers.  We are building on our already solid foundation with a strong vision and solid strategy to recreate and redefine how we engage our community that loves, understands, and protects our natural world.
The Denver Museum of Nature & Science is the Rocky Mountain region’s leading resource for informal science education. Located in the heart of Denver City Park, and neighbor to the Denver Zoo, the Museum offers a variety of exhibitions, programs, and activities that help Museum visitors experience the natural wonders of Colorado, Earth, and the universe. More than 300,000 students and teachers are served by Museum each year. The Museum houses nearly 1.5 million artifacts and specimens in its collections from around the world.
Job Description
The Department of Earth Science is an outwardly focused and collegial team that engages in international fieldwork but has strong emphasis on the geology and paleontology of the American West. The current staff has expertise in invertebrate and vertebrate paleontology and paleobotany, and each curator has at least one scholarly project in Colorado. The Department’s collections are sizeable and are growing; their composition and history are described at In addition to one full-time collections manager (this position), the Department has five curators, two fossil preparators who run a preparation laboratory that operates 364 days per year, and nearly 400 volunteers who engage in science, collections, and outreach.
Essential Duties
• Practices professional collections management for department collections, including knowledge and application of laws and regulations pertaining to collections.
• Facilitates the accession, deaccession, documentation, registration, and preparation of collections.
• Organizes and systematically stores specimens for ease of access, and for long-term preservation.
• Facilitates internal and external access and use of collections for purposes of research, education, loan, and exhibit.
• Oversees the work of volunteers (approximately 75), provides trainings as required and mentors/supervises volunteers, students, and interns.
• Provides information and expertise on collections to internal and external audiences.
• Coordinates with Museum departments to support and deliver 5 – 10 (or more) internal and external educational programs per year
• Master’s Degree in Museum Studies, earth sciences or a related field required. Collection management experience can be substituted for education.
• 3 years’ experience handling museum collections required.
• 3 years’ experience with relational databases required.
• Intermediate proficiency in Microsoft Office suite required.
Ideal Candidate will
• Be a great team player.
• Extremely organized, highly motivated, proactive.
• Have supervisory experience.
• Be able to positively connect with a wide range of people.
• Be able to work across diverse communities.
• Desire to learn international, federal, state and local laws and protocols for specimen care, and understand the goals and needs of natural history collections.
Application Instructions
Please submit your cover letter and resume by 5:00 PM MST on November 20, 2016. Resumes will not be accepted after this time.
Applications may only be accepted electronically via the Museum’s website
No phone calls please.
For more information about this announcement and to apply, visit:
The Denver Museum of Nature & Science is an equal opportunity employer. The Museum is dedicated to the goal of building a culturally diverse staff committed to serving the needs of all our visitors and we encourage applications from individuals of all backgrounds.

JOB – DIRECTOR OF COLLECTIONS, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County (Los Angeles, CA, USA)

  • Application deadline is December 15, 2016.  

The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County (NHM) seeks a Director of Collections, an individual with a Ph.D. degree or equivalent experience, and the ability to provide a vision for the development, growth, enhancement, direction, and management of the Museum’s vast and diverse natural and cultural collections.
NHM is the largest natural history museum in the western United States and home to one of the world’s most extensive and valuable collections of natural and cultural history.  These collections are world-class in size, quality, and research importance, and they sustain award-winning research, education, and exhibit programs.  Included in the collections are more than 35 million specimens and objects, some as old as 4.5 billion years.  These collections encompass those at the main Natural History Museum in Exposition Park, the world-famous La Brea Tar Pits and Museum in the mid-Wilshire area of Los Angeles, and the historic William S. Hart Museum in Newhall, as well as collections maintained at several off-site facilities.
Reporting directly to the Vice President of Research & Collections, the Director of Collections will assist and advise the leadership of Research & Collections on policy development and implementation.  He or she will guide collections plans, funding initiatives, strategic growth, digitization efforts, inventories, space allocation, and performance metrics.  The Director of Collections will work closely with (but not directly supervise) the curatorial and collections staff, the registrars, conservators, and database managers to oversee a wide-range of collections activities and programs aimed toward making the Museum’s collections more relevant to research and education while increasing their accessibility and use.  The successful applicant will have excellent communication skills, a talent for collaboration across disciplines, and the ability to engage and excite both our colleagues and public audience through the relevance of our collections.  This position will also be responsible for maintaining and strengthening NHM’s presence in key professional and governmental networks, and for establishing active internal NHM collaborations and cross-departmental initiatives.
The qualified candidate will have a strong background in collections care, management, digitization, and records documentation.  He or she will have experience in generating external funding via competitive grants and/or other external sources to support collections. Experience in conducting collections-based research would be an advantage, as would an interest in creative ways of engaging the public in collection support initiatives (e.g., citizen science collections-based activities).
How to Submit
Application deadline is December 15, 2016.  Applicants should send (1) a cover letter of no more than three pages, (2) curriculum vitae, (3) statement of vision for natural history collections, (4) statement of prior experience with natural history collections, and (5) the full contact information of at least three professional references to Tyler Hayden ( as a single document.
The mission of the Natural History Museum is to inspire wonder, discovery, and responsibility for our natural and cultural worlds. The Museum’s vision is to inspire the widest possible audience to enjoy, value, and become stewards of the Earth.
To apply for this position, go to:
The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County is an Equal Opportunity Employer.  Women and minorities are encouraged to apply. Please, no phone calls or fax

JOB – CURATOR – REGISTRAR/COLLECTIONS MANAGER, Disney Parks & Resorts (Lake Buena Vista, FL, USA)

  • Job ID:391986BR

Curator duties include research for exhibit topics and working with an exhibit team to develop and implement exhibitions. One is responsible for procuring artifacts and installing exhibits.
Registrar duties include implementing policies and procedures for loan contracts, facility reports, shipping, insurance for and documentation of artifacts. Oversee database management of owned and borrowed objects.
Collections Manager duties include the care and inspection of artifacts and objects of historical significance in storage, on loan to and owned by the Walt Disney Company for display at the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts.
Exhibit Team Duties
• Must work with a team to develop an exhibit concept. Provide input to WDI design disciplines: show designers, show lighting, show producers, graphics, interior designers, character finishing, props, and architectural and facilities engineering with respect to special requirements of objects on display.
• Researches, identifies, and recommends objects to support specific temporary exhibition requirements
• Maintains the coordination, planning, installation, and maintenance of assigned galleries and exhibits locations on Disney property
• Works with the WDI project team on all aspects of the exhibit planning, design and fabrication. This includes financial management, strategic planning, implementation of development plans, administration and management of gallery facilities including environmental, security, and maintenance
• Anticipates major project milestones and communicates issues to management and project teams
• Works with WDI project management on identifying, coordinating and scheduling outside vendors including packers, shippers, decorators, and conservators to accommodate artifacts special needs
• Makes independent decisions to resolve collections issues at the base level. Independently prioritizes deliverables to meet project needs
• Builds and maintains lender relationships, both internal (TWDC) and external
• Works with Corporate Legal and Risk Management to formulate loan agreements and insurance requirements
Collections Care Duties
• Responsible for the acquisition, conservation, registration, storage, care and preservation, and management of collection assets.
• Responsible for proper object handling and instructing others on proper procedures.
• Register and assign accession and catalog objects according to established registration system. Maintain records of storage, exhibit, and loan location of all objects. Document all object movement.
• Design and prepare exhibit mounts for delicate objects on display and in storage
• Organizes and maintains secure storage locations
• Responsible for collections care, periodic review of exhibit locations and routine maintenance, and disaster planning for assigned exhibit locations on Disney property
• Establishes partnerships with park partners to maintain gallery spaces and level of care for borrowed assets
• Works with WDW disciplines including Security, Alarm Systems, Pest Management, Operations, Decorating, Custodial and Engineering Services to achieve a safe and appropriate environment for the display and storage of objects
• Responsible for monitoring environmental controls, rotating sensitive objects off exhibit as needed, establishing and maintaining anintegrated pest management system, coordinating a housekeeping routine, and ensuring the security of all objects within the building
• Remains on call 24/7 for any emergency that may arise
• Perform spot inventories of the collections annually and facilitate and full inventory of the complete collections every 5 years
Basic Qualifications
• Minimum of 3 years’ experience in the field of Collections Management
• Skilled in object handling
• Knowledge of preventative conservation methods and procedures
• Educated about the organization, arrangement, and nomenclature of objects and artifacts
• Knowledge of a collection management software for cataloging and record keeping
• Strong verbal and written communication skills
• Ability to work in a fast paced environment with multiple responsibilities
• Ongoing education in Collections care and art preservation practices and methodology
• Able to communicate effectively and positively represent WDI to outside entities
• Ability to successfully lead project teams including consultants, staff extensions, vendors etc.
• Ability to resolve conflict and negotiate
• Demonstrated knowledge of cataloging, contracting, displaying, storing, handling and shipping of art and objects on loan or special exhibits
Preferred Qualifications
• 5-10 years’ experience in the field of Collections Management
• Knowledge of Walt Disney World and Disney history
• Must fully understand Walt Disney Imagineering creative process and work within project timeframe
• Knowledge of EMU, Electronic Museum Database – a collection management software for cataloging and record keeping – that is currently being used
Required Education
• Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts, Art History, Museum Studies or equivalent experience
Preferred Education
• Master’s degree preferred but not necessary
• Additional Information
For more information about this announcement and to apply, visit:
Disney is an equal opportunity employer.


  • Job No:492646
  • Full time/Part time:Full-time
  • Exempt/Non-Exempt: Exempt
  • Salary Grade: Administrative – AD 150

The position will help plan and implement the shift of the University’s Museum of Anthropology and Archaeology Collection to the Libraries (transfer, housing, arrangement, description, web exposure), and be the core support for this collection as well as the Libraries’ permanent collections of art and material culture (archives, manuscripts, rare books, art and artifacts): care, safety, documentation, compliance with professional art, archival and museum standards.
The Seton Hall University Museum Collection is an important archive of Native American artifacts and some print items to be rehoused in the Libraries’ Special Collections and expansively exposed to scholars on the web.  The Collections Manager will utilize the Libraries’ relevant databases for art and artifacts (PastPerfect) and Special Collections (Archivists Toolkit/ASpace) as appropriate, as well as arrange loans and monitor environmental conditions for the Museum and other collections.  The Collections Manager will report to the Director of the Gallery, and will very closely coordinate with the Head of Special Collections along with the faculty associated with the Museum Collections.
Duties and Responsibilities
• Plan and implement the shift of the University’s Museum of Anthropology and Archaeology Collection to the Libraries (transfer, housing, arrangement, description, web exposure). Initially, this will be 100% of the job, but will move to the % indicated after 24-36 months.
• Support the Libraries’ permanent collections of art and material culture (archives, manuscripts, rare books, are and artifacts): care, safety, documentation, compliance with professional art, archival and museum standards. Utilize the Libraries’ relevant databases for art and artifacts (PastPerfect) and Special Collections (Archivists Toolkit/ASpace) as appropriate, as well as arrange loans and monitor environmental conditions for the Museum and other collections.
• Coordinate packing, handling, movement, and shipping arrangements for objects, including loaned objects (oversee handling, packing, movement) and inspection of all objects entering or leaving the Libraries for the Museum and other collections as needed, and overseeing the inspection of objects generally, and the execution of incoming/outgoing condition reports and loan forms, general object condition reporting. Participate with the faculty associated with the Museum Collections in the formulation of policy guiding the use and availability of those collections, and enact those policies. Process new acquisitions to the Libraries’ collections, and apply established Collections Management procedures for their safekeeping, storage and movement, solve cataloging problems in order to improve the veracity of data in the collections records and database. Follow established procedures for maintaining records of accession, condition, and location of objects in collection, both permanent and loaned, and for overseeing movement, packing, and shipping of objects to conform to insurance regulations and best practices Monitor storage and exhibition spaces for temperature/humidity, environmental hazards, safety, cleanliness, and ongoing maintenance concerns with an eye to preventative maintenance.
• Additional Duties: Assisting with planning and implementation of exhibition programming and special events; Ability to work alone or in a team situation required with all relevant staff; Scheduling classes and groups usage of the museum classroom; Opening and closing the Gallery in the Director’s absence; Assisting with general administration and other tasks as assigned.
• Essential interface with internal and external constituents (scholars, museums, universities) in representing the Museum Collection and Special Collections.
• Will assist in formulating policy and is the essential interface with internal and external constituents as above.
• Will assist if needed in raising funds and obtaining grants.
• Will develop equipment needs and budget with Gallery Director. Will contract with outside vendors/contractors/consultants for specialized equipment and services.
• Will manage budgets and do purchasing and procurement with Gallery Director for the Museum Collections.
• Will have a strong hand in defining guidelines and how to accomplish goals with the Gallery Director and in close coordination with the Special Collections dept.
Required Qualifications
• Bachelor’s degree – field of study: Archival Science, Museum Studies or related field such as Anthropology or Archaeology.
• Minimum of 2-3 years directly relevant experience in a museum, a special collection, or similar non-profit center required.
• Excellent organizational, interpersonal, and communication skills (both written and verbal) required.
• Demonstrated ability to prioritize tasks and to meet competing deadlines in a fast-paced, deadline-driven environment required.
• Ability to be equally effective when working independently or as a part of a team required.
• Ability to manage multiple complex projects in a fast-paced work environment required. Experience with provenance research and research use of these Museum and other Special Collections objects required.
• Experience with at least one of the databases previously noted (PastPerfect and Archivists Toolkit/ASpace) required.
• Strong computer skills: expert facility with MS Office, including Word, PowerPoint, and Excel and Adobe PhotoShop and Acrobat required.
• Ability to lift, move, and pack items/groups of items of up to 50 pounds.
• Previous experience shipping loans and/or exhibitions domestically and internationally required.
• Excellent communication required – drafting and interpreting policies, working with scholars, etc.
• Excellent attention to detail with ability to do repetitive tasks required.
• Strong commitment to quality control and collaboration required.
• Familiarity with current best practices and metadata standards in the field of collections management (including handling, packing, movement and shipping) required.
Desired Qualifications
• Master’s degree – field of study: Archival Science, Museum Studies or related field such as Anthropology or Archaeology.
• Experience with both databases previously noted (PastPerfect and Archivists Toolkit/ASpace) preferred.
• Good photographic skills preferred.
Physical Demands
• Ability to lift, move, and pack items/groups of items of up to 50 pounds.
For more information about this announcement and to apply, visit:

JOB – CURATORIAL ASSISTANT, Harvard University (Cambridge, MA, USA)
Schedule: Full-time
Grade: F
The Visual Resources Center (VRC) of Stanford’s Art and Architecture Library is used heavily by members of the art history faculty, as well as graduate and undergraduate students preparing for coursework and lectures. The VRC provides a vital source of teaching materials and the infrastructure necessary for the department to continue its teaching mission. Reporting to the VRC Curator, and operating as member of the Art & Architecture Library under the supervision of the Head Librarian, the Curatorial Assistant is an important source of reference and research services for faculty, students and visitors, and performs all services related to the VRC including: cataloging, copystand photography, scanning, maintenance, and training.  The Curatorial Assistant performs a wide range of complex and/or interrelated duties involving a high level of decision making within one or more functional areas of a library.  Applies knowledge of overall system and works mostly independently with a high degree of initiative.  May supervise employees and manage a unit by overseeing daily operations and updating and maintaining facilities and equipment.
Organization and Classification of Materials (35%)
• Original cataloging and classification of art and architectural images using the VRC’s content management system software, EmbARK Cataloger, while adhering to our local cataloging standards and guides such as VRA Core, CCO, Library of Congress, and Getty Institute authority files (AAT, ULAN, TGN). Developing and maintaining authority files for use by VRC workers in EmbARK Cataloger (10%).
• Creating web-based image study sets for instructors including organization of records, maintenance of portfolios and quality checks of online EmbARK Web Kiosk display and CourseWork/Canvas display (25%).
Administration (30%)
• Managing student staff schedules and reviewing/approving bimonthly timecards in Oracle. Working with the Curator to hire, train, evaluate, and supervise VRC staff in all aspects of daily VRC activities. Participating in setting up procedures and assist with overseeing materials processing work. Using on a daily basis common computer programs such as word processing, spreadsheets, Web browsers, and email. In Curator’s absence, managing daily operations. (10%).
• Working with Curator to determine VRC budget by monitoring student worker hours/pay and updating internal budget documents bimonthly. In Curator’s absence, verify Departmental Purchasing card transactions and order/maintain work supplies for unit. Participate in the development, implementation and interpretation of policies concerning the organization, circulation and care of the collection (15%).
• Instructing users in the use of the library catalog, databases, the VRC’s ImageBase, ARTstor, and other information resources. Answering directional and informational questions and assisting others with ready and basic reference questions. Applying public service skills to resolve problems and promote patron satisfaction. Interacting with management and colleagues within and outside the functional area as needed. Performing general VRC administrative tasks and special projects as assigned, including answering in-depth reference questions, technical & image support, helping with equipment/software upgrades & swaps, assisting with 4D Server & EmbARK database upgrades, assisting with data migration projects, and leading orientation tours (5%).
Collection Development (35%)
• Creating images on demand for courses via digital copy stand photography and/or slide scanning. Contributing to image post-processing work using Adobe Photoshop. Performing quality control checks for student post-processing work. Contributing to all other aspects of image production, post-processing, archiving, and image delivery. Participating with planning and supervising work associated with collection shifts and transfer of materials. Coordinate and perform a wide range of activities throughout a variety of digitization workflows for library materials. Maintain or assist in the development of organized research tools (30%).
• Maintaining the collection by performing quality control checks, modifying metadata as needed, and working with faculty to facilitate ease of use (5%).
Minimum Education and Experience Required
Bachelor’s degree plus three or more years of experience in an academic library, or equivalent combination of education and relevant experience.
Minimum Knowledge, Skills and Abilities Required
• Experience with direct interaction with patrons.
• Demonstrated interpersonal and organizational skills.
• Ability to work independently in a standards-based environment that requires high quality in production and output may be required.
• A Bachelor’s degree in Art History or equivalent experience in a visual resources field may be required.
• Familiarity with terms, periods, and styles of art and architectural history may be required.
• Able to apply judgment in choosing procedures and evaluating alternatives.
• Demonstrated ability to perform detailed tasks accurately and efficiently.
• Demonstrated ability to be flexible and work well under pressure.
• Record of excellent attendance.
• Experience using or ability to learn one or more library automated systems.
• Knowledge of or ability to learn Library of Congress call number systems.
• Proven track record with handling complex procedures from beginning to end.
• Experience in library acquisitions or copy cataloging.
• Familiarity with concepts of cataloging, name authority, and controlled vocabularies may be required.
• Experience in searching online catalogs/databases.
• Experience working in an academic or large public library system.
• Demonstrated supervisory experience in complex environments.
• Proven experience in day-to-day oversight of a highly variable workplace.
• Exhibit strong analytical skills.
• Proven ability to apply sound judgment and seek constructive solutions to problems.
• Skilled in dealing with financial systems and managing budgets for materials and personnel.
• Background in managing projects with help from individuals and as part of a team.
• Ability to take initiative, plan and prioritize work, and meet deadlines.
• High degree of comfort in the use of computers in a networked environment for word processing, spreadsheets, database management, financial systems, and communication.
• Familiarity with image databases, scanning, and image manipulation software may be required.
• Demonstrated ability to learn and synthesize new information quickly.
• Ability to communicate effectively in oral and written English.
• Working knowledge of cataloging tools such as VRA Core, CCO, AACR2r, Library of Congress and Getty Institute Authority files (AAT, ULAN, TGN) may be preferred.
• Reading knowledge of one of more of the following languages may be preferred: French, German, Italian, Spanish, Chinese, or Japanese
• Experience with copy stand photographic techniques may be preferred.
Physical Requirements
• Ability to push a cart weighing up to 650 lbs. that requires an initial push force up to 70 lbs
• Ability to work in an environment that is dusty and or moldy
• Ability to lift books that are up to 10 pounds
• Ability to kneel and reach
• Must be able to stand for many hours
Work Standards
• Interpersonal Skills: Demonstrates the ability to work well with Stanford colleagues and clients and with external organizations.
• Promote Culture of Safety: Demonstrates commitment to personal responsibility and value for safety; communicates safety concerns; uses and promotes safe behaviors based on training and lessons learned.
• Subject to and expected to comply with all applicable University policies and procedures, including but not limited to the personnel policies and other policies found in the University’s Administrative Guide,
For more information and to apply, visit:

Archaeological Institute of America 2013-2014 Conservation Workshop Summaries and Proceedings Now Available Online

We are very pleased to announce that summaries of two interdisciplinary workshops on the integration of conservation and archaeology are now available on the website of the Archaeological Institute of America at
The publications include full transcripts of the panel presentations and panel discussions, as well as summaries of the key points of both workshops. The workshops were organized by conservators Claudia Chemello, Thomas Roby, Steve Koob and Alice Boccia Paterakis, and were presented in 2013 and 2014 at the AIA’s annual meeting.
The 2013 workshop Integrating Conservation and Archaeology: Exploration of Best Practices brought together conservators and archaeologists for a dialogue about the integration of conservation and field archaeology. Panelists shared their experiences on what constitutes responsible conservation, preservation, and stewardship of archaeological resources. The panel discussed move­able and immoveable cultural heritage, including terrestrial and maritime archaeological sites.
Panelists were C. Brian Rose, University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Giorgio Buccellati, Cotsen Institute of Archaeology, University of Los Angeles, Matthew Adams, Institute of Fine Arts, New York Uni­versity, Robert Neyland, Underwater Archaeology Branch, U.S. Navy, Alice Boccia Paterakis, Japanese Institute of Anatolian Archaeology, Kaman-Kalehöyük, Kırşehir, Turkey, Paul Mardikian, H.L. Hunley Project, Clemson University, and Thomas Roby, Getty Conservation Institute.
The 2014 workshop Interdisciplinary Studies: Archaeology and Conservation comprised archaeologists and conservators heavily involved in educational efforts in their respective disciplines and discussed the subject of the cross-education of both fields and the need for interdisciplinary studies.
Panelists were C. Brian Rose, University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology University of Pennsylvania, Frank Matero, University of Pennsylvania, John Papadopoulos, Cotsen Institute of Archaeology, University of California Los Angeles, Ioanna Kakoulli, UCLA/Getty Program on the Conservation of Archaeological and Ethnographic Materials & Materials Science and Engineering Department, Kent Severson, Shangri La Center for Islamic Arts and Cultures, Christopher Ratté, University of Michigan, John Merkel, University College London, and Elizabeth Pye, University College London.
We gratefully acknowledge our workshop sponsors: the AIA Conservation and Site Preservation Committee, the Getty Conservation Institute, and the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (2013). The GCI also provided support for panelist travel and the production of the transcripts of the workshop proceedings
Posted on behalf of Claudia Chemello, Thomas Roby, Steve Koob, and Alice Paterakis
This post is promoted by the AIC’s Archaeological Discussion Group (ADG).  For more information about ADG, please visit ADG’s webpage.” ( )

Treating Archaeological Copper Alloys on Site: A Survey on Current Practice

By Anna Serotta, Eve Mayberger, and Jessica Walthew

Selinunte, Sicily, 2015

New York University has been excavating at the site of Selinunte in southwestern Sicily for almost a decade (NYU Selinunte excavation website). During the 2015 field season, the conservation team conducted an informal survey on the treatment of metal objects in the field (Wiki page: Copper Alloy Treatment Survey (CATS) 2015). The survey was conducted because the Selinunte conservators were not satisfied by the results of their current treatment protocols for newly-excavated archaeological metals. Although all three conservators had worked at other archaeological sites, they all received the same graduate training and had similar approaches to field conservation treatment protocols.
The survey was broken into categories regarding several commonly used treatment methods:  cleaning, desalination, corrosion inhibitors, and coating, as well as issues of storage and re-treatment. Questions were distributed to a group of  archaeological field conservators known to the Selinunte conservation team via email. The following is a summary of the initial survey results.

  1. Scope of survey
  • There were 24 full responses from colleagues and input on individual questions from a handful of others.
  • Collectively, respondents have worked on approximately 50 different sites. The majority of these sites are in the Mediterranean, North Africa, or the Middle East (Greece, Cyprus, Italy, Turkey, Jordan, Israel, Egypt, Sudan, and Syria), but respondents have also worked in Pakistan, Mongolia, Peru, Panama, Chile, and on various sites in the Continental US. Almost all of these sites are terrestrial, although several respondents have worked on metals from underwater/shipwreck sites as well.
  • The condition of metals on all of these sites is of course extremely variable, but all respondents reported unstable copper alloys and bronze disease outbreaks on at least one of the sites on which they worked.
  1. Cleaning
  • Most respondents use predominantly (or exclusively) mechanical cleaning methods for corrosion reduction.
  • Respondents generally avoid wet cleaning, except for the use of ethanol and/or a mixture of ethanol and water in combination with mechanical cleaning.
  • Most respondents avoid any sort of chemical cleaning, although some mention doing so in the past.
  • A minority of respondents did report using one or more of the following chemical treatment methods (predominantly for coins): Rochelle salts, alkaline glycerol salts, EDTA, formic acid, ion-exchange resins, Calgon, electrochemical and/or electrolytic methods; these methods are generally followed up with rinsing and mechanical cleaning.
  1. Desalination
  • Most respondents do not soak their metals to remove soluble salts. This seems to have been a more common practice in previous years; several respondents mentioned discontinuing previously established soaking procedures on their sites.
  • Some respondents said that they only soak metals after chemical treatments to remove residues.
  • Several respondents questioned the efficacy of soaking to remove chlorides and mitigate bronze disease; since corrosion products like nantokite are not water-soluble, it is unknown what is actually being removed with soaking. In addition, there was some concern that soaking could actually have adverse effects on condition by exposing the metal to moisture and promoting chloride corrosion growth. The time-consuming nature of this treatment was also mentioned as a factor against its use. It can also be challenging to obtain enough deionized water for desalination.
  1.  Corrosion Inhibitors
  • Most respondents reported occasionally or regularly using benzotriazole (BTA) as a corrosion inhibitor.
  • Summary of BTA application protocols reported:
    • BTA is generally applied by immersion (whenever feasible)
    • Roughly half of the respondents who treated with BTA immersed in a vacuum desiccator. Availability of equipment and stability of the artifact were considered in deciding whether to immerse in a vacuum.
    • Those respondents who reported the specific concentration all used 3% in ethanol; one responder mentioned the use of a brush application of 10% BTA for particularly concerning chloride-driven corrosion
    • Immersion time varied considerably. Reported immersion times ranged from 15 minutes to several days.
      • Overnight, 12-24 hours, or 24 hours were the most commonly reported immersion times
      • Several respondents mentioned research supporting the optimal effectiveness of immersion for one hour
  • Several respondents have tried using 0.1M BTA + 0.01M AMT, as reported by Golfomitsou (ref 1); those who tried it generally did not notice much of a difference between this treatment and treatment with BTA alone
  • Additionally, a couple of respondents mentioned testing other corrosion inhibitors: e.g. cysteine, or carboxylic acid-based treatments (ref 2)
  • Several respondents only use corrosion inhibitors only when an object cannot be placed in a desiccated environment; otherwise, only preventive methods are used.
  • There were concerns raised regarding both the efficacy and the safety of BTA. (i.e. safety both during application and also safety concerns for people handling the artifacts). On one occasion concern was expressed about BTA interfering with future analysis.
  • The importance of rinsing in ethanol after treatment to remove excess BTA was mentioned. One respondent reported the development of a BTA-copper chloride complex within 24 hours.
  1.  Coating
  • Many respondents reported occasionally or regularly coating their copper alloy objects.
  • Paraloid B-48N was the most common material used, but many people also reported using Paraloid B-72, Paraloid B-44, and Incralac; there was one report of the use of cellulose nitrate.
  • When mentioned, factors influencing the choice of coating material included: availability, Tg, and whether or not solvent toxicity was a problem (pertaining to Incralac).
  • Many respondents did not indicate the method used for coated, but those who did generally reported coating by immersion; a couple of respondents reported two applications of the coating material.
  • Several respondents do not coat their metals and expressed some concern about the creation of microclimates under the coating film that would encourage further corrosion. A couple of respondents coat only in specific circumstances: when metals will be displayed or when consolidation is required.
  1. Storage
  • Over half of the respondents store metals in silica gel at some or all of the sites on which they work.
  • Several respondents used the RP system and Escal bags (ref 3) for long-term storage.
  • Most of the respondents who use silica gel recondition it annually. One respondent reported reconditioning based on indicator color change. A few respondents who use silica gel report having no annual access to metals after treatment.
  • A couple of the respondents who do not use silica gel or other desiccated storage reported environmental conditions that were dry enough not to warrant micro-climates.
  • Some respondents expressed apprehension about using silica gel when yearly access for reconditioning was not guaranteed; these respondents are concerned that housing with unconditioned silica gel will cause greater problems than housing without silica gel. One respondent suggested that reconditioning yearly may not even be enough.
  1. Re-Treatment
  • Over half of respondents were able to survey their metals to check stability. Some reported doing this regularly every year or every other year. Some respondents reported having too many metals for annual survey, so partial surveys were done, or more random checks, depending on time constraints and when metals are accessed by researchers.
  • Some respondents reported using silver oxide for treating bronze disease outbreaks; others reported using the same methods used for initial treatment. Several respondents questioned the efficacy of silver oxide and expressed concern about its implications for future analysis.

Our thanks to the respondents, who provided thoughtful responses to the proposed questions.  The 2015 Selinunte conservation team hopes to create and conduct a more detailed set of questions examining metal treatment protocols and distribute the survey to a wider audience (especially to conservators who completed their training outside the USA) in the near future. While we hope to expand the limited scope of this survey, it has nonetheless brought up some interesting points. There is no standard protocol for the treatment of archaeological copper alloys, and while the conservation literature is vast, there are still many unresolved questions.
Of course, there won’t be a one-shoe-fits-all treatment for archaeological bronzes, as the condition of the artifact, available resources (material resources, personnel resources, time constraints, etc), storage conditions, access, site policies, and local politics are all factors that influence treatment decisions. However, the survey revealed disagreement from practicing conservators on some of the principles integral to the general methodology: is soaking useful or harmful? Is treatment with corrosion inhibitors or coatings effective?
While there have been other recent projects compiling data on the treatment of copper alloy objects, more formalized follow-up research seems like a necessary next step. We welcome your thoughts on effective ways to move forward with this conversation and look forward to organizing a workshop session or discussion at upcoming professional meetings.

  1. Golfomitsou, Stavroula  and John Merkel. “Understanding the efficiency of combined inhibitors for the treatment of corroded copper artefacts.” METAL 07 Proceedings of the Interim Meeting of the ICOM-CC Metal Working Group (5): 38-43.
  2. Gravgaard, M. and J. van Lanschot. 2012. “Cysteine as a non-toxic corrosion inhibitor for copper alloys in conservation.” Journal of the American Institute for Conservation 35 (1): 14-24.
  3. Mathias, C., K. Ramsdale, and D. Nixon. 2004. “Saving archaeological iron using the Revolutionary Preservation System.” Proceedings of Metal 2004, National Museum of Australia Canberra ACT, October, 4-8 2004: 28-42.

“This post is promoted by the AIC’s Archaeological Discussion Group (ADG).  For more information about ADG, please visit ADG’s webpage.” ( )
Author Bios:
Anna Serotta is a Project Objects Conservator at the Brooklyn Museum. She received her Master’s Degree in Art History and an Advanced Certificate in Art Conservation at the Institute of Fine Arts, NYU, where she majored in objects conservation with a focus on archaeological materials. Prior to her work at the Brooklyn Museum, Anna held positions at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the American Museum of Natural History, and she has worked as an archaeological field conservator on sites in Egypt, Turkey, Greece and Italy. Anna is a Fellow of the American Academy in Rome, a Professional Associate of the American Institute for Conservation, and also a lecturer for the Institute of Fine Arts Conservation Center.
Jessica Walthew is currently a Mellon Research Fellow at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in the Arts of Africa, Oceania and the Americas. She is a graduate of The Conservation Center, Institute of Fine Arts, NYU, specializing in archaeological and ethnographic conservation and has worked at Sardis, Turkey (Harvard-Cornell Expedition) and Selinunte (Institute of Fine Arts Excavations).

AIA and SCS 2016 Annual Conference – A Conservator's Perspective

View of the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, January 2016

The Archaeological Institute of America (AIA) and the Society for Classical Studies (SCS) recently held its annual conference on January 6-9, 2016 in San Francisco (conference program). This was my first time attending an AIA annual meeting. Although the conference was obviously geared towards archaeologists, I did find many of the sessions useful for conservators. The talks and workshops were generally organized by geographic location, time period, or specialized topics. Additional activities were organized by specific graduate programs or archaeological projects.
The conference began with the AIA public lecture given by Professor Lord Colin Renfew and the opening reception. The talk touched on some of the troubling world events that are currently affecting cultural heritage sites and some of his work on the island of Keros. The presentation was very well attended (standing room only of those who did not show up early). The opening reception immediately following the public lecture was a time when people could informally gather and discuss their work.
The AIA meeting had many different sessions running simultaneously and I had to strategically choose the talks I wanted to attend. I tried to go to all the presentations about archaeology sites that I had done fieldwork. I was interested to see how the material was presented to a specialized audience of archaeologists and to support my colleagues. I also attended several technical sessions such as archaeological photogrammetry and archaeometric approaches to the Bronze Age.
One of the themes that was touched on in many of the talks was addressing the current threat to cultural heritage in zones of conflict. There was a specialized workshop on the topic that brought leading experts to discuss not only the extent of destruction but the role of the international cultural heritage community. While overall these were sobering discussions, there were a few ideas that have the potential to be actualized and could possibly make a noticeable difference. Many organizations are working to document the damage using local reports and remote sensing in the hopes that the data could be of legal use for future war crime prosecutions. There was also the suggestion that resources should be allocated to reflect the racketeering cycle to have the maximum affect.
On Saturday morning, there was a special workshop entitled Innovation at the Junction of Conservation and Archaeology: Collaborative Technical Research moderated by Anna Serotta and Vanessa Muros. Below are the four talks presented during the session.

  • “Looking Closely: Microscopy in the Field” –  Colleen O’Shea and Jacob Bongers
  • “Archaeologist-Conservator Collaboration through Imaging: Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI) on the Sardis Expedition, Turkey 2015” – Emily Frank, Harral DeBauche, and Nicholas Cahill
  • “Same Data, Targeted Uses: Site Photogrammetry for Archaeologists and Conservators” – Eve Mayberger, Jessica Walthew, Alison Hight, David Scahill, and Anna Serotta
  • “Drilling, Zapping, and Mapping for more than a Decade: Collaborative Project to Source Classical Marble in the Carlos Museum” – Renée Stein and Robert Tykot

I was honored to co-present the collaborative work undertaken at Selinunte during the 2015 excavation season. Following the talks, there was a general discussion regarding the role of conservation in fieldwork and the specialized knowledge that conservators can contribute to archaeological research questions. I hope that the AIA will continue to allow a space for conservation to engage with the larger archaeological community within the context of their annual meeting.

43rd Annual Meeting – Textiles Specialty Group, May 14th, “Lights, Camera, Archaeology: Documenting Archaeological Textile Impressions with Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI)” by Emily Frank

Documenting textile impressions or pseudomorphs on archaeological objects is very challenging. In my own experience, I’ve found trying to photograph textile pseudomorphs, especially when they are poorly preserved, very difficult and involves taking multiple shots with varying light angles, which still often results in poor quality images. This is why Emily Frank‘s paper was of particular interest to me because it provided an alternative to digital photography that would be feasible and more effective in documenting textile impressions: Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI).
RTI is a computational documentation method that allows for multiple images of an object to be merged into one and viewed interactively to allow the direction of light to be changed so that surface features are enhanced. The process involves changing the direction of the light when each photo is taken. Using open source software, a single image is rendered using various algorithms that allows the viewer to move a dial and change the direction/angle of light the image can be viewed at. Additional components in the software allow for the images to be viewed using different filters or light effects that make visualization of surface features easier. RTI is gaining in popularity as a documentation tool in conservation due to its low cost and feasibility and several papers presented at this year’s conference touched on the use of this technique (including this paper I also blogged about).
There are two general light sources used for RTI. One uses a dome outfitted with many LED lights that will turn off and on as photographs are taken. An RTI light dome is pictured on Cultural Heritage Imaging’s website that was used at the Worcester Art Museum (CHI is a non-profit organization that provides training and tools for this technique). However, most conservators use a lower tech method where a light source (a camera flash or lamp for example) is held at a fixed distance from the artifact and manually moved around at different angles when each photo is taken. You can see an example of this method used in the field in this blog post from UCLA/Getty Conservation Program student Heather White.
In her paper, Emily focused on documenting textile or basketry impressions on ceramics and more ephemeral impressions, such as those left in the soil by deteriorated textiles or baskets, using RTI. By using the various tools offered by the RTI software (changing light angle, using diffuse light or changing it so that concave surfaces of impressions look convex), she was able to see fine features not clearly visible with standard digital photography, such as the angle of fibers, striations on the surface of plant material or the weave structure. For impressions of textiles left in soil (these were mock-ups she made in potting soil) she noted that digital photography was not very effective in recording these because there was no contrast and the impressions were so fragile that they could not be lifted or moved for better examination or imaging. However using RTI she was able to clearly see that the textiles were crocheted.
In describing her set up and work flow, Emily took photos of the impressions indoors, as well as outdoors (for the soil impressions). She was able to take good images outdoors, but it was better to do RTI at dusk with lower light. She took a minimum of 12 shots per impression at 3 different angles. For her light source she used a flash. In all, she said it took her about 10 minutes to shoot each impression.
When compared to digital photography, RTI is a useful and feasible technique for the documentation of impressions, and worked well for most of the impressions Emily tried to record. It seems that RTI worked well as the stand alone documentation method for impressions in about 40% of the images she took, but is more effective as an examination and documentation tool in combination with standard digital photography. RTI is on its way to becoming a more standardized documentation method in conservation. It appears to be effective for recording low contrast, low relief surfaces, such as textile impressions, and may be the best method to record ephemeral or extremely fragile surfaces that are not possible to preserve. I’m excited about the potential of RTI for impressions and look forward to trying it out the next time I have to record textile impressions or organic pseudomorphs on an archaeological object.

40th International Symposium on Archaeometry

The 40th International Symposium on Archaeometry (ISA) was held earlier this year in Los Angeles (May 19-23, 2014). The first two days of the conference took place at the Getty Villa, and was then moved to the California NanoSystems Institute (CNSI), UCLA for the remainder of the symposium. There were over 300 scholars and students from all over the world who took part in the conference, with diverse research backgrounds including archaeology, conservation science, art history, materials science and engineering, chemistry, geoscience, and physics.
The symposium covered the following major sessions: “Stone”, “Plaster and Pigments”, “Ceramics, Glazes, Glass and Vitreous Materials”, “Metals and Metallurgical Ceramics”, “Archaeochronometry and New Trends in Luminescence Dating”, “Human Environment and Bioarchaeology”, and “Remote Sensing, Geophysical Prospection and Field Archaeology”. Many important and new research results were presented during the talks followed by Q&A sessions and panel discussions. Over 200 posters were presented at the Getty Villa and UCLA during four poster sessions related to the different session themes.
Two keynote presentations were given during the symposium. Dr. Ian Freestone (Institute of Archaeology, UCL) gave a talk on the use of different archaeometric methods and techniques to identify and determine production events and provenance the organization of production of archaeological materials. During his talk, he presented several interesting case studies on ceramics, glass and metals, which were very informative and instructive. Dr. Terry Brown (Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Manchester) reviewed the history of ancient DNA (aDNA) research in biomolecular archaeology. In addition to successful case studies where aDNA sequencing was applied to ancient human remains, he also discussed the current limitations and challenges of this research, as well as future trends.
For the first time at the symposium, a themed session on “Forensic Science Investigations in Art and Archaeology”, chaired by Dr. Ioanna Kakoulli (UCLA/Getty Conservation Program and Materials Science and Engineering Department at UCLA) was introduced. This special session focused on the challenges and technological difficulties pertaining to forensic science investigations in art and archaeology. Topics covered included the recovery of artifacts, the criminal investigation associated with looted artifacts requiring material characterization, identification and provenance of looted objects, and repatriation of looted antiquities. Agnieszka Helman-Wazny (University of Arizona) talked about the use of fiber analysis to trace manuscripts with unknown origins from the Silk Road. Patrick Boehnke (UCLA) presented preliminary results on the use of strontium isotopic and elemental analysis by secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS) to help the Dept. of Homeland Security provenance looted glass artifacts with unknown origins and heterogeneous compositions. Dr. Ernst Pernicka (Curt-Engelhorn Zentrum Archäometrie and University of Heidelberg) gave a talk on the analysis and authentication of the Sky Disc of Nebra through various scientific methods and approaches. Dr. C. Brian Rose (University of Pennsylvania) reviewed the case of the Troy gold in the Penn Museum for which a repatriation claim was filed by Turkey. Lastly Dr. Timothy Potts (J. Paul Getty Museum) gave a thorough review on the evolution, over recent decades, of U.S. museum practices and policies relating to the acquisition of antiquities, as well as the issues of authenticity and conservation analysis that are involved. Unlike other sessions at ISA, the forensic science session did not have a Q&A at the end of each talk but instead held a panel discussion with all five presenters and the session organizer/moderator. One of the more lively discussions focused on the analysis of archaeological objects from collections with little or no provenance. A debate arose as to the value of analyzing these materials that lacked archaeological context. Issues with the authentication of antiquities without context were also brought up, as well as the role this analysis plays in the looting of artifacts and the illicit antiquities trade.
forensic symp.
Though there was no session specifically focused on topics related to conservation and preservation, there were many papers of interest to those in our field. The North American conservation graduate programs were also well represented. Faculty, conservation students and researchers affiliated with the UCLA/Getty Conservation Program (, Buffalo State College (, WUDPAC, and Queen’s University presented papers and posters, and moderated sessions. The abstracts of all the ISA presentations can be found here:
ISA 2014 introduced attendees to many interesting topics related to the analysis of archaeological objects and archaeological research. The most recent key breakthroughs in archaeological science were presented. Fruitful discussions on current limitations and challenges were conducted, and innovative ideas on future research trends were exchanged. The symposium provided an open and friendly panel for scholars and students from different research backgrounds and countries to participate and communicate in this interdisciplinary field of study.
The next ISA conference will take place in the spring of 2016 in Kalamata, Greece offering a beautiful and relaxing place (by the seaside) to learn about the latest archaeometric research. We hope to see you there!
co-written by Yuan Lin (PhD Candidate, Materials Science & Engineering, UCLA) and Vanessa Muros (Conservation Specialist/Lecturer, UCLA/Getty Conservation Program)
This post was developed by the AIC’s Archaeological Discussion Group (ADG). For more information about ADG, please visit ADG’s Facebook page.

From Italy to Antarctica: Archaeological Conservation on the Web

View of Tumulus MM at Gordion, Turkey
It’s summer (at least for a few more weeks) and for many of us, that means travel.  Some conservators take travel one step further and fly around the world to do archaeological conservation at active excavations.  Luckily for us back at home, many of them are blogging about their experiences.  Here’s a roundup of several archaeological conservation blogs.
The Mugello Valley Archaeological Project/Poggio Colla has a long tradition of blog posts, going back to the late 90s – before they were even called “blogs.”  Recent posts from conservator Allison Lewis can be found here.  I love the use of RTI on incised bucchero sherds, as described by Poggio Colla intern and current UCLA grad student Heather White.   Earlier posts from Poggio Colla can be found in the MVAP archives.
Turkey seems to be the center of archaeological conservation blogs – it must be all the strong coffee and tea!  The conservators and interns at Gordion, where I was lucky enough to work one summer, blog about their time working at the ancient Phrygian capital here.  This post really captures the feel of village life in central Anatolia.  A great conservation-related post is this one about the on-going conservation of two Roman altars rescued from a nearby river.
Nearby in Turkey, the conservators at Kaman Kalehoyuk blog about their experiences at the Bronze Age and Iron Age site.  This post makes nice use of a digital microscope in examining and sharing pictures of artifacts.  Rounding out blogs about the Mediterranean world, the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology Dig Diaries are no longer being updated, but the archived posts still make for interesting reading.
The prize for the blog from the most exotic location, although certainly not the warmest, goes to the tough conservators of the Ross Sea Heritage Restoration Project in Antarctica, run by the Antarctica Heritage Trust.  They are doing some amazing work, like the conservation of these newspaper fragments under challenging conditions.
Close to home and happily active again after a temporary closure because of funding, the conservators at U.S.S. Monitor Center are blogging about their work conserving the massive remains of the Civil War ironclad.  This post gives one an appreciation for the complexity of working on such a large object.
That’s it for now.  Stay tuned for a future post about museum blogs focused on archaeological conservation.  If I missed a blog, feel free to let me know in the comments or via MemberFuse.  And I’d love to see more blogs started, especially about archaeological conservation in other parts of the world such as Asia or South America.
This post was developed by the AIC’s Archaeological Discussion Group (ADG).  For more information about ADG, please visit ADG’s Facebook page.

Call for Papers: ASOR 2014

“Conservation and Site Preservation in the Near East”
American Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR) Annual Meeting
San Diego, CA, Westin Hotel, November 19-22, 2014
This session will be co-chaired by Suzanne Davis and LeeAnn Barnes Gordon Please feel free to contact them to discuss possible paper proposals or to request further details regarding the session.
The goal of the session is to create a forum where archaeologists and conservators can share research, exchange ideas, and discuss issues impacting the conservation of Near Eastern artifacts and sites. Contributors’ presentations will examine regional and national trends in conservation as well as site-specific programs. Presenters will also consider how political instability and the need for economic development are impacting the preservation of archaeological heritage in the Near East. Generous discussion time will engage the contributors and the audience, creating a dialogue that will ultimately improve conservation of artifacts and sites in the Near East.
This session will be the third of four in a series on conservation at the ASOR annual meeting. To read AIC blog posts about previous sessions, follow these links: 2012 in Chicago, IL: and 2013 in Baltimore, MD:  The ASOR annual meeting also features sessions on cultural heritage management, ethics and policy, and museum collections, in addition to sessions focused on archaeology and site preservation in specific geographical regions. The full list of sessions for 2014 can be found here:
Interested speakers should submit a talk title and abstract (max. 250 words) by February 15th via ASOR’s online abstract submission system, a link to which can be found here Membership in ASOR is required for submission.