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.

45th Annual Meeting – Photographic Material Session, May 31st, “Providing Access to “Overprotected” Color Slides” by Diana L. Diaz-Cañas

Photograph conservator Diana Diaz introduced her presentation as a study case which deals with “overwhelming protection” of photographic materials.

The project started in 2006 when the Harry Ransom Center acquired the photographer Arnold Newman’s archives, including various photographic and other materials, such as photographic albums, sketch books, documentation of many projects… and color transparencies.

More precisely, a corpus of 35 mm Kodak Kodachrome color slides in plastic mounts was found. The slides were wrapped together with sealing tapes, forming in 16 sets. The tapes displayed, on the edge of each pack, handwritten inscriptions indicating the dates and subjects of the photographs. The dates inscribed on the tape enabled to date each project, the whole collection ranging from 1954 to 1972. Diana Diaz showed several examples of the images, like one taken for a project shot in Spain in 1970 for Holiday Magazine.

These slides series are of interest as they inform on the photographer’s working methods. For instance, they showed different cropping, compositions, and exposures experimented within each series. One can see how Newman would play with lights and colors and produce variations of the same images, among which he would then make his final selection for the publication. Diaz then listed all the assignments projects covered in the slides, shot in various places (Spain, Canada, California…) for different magazines, such as Harper’s Bazaar or Life.

However, when the slides were found, the images were still inaccessible since after the removal of the tape applied on one edge displaying the inscriptions, another white tape underneath maintained the stacks of slides together. Three types of tape were identified among the 16 sets:

  1. a masking tape;
  2. a discolored white tape;
  3. a white tape still tacky.

The conservation treatment needed then was difficult to engage because the tapes were in contact, not only with the slides mounts, but also with the films themselves – on both the image and support sides.

Therefore, to remove the tape carrier, Diaz logically proceeded by types of tape.

  • The white tape still tacky was removed mechanically with a spatula, without any adhesive residue left at the end of the treatment.
  • The masking tape was strongly adhered and did require a heated spatula combined with the use of solvents.
  • The discolored white tape was removed with the help of water vapor.

After all the carriers were removed, Diaz evaluated the materials and condition of the residual adhesives in order to determine which solvent to use. She referred to Smith et. al.’s paper1, which not only presents the history of pressure sensitive tape and their ageing properties, but also appropriate solvents and suitable methods of application for their removal. Thus, Diaz used naphtha (a mix of hydrocarbons) to successfully remove the rubber-based adhesive, and ethanol for the oily adhesives. The solvents were applied gently with a cotton swab in a circulation motion and in one direction to minimize the scratches and increase the efficiency.

The photographic documentation under Ultra-Violet illumination allowed to assess the removal of all the adhesives. Finally, the slides were individually rehoused in conservation materials.

Although this treatment was successful, several questions are being raised: Are there remaining solvents residues in the photographic materials at the end of the treatment? Has the surface been scratched? Indeed, the topic of the effect of solvents on color transparencies, in particular regarding the innocuousness for the photographic materials, would require further research to help photograph conservator to choose a suitable treatment.


1 Bibliographic reference: Merrily A. Smith, Norvell M. M. Jones, Susan L. Page, & Marian Peck Dirda. “Pressure-Sensitive Tape and Techniques for its Removal From Paper”
JAIC 1984, Volume 23, Number 2, Article 3 (pp. 101 to 113

45th Annual Meeting – Paintings Session, June 1, “A Colonial Portrait and a Mystery,” by Rustin Levinson.

Rusty Levinson’s talk was perfectly fitting as the final Paintings Specialty Group presentation. The talk was informative and had some levity and humor to boot.

The portrait (see an auction photo before treatment at left), treated and researched by ArtCare Miami with technical analysis by Emily MacDonald Korth, has been believed to depict Button Gwinnett, one of the three Georgia signers of the Declaration of Independence. This identification was not certain, and the inscription on the reverse identifying the artist and sitter, was suspect. Moreover, it appeared to be written in two different hands. The inscription is visible through a cut-out window in the lining fabric left by an old restorer. Gwinnett had a short-lived political career before dying in a duel the year after signing the momentous document. Recently, a signature of his came to auction and fetched over $700,000 in its sale, reaching an all-time high price for a signatory of the Declaration of Independence. This event brought this historic figure some current-day notoriety, captured by Stephen Colbert on the Late Show last year, which coincidentally appeared during the treatment and research of the portrait. Colbert and Hamilton creator and star Lin-Manuel Miranda performed “Button!” on the Late Show after an interview with Miranda. The “Button!” rap-style performance in costume is a spoof off Hamilton, and it is hilarious. You can view it at It is definitely worth a watch! I have never experienced such a hearty laugh during an AIC presentation.

 One of the goals in the analysis, research, and treatment of this portrait was to help determine whether the picture likely did in fact depict Mr. Gwinnett. The painting was covered in old varnish and different campaigns of overpaint, making it difficult to compare the likeness with a known, earlier portrait of Gwinnett by British artist Nathaniel Hone (see image at left). The painting in ArtCare’s studio was attributed to Jeremiah Theus, a Swiss-born portrait painter who

worked primarily in and around Charleston, SC. Charleston was known as Charles Town until 1783. This fact creates one of the problems with the inscription, which identifies the city as Charleston, postdating the date of the portrait, which would have been before Theus’ death in 1774. Another issue with the inscription(s) was the presence of modern pigments, identified through analysis, that were part of a red layer on the canvas reverse that lies beneath the inscription(s). Zinc was identified in that layer, thus discrediting the coating as well as the overlying inscription as original to the piece. It is possible that the two inscriptions were written at some point(s) in the past, perhaps early in the life of the painting, but were later reinforced by a restorer.

Scientific analysis was conducted using a variety of techniques including cross-sectional analysis, XRF, PLM or polarized light microscopy, and optical microscopy. The results revealed typical pigments used by mid-18th c. American painters along with modern pigments appearing in overpaint and coatings. Elemental analysis helped identify the pigments vermilion, a lead-based pigment, a chromium-based pigment, and zinc white on the painting, while on the verso, the presence of lead, calcium, and copper were detected, and vermilion and zinc white were identified. Part of the historical research involved looking at archival information about the Theus portrait. One such document was created when Sheldon Keck was asked to examine the portrait in the 1950s. At this time, Keck declared the portrait a “genuine eighteenth century painting.”

Once cleaned the painting was compared with the Hone portrait of Gwinnett and similarities in facial features were noted. Levinson toyed with an online program to attempt to visually age the face in the Hone picture. This rudimentary program, while somewhat amusing, was not revealing. A chance connection with someone from the Georgia Bureau of investigation led to a visual comparison by the Bureau whereby they did a much higher tech, digital rendering of the earlier Hone portrait to artifically age the figure’s face, and they made a comparison with the treated picture. They determined it was plausible that the sitters were the same man.

I wish there had been a bit more discussion on the artist attribution question. Even though the focus was not on the artist, I had hoped for a bit more information on the portrait’s attribution to Jeremiah Theus, particularly since I encounter Jeremiah Theus portraits in my private practice. I would have liked to know more about the connoisseurship used in the attribution, whether/which art historians may have looked at the portrait, and/or whether any of the technical analysis was compared to that of other known Theus portraits. Finally, I also would have enjoyed more discussion of the treatment, as it was somewhat glossed over. A few before and after shots side by side, including details of areas of heavy overpaint before and after with a little more discussion of the overpaint removal, would have been welcome additions to this presentation.

Job Posting: Digest 10/25/2016

JOB – ASSOCIATE CURATOR (LATINO DESIGN), Smithsonian Institution (New York, NY, USA)

  • Applications are due by November 14, 2016
  • Job Announcement No. 17A-LG-302166-DEU-CHSDM
  • Work Schedule is Full Time, Permanent – Federal
  • Salary range: $66,940.00 to $87,021.00 / Per Year

About the Agency
An opportunity to serve as an Associate Curator (Latino Design) for Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, which is the only museum in the country devoted to historic and contemporary design. Candidates must be able to converse in and read Spanish to perform research, writing and other duties associated with the collection and exhibitions.

  • Identifies, locates, and solicits objects for the collection, in addition to researching, interpreting, preparing catalog records, securing image rights, overseeing new photography, and creating web-based content for both new and existing Latino collection objects.
  • Collaborates with the Education Department to initiate and develop ways to interpret, expand audiences and optimize opportunities to disseminate knowledge about American Latino design.
  • Conducts in-depth research and develops a Collections/Acquisitions Plan to guide acquisitions of modern and contemporary American Latino design.
  • Proposes and develops a Latino-focused exhibition and accompanying publication.
  • Engages with the Digital and Emerging Media Team to create Latino-based content.
  • Reaches out to curators, researchers, and educators on Latino initiatives and develops collaborative activities.


  • Pass Pre-employment Background Investigation
  • May need to complete a Probationary Period
  • Maintain a Bank Account for Direct Deposit/Electronic Transfer
  • Males born after 12/31/59 must be registered with Selective Service.

All applicants must meet these Basic Requirements: (You must submit unofficial school transcripts):
1. Degree in museum work; or in art history or museum studies with a specialization in American Latino design.OR
2. Combination of education and experience – courses equivalent to a major, as shown above, plus appropriate experience or additional education.OR
3. Four years of experience that provided knowledge comparable to that normally acquired through the successful completion of the 4-year course of study as shown above.
In addition to the Basic Requirements listed above, you may qualify for this position if you possess the Selective Factor and Specialized Experience below:
All applicants must meet the Selective Factor Requirements: (You application must show written evidence of this requirement)
Selective Factor:Experience conversing in and reading Spanish in order to perform research, writing and other duties associated with the collection and exhibitions.
In addition to meeting the Selective Factor above, applicants must possess one year of specialized experience equivalent to at least the GS-09 level in the Federal Service or comparable pay band system. For this position Specialized experience is defined as exhibition and curatorial experience with a collection of American Latino design, 1900 to the present, to perform collections management, scholarly research, exhibition planning/production, publishing, public engagement, and administration.
Experience refers to paid and unpaid experience, including volunteer work done through National Service programs (e.g., Peace Corps, AmeriCorps) and other organizations (e.g., professional; philanthropic; religious; spiritual; community, student, social). Volunteer work helps build critical competencies, knowledge, and skills and can provide valuable training and experience that translates directly to paid employment. You will receive credit for all qualifying experience, including volunteer experience.
Part-time and/or unpaid experience related to this position will be considered to determine the total number of years and months of experience. Be sure to note the number of paid or unpaid hours worked each week.
Or Education: Three years of progressively higher level graduate education leading to a Ph.D. degree or equivalent doctoral degree in museum work; or in art history or museum studies with a specialization in American Latino design.
Or a Combination: Education and experience may be combined to meet the basic qualifications. For a full explanation of this option please see the Qualification Standards. Special Instructions for Foreign Education: If you are qualifying by education and/or you have education completed in a foreign college/university described above, it is your responsibility to provide transcripts and proof of U.S. accreditation for foreign study. For instructions on where to fax these documents, see the “Required Documents” section of this announcement.
Qualification requirements must be met within 30 days of the job announcement closing date.
Security Clearance: Public Trust – Background Investigation
For additional information and job-specific application information requirements, visit:
JOB – CONSERVATOR TECHNICIAN, National Archives and Records Administration (College Park, MD, USA)

  • Applications are due by November 15, 2016
  • Job Announcement No. JD1794184TBD
  • Work Schedule is Full Time – Permanent
  • Salary range: $43,057.00 to $55,970.00 / Per Year

Summary: this position is within the Conservation Branch, Preservation Programs Division of Research Services in College Park, MD. The duty location could change to the National Archives Building, located in Washington, DC, as required by workload.
Duties: as a Conservator Technician, your duties will include:

  • Perform conservation treatment on archival records such as: dry cleaning, mending, guarding, humidification and flattening.
  • Stabilize records prior to digitization.
  • Perform preventative conservation activities, such as encapsulation and creating custom housing for archival records in loose and bound formats.
  • Assume responsibility for the safety of all records assigned for treatment.
  • Follow established standards and procedures for handling and treatment.
  • Develop efficient and safe work processes for carrying out projects.
  • Examine and test archival records to determine stability of media and solubility of adhesives.
  • Perform laboratory activities such as maintaining stock solutions and supplies, preparing paste and adhesive coated repair papers, and provide general support in lab functions.

Key Job Requirements

  • U.S. Citizenship
  • Background Investigation or Security Clearance
  • More than 1 job may be filled if additional vacancies occur within 90 days
  • Must be physically able to perform the duties of this position
  • Will use moderately hazardous chemicals in a lab setting

Qualifications: GS-07: Candidates must have had one (1) year of specialized experience equivalent to at least the next lower grade level. Specialized experience is experience that has equipped the applicant with the particular competencies to perform successfully the duties of the position as described above, and that is typically in or related to the position to be filled.
Examples of specialized experience for this grade level include: carrying out basic conservation treatments on archival records in a laboratory setting and adhering to instructions to ensure documents are handled and treated in conformance with standard, accepted procedures. Treatments include the following: mending paper in various formats (loose, bound, oversized) using long fiber paper and paste, heat-set or remoistenable tissues; humidification and flattening of rolled and folded documents; mold remediation including separation of blocked or fused sheets; separation of adhesive Attachments containing multiple layers; fabrication of custom housings (boxes, folders, polyester L-sleeves); and making stock lab solutions (paste, methylcellulose, heat-set and remoinstenable tissues). Examining records to recognize the fragility and characteristics of paper and other archival media and binding materials; determining vulnerable parts of records that need protection or stabilization.
Qualifications by Closing Date: You must meet all qualification requirements by the closing date of the announcement. Please note that qualification claims will be subject to verification.
For additional information and job-specific application information requirements, visit:
JOB – BOOK CONSERVATOR, Northeast Document Conservation Center (Andover, MA, USA)
This position will remain open until filled.
Position Summary: The Northeast Document Conservation Center (NEDCC) is seeking an innovative and creative Conservator to join its Book Conservation Lab. Reporting to the Director of Book Conservation, the Conservator will perform conservation of diverse and unique bound materials held by NEDCC’s institutional and private clients, including printed books and pamphlets, bound manuscripts, scrapbooks, atlases, record books and photograph albums. Responsibilities include performing all conservation activities including examination of objects and development of conservation proposals; documentation; treatment of text blocks and bindings; consulting with clients; and assisting with assessments and educational programs. All work is performed according to the Code of Ethics and Guidelines for Practice of the American Institute for the Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works.
Required qualifications: A knowledge of physical, mechanical and chemical nature of books and paper as evidenced by graduate degree in conservation or related field of study; knowledge of book and paper conservation principles and practices; an understanding of preservation principles and their relation to treatment options; ability to work independently and collaboratively; ability to work in a productive environment; meticulous attention to detail; documentation skills; excellent written and oral communication skills; and creativity and enthusiasm.
Preferred qualifications: Demonstrated ability to contribute to the profession through teaching, research and/or publication.
The successful candidate will be joining a team of experienced and productive book conservators, and will benefit from working alongside imaging specialists and conservators in other specialties dedicated to the care of books and collections of significance and value.
About NEDCC: Founded in 1973, the Northeast Document Conservation Center is the first nonprofit conservation center to specialize in the conservation and reformatting of paper-based materials. NEDCC’s mission is to improve the preservation efforts of libraries, archives, historical organization, museums, and other repositories; to provide the highest quality services to institutions that lack in-house conservation and reformatting facilities, or those that seek specialized expertise; and to provide leadership in the preservation, conservation, and imaging fields. Its services include book, paper, and photograph conservation; digital reformatting; audio preservation; assessments and consultations; disaster assistance; and workshops and conferences. NEDCC is located in Andover, MA, twenty-five miles north of Boston. For more information, please visit
Only persons with the legal right to work in the United States are eligible. Salary will be commensurate with experience.
Application Process: To apply, please send resume, letter of intent, and names and contact information for three references in PDF format to: Mary Patrick Bogan, Director of Book Conservation, at
For more information, visit:
NEDCC is an equal opportunity employer.
JOB – MANAGER OF AUDIO PRESERVATION SERVICES, Northeast Document Conservation Center (Andover, MA, USA)
This position will remain open until filled.
Background: The Northeast Document Conservation Center (NEDCC) is in the process of expanding its digital audio preservation service for libraries, archives, and museums. This service will build upon NEDCC’s successful implementation of “IRENE,” the IMLS-funded optical scanning technology developed by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the Library of Congress for digitizing grooved audio carriers. NEDCC is now investing in the additional facilities, equipment, and staffing to offer reformatting of audio content on magnetic and other obsolete media using more traditional approaches. NEDCC acknowledges the generous support of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for underwriting both the business planning for, and the implementation of, its full audio preservation service.
Position Summary: NEDCC is seeking an experienced audio preservation professional to lead its expanded Audio Preservation Services program. The new Manager of Audio Preservation Services will manage the day-to-day operations of the Audio Preservation Services department, which will use both the IRENE technology and traditional methods for digitally reformatting obsolete audio carriers, such as discs, cylinders, analog tapes, digital audio tapes, and unusual formats (e.g., tin foils, Dictabelts, etc.). NEDCC’s service will help fill a much-needed niche of providing 1:1 transfers with 100% quality control, particularly for those highly-valued collections that deserve a specialized (rather than high-throughput) workflow. Because NEDCC is a conservation center, its service will also place emphasis on the preservation of the carrier as well as its audio contents. In addition to digitization, NEDCC will offer collection- and item-level surveys, cleaning, treatment, and re-housing using vetted and transparent (i.e., non-proprietary) approaches.
The Manager of Audio Preservation Services reports directly to the Executive Director, is a member of NEDCC’s senior management team, and is responsible for:

  • maintaining NEDCC’s reputation for care in handling of client materials and rigorously following best practices for digital audio preservation;
  • conferring with clients to evaluate their collections and develop appropriate specifications, workflows, and proposals for their projects;
  • cultivating prospective clients;
  • working closely with the heads of NEDCC’s conservation and digital imaging laboratories on joint projects;
  • hiring, training and supervising a staff of audio specialists and engineers;
  • setting and monitoring high standards for quality control and workflow;
  • developing new services to meet the evolving needs of clients;
  • continually upgrading equipment and software to provide the highest levels of quality and productivity; and
  • staying abreast of emerging technology by attending and actively participating in conferences held by professional and related associations such as IASA, AES, and ARSC.

Qualifications: Applicants should have: 1) detailed knowledge of, and hands-on experience in, all aspects of digitally preserving audio collections; 2) strong communication skills in listening to clients’ needs and clearly articulating proposed specifications; 3) excellent relationship-building skills; 4) strong production, management and supervisory skills to lead the staff in achieving the highest quality results in strict accordance with the best practices for digital audio preservation; and 5) a solid educational and/or experiential foundation related to digital reformatting in general and audio preservation in specific.
It is anticipated that the Audio Preservation Services department will receive an increasingly steady amount of work from large to small institutions as well as private clients whose primary concerns are quality of deliverables and care in handling. The department is projected to grow to full capacity over a three- to five-year timeline and be able to accommodate projects of most sizes and any complexity. In addition to the services referenced above, the new manager will be expected to explore and develop other specialty services to meet the needs of the library, archives, and museum communities.
About NEDCC: Founded in 1973, the Northeast Document Conservation Center is the first nonprofit conservation center to specialize in the conservation and reformatting of paper-based materials. NEDCC’s mission is to improve the preservation efforts of libraries, archives, historical organization, museums, and other repositories; to provide the highest quality services to institutions that lack in-house conservation and reformatting facilities, or those that seek specialized expertise; and to provide leadership in the preservation, conservation, and imaging fields. Its services include book, paper, and photograph conservation; digital reformatting; audio preservation; assessments and consultations; disaster assistance; and workshops and conferences. NEDCC is located in Andover, MA, twenty-five miles north of Boston. For more information, please visit
Only persons with the legal right to work in the United States are eligible. Salary will be commensurate with experience.
Application Process: To apply, please send resume, letter of intent, and names and contact information for three references in PDF format to: Bill Veillette, Executive Director,
For more information, visit:
NEDCC is an equal opportunity employer.
JOB – ARCHITECTURE AND SCULPTURE CONSERVATOR, Kreilick Conservation (Philadelphia area, PA, USA)
Kreilick Conservation, LLC, is a private firm specializing in the conservation of architecture, sculpture, monuments, industrial artifacts,
and objects. We are seeking a qualified candidate with 3-5 years of experience to fill one full time position with our Philadelphia-area based
Responsibilities may include conducting condition assessments, research, field investigation and testing, treatment design and implementation, and report writing, as well as project management.
Qualifications for this position include a Master of Science degree in Historic Preservation from an accredited graduate program.
Strong analytical skills, flexibility and resourcefulness are necessary, as is proficiency in standard software including Microsoft Office Suite. Strong graphic skills also preferred, including proficiency in design software such as Adobe Photoshop, Sketchup and AutoCAD, or equivalent. Ability to work at heights (i.e. scaffolding and high-reach) is required.
The Conservator is expected to work independently and as a team member; and must display both excellent hand skills and strong communication skills. Travel is required.
Kreilick Conservation, LLC offers a salary/benefits package commensurate with experience and skill level.
Interested candidates should submit a cover letter, resume, writing sample, and contact information for three professional references to Scott Kreilick at
Kreilick Conservation, LLC is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Job posting: Conservation Research Specialist 4, Yale University (West Haven, CT, USA)

STARS Requisition No. 40392BR

    • Supervisory Organization: Institute for Preservation of Cultural Heritage – Lens Media lab
    • University Job Title: Conservation Research Specialist 4, Lens Media
    • Time Type: Full-time
    • Duration Type: Fixed

Position Focus: Yale’s Institute for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage (IPCH), is dedicated to advancing innovative and sustainable practices in the field of heritage preservation. At the crossroads of science and art, the Institute is comprised of leading-edge conservation, research, and imaging laboratories.
A position is open in the IPCH Lens Media Lab, reporting to the Head of the Lens Media Lab (LML). The research goals of the LML are focused on the preservation and characterization of photographic materials with an emphasis on creating and interpreting large datasets gleaned from reference, archival, and museum collections. Building on this base, collaborations across disciplines in the humanities and sciences will be fostered to assemble and interpret datasets derived from a broad spectrum of cultural heritage materials. Through the development of data visualization methods, tools, and interfaces, meaning and impact of these data will be communicated to broad constituencies including scientists, conservators, art historians, and curators.
Working under the direction of the Head of the LML, the primary duty and responsibility is the pursuit of data-driven approaches for understanding art and cultural material. As envisioned, these approaches will be achieved through image and signal processing techniques used in combination with machine learning methods. The principal dataset will be derived from quantitative and qualitative measurements made from the LML’s reference collection of photographic papers combined with data from prints made by important 20th century photographers held by leading collecting institutions. Other datasets, including those derived from art/artifact storage and display environments (made using low power sensors and other IoT methods) will also be contemplated.
Essential Duties

  • Assemble, specify, design, and construct hardware for measuring the physical and chemical properties of works of art and artifacts.
  • Perform image processing, algorithm development, data visualization, and the application of data science principles (statistics, clustering, and pattern recognition) to structured and unstructured datasets.
  • Assist in the creation of software interfaces and computing platforms to promote humanities-based research.
  • May manage projects and/or serve as a team leader; may supervise or mentor fellows, interns and/or students.
  • Coordinates the involvement of Yale or external specialists in select projects and utilizes on-campus user facilities as necessary.
  • May organize workshops, prepare and deliver professional presentations, write papers for submission to peer-reviewed journals.
  • Performs some instrument and laboratory maintenance.
  • May perform other duties as assigned.

Required Education and Experience
Master’s Degree in a related and four years’ experience or an equivalent combination of education and experience.
1. Ability to specify, design, and develop hardware for measuring physical and mechanical properties of works of art and artifacts, with an emphasis on imaging techniques and low power sensor networks.
2. Knowledge of the theory and practice of areas such as: image processing, algorithm interpretation and design, machine learning techniques, signal processing, and data science.
3. Demonstrated ability to assess large datasets using statistical and visualization tools. Demonstrated computer coding and software development capabilities.
4. Excellent written and verbal skills, including English language fluency. Demonstrated knowledge of/interest in working with art and artifacts, including photographs. Demonstrated ability to work collegially with a wide range of staff, faculty, and student from the sciences and the humanities.
5. Demonstrated project management skills with a proven track record of completion on time. Well-developed organizational, research and analytical skills.
Preferred Education, Experience and Skills: MS in computer science or a related field (e.g. signal and image processing, data science).
Ph.D. preferred.
Check Requirements: All candidates for employment will be subject to pre-employment background screening for this position, which may include motor vehicle, DOT certification, drug testing and credit checks based on the position description and job requirements. All offers are contingent upon the successful completion of the background check. Click here for additional information on the background check requirements and process.
For more employment details and to apply, visit:
Yale University considers applicants for employment without regard to, and does not discriminate on the basis of, an individual’s sex, race, color, religion, age, disability, status as a veteran, or national or ethnic origin; nor does Yale discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity or expression. Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 protects people from sex discrimination in educational programs and activities at institutions that receive federal financial assistance. Questions regarding Title IX may be referred to the University’s Title IX Coordinator, at, or to the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, 8th Floor, Five Post Office Square, Boston MA 02109-3921. Telephone: 617.289.0111, Fax: 617.289.0150, TDD: 800.877.8339, or Email:

Job Posting: Associate Conservation Scientist, Harvard University (Cambridge, MA, USA)

Job ID 40893BR
This is a 2-year term position
Job Summary: Reporting to the Head of the Analytical Laboratory, the Associate Conservation Scientist carries out technical analysis of museum objects in collaboration with conservators, curators, fellows and academics.
Duties & Responsibilities
• Select, supervise, and evaluate analytical components of Fellows’ projects.
• Direct and instruct casual employees, contractors, or students as appropriate.
• Participates in planning for lab activities and special projects.
• Practice and promote the Guidelines for Practice and Code of Ethics as established by the AIC.
Analysis and Research
• Collaborate with conservators and curators in technical study and analysis to support the treatment and preservation of the museums’ collection.
• Consult with art historians, conservators in treatment and preservation of collection.
• Oversee, advise, document, and perform sampling, testing, and analysis, including environmental conditions and materials used in art storage, display, and shipment.
• Actively engage in, initiate, and publish original research relating to artists’ materials and techniques.
• Keep lab resources updated and stay informed of trends and developments in conservation science field.
• Instruct in conservation materials analysis.
• Responsible for proper use, maintenance, and instruction of lab equipment, tools, and supplies including hazardous substances.
• Provide instruction in conservation materials analysis to undergraduate and graduate students in Harvard University’s History of Art and Architecture Department as appropriate, including History of Art and Architecture 101 and History of Art and Architecture 206.
• Work with and provides outreach and content for Communications, the Division of Academic and Public Programs, Curatorial, and Institutional Advancement, and other departments as needed.
• Present public gallery talks and participates in programming as requested.
• Participate in tours for various interest groups.
• Additional duties as required.
Basic Qualifications : Ph.D. in chemistry or physical science and a minimum of 5 years of experience in conservation science and experimental research.
Additional Qualifications
Techniques: GCMS, and pyGCMS, MALDI-TOF-MS, FTIR, UV-vis microscopy and polarized light microscopy. SEM, XRF, Raman spectroscopy required. Experience in the analysis of polymers is preferred.
Expertise in conservation science and experimental research with emphasis on the study of artists’ materials and techniques. Demonstrated ability to conduct scientific research, and a publication record in conservation-related themes and topics. Teaching experience in higher education or professional setting desired. Excellent communication, writing, interpersonal, project management. Knowledge of one or more foreign languages is preferred. Outstanding written and verbal communication skills; administrative and supervisory skills and experience.
Appointment End Date : December 1, 2018.
For more information and to apply, visit:
Harvard University is equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, gender identity, sexual orientation or any other characteristic protected by law.

Internship: Getty Graduate Internships (Los Angeles/Malibu, CA, USA)

Deadline: 5:00 p.m. Pacific Standard Time on December 1, 2016.
Applications for the 2017/2018 internship period are now available.
Getty Graduate Internships are offered in the four programs of the J. Paul Getty Trust—the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Getty Research Institute, the Getty Conservation Institute, and the Getty Foundation, as well as in Getty Publications—to students who intend to pursue careers in fields related to the visual arts. Training and work experience placements are available in areas such as curatorial, education, conservation, research, publications, information management, public programs, and grant making.
To find out more and apply online, visit:

Fellowship: 2017-2018 Smithsonian Postgraduate/Postdoctoral Fellowships in Conservation of Museum Collections Program (Washington DC, USA)

All applications must be submitted by December 1, 2016
This fellowship program is offered by the Smithsonian Institution to provide opportunities for recent graduates of masters programs in art and archaeological conservation or the equivalent or conservation scientists, including those at the postdoctoral level, who wish to conduct research and gain further training in Smithsonian conservation laboratories for conservation of objects in museum collections.
These fellowships are offered through the Smithsonian’s Office of Fellowships and Internships. They are administered under the charter of the Institution, 20 U.S. Code section 41 et seq. Fellowship awards under this program are contingent upon the availability of funds.
This fellowship program is offered by the Smithsonian Institution to provide opportunities for recent graduates of masters programs in art and archaeological conservation or the equivalent or conservation scientists, including those at the postdoctoral level, who wish to conduct research and gain further training in Smithsonian conservation laboratories for conservation of objects in museum collections.
These fellowships are offered through the Smithsonian’s Office of Fellowships and Internships. They are are administered under the charter of the Institution, 20 U.S. Code section 41 et seq. Fellowship awards under this program are contingent upon the availability of funds.

  • Applicants must propose to conduct research in the conservation of objects in museum collections in conservation laboratories at the Smithsonian Institution. Past or current Smithsonian fellowship recipients are eligible to apply for future Smithsonian awards.
  • No employee or contractor of the Smithsonian Institution may hold a Smithsonian fellowship during the time of his/her employment or contract, nor may an award be offered to any person who has been employed by or under contract to the Institution in the previous year, without the prior approval of the Office of Fellowships.
  • Applicants whose native language is not English are expected to have the ability to write and converse fluently in English. All application materials must be presented in English (foreign transcripts may be translated, see below).

How it Works
Postgraduate/Postdoctoral Conservation Fellowships are usually awarded for one year, but applications for shorter periods will be considered with three months being the minimum. In accepting an appointment, the fellow is expected to be in residence at the Smithsonian except for approved absences.
Financial support, in addition to a Smithsonian fellowship, for such purposes as research travel and equipment may be received from other sources, provided that no special demands are made upon the fellow’s time. Permission to receive additional stipend support must be requested in writing from the Office of Fellowships.
Postgraduate/Postdoctoral Conservation Fellows will conduct research and study in conservation laboratories at the Smithsonian Institution. The prospective fellow must first contact the conservator or scientist with whom he or she would like to work and is encouraged to seek direction with crafting an effective proposal. Previously successful proposals have benefited from the proposed mentor’s guidance in navigating the Smithsonian collections. Applicants should consult the Smithsonian Opportunities for Research and Study (SORS) in advance to select a proposed advisor who can assist with accessing facilities and necessary equipment. The amount of support services available to the fellow will be determined by the workload of the department and the policy of the department chairperson and/or unit director. Additional analytical facilities may be available at the Museum Conservation Institute (MCI). Fellows have access to the Smithsonian Institution Libraries with privileges which include borrowing library materials, inter-library loans, document delivery, database searching, and reference assistance.
It is important that applicants consider the following factors carefully when choosing the dates for the proposed fellowship:

  • The schedule of their proposed adviser/host and the availability of required resources.
  • The dates of tenure proposed in the application (and any change of dates if the fellowship is awarded) should be selected in agreement with the proposed principal adviser.
  • In submitting an application for a fellowship at the Institution, the applicant does not incur any obligation to accept the appointment if selected.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact staff members (listed below) to help identify potential advisers, determine the feasibility of the proposed research being conducted at the Smithsonian Institution, and the availability of relevant resources such as staff, collections, archives and library materials during the proposed tenure dates. Additional facilities may be available to museum or archives fellows for analytical work at the Museum Conservation Institute (MCI).
Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
Kira Eng-Wilmot, Senior Textile Conservator, (decorative/applied arts: textiles, paper, three-dimensional objects) +1 212-849-8462;
Freer and Sackler Galleries
Andrew Hare, Supervisory Conservator, East Asian Painting, (objects, paper, and Asian paintings; and conservation science) +1 202-633-0370; Special note: Due to museum construction, the Freer and Sackler Galleries are not currently accepting applications for fellowships in this cycle; however they do welcome inquiries from persons interested in developing a project at a future date.
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
Gwynne Ryan, Chief Conservator, (modern materials) +1 202-633- 2728; ryangw@si.ed
Museum Conservation Institute
Carol Grissom, Senior Objects Conservator, +1 301-238-1236,
National Air and Space Museum
Malcolm Collum, Engen Conservation Chair, (objects) +1 703-572-4361;
National Museum of African Art
Dana Moffett, Senior Conservator, (objects) +1 202-633-4614; Special note: The National Museum of African Art is not accepting applications for the Smithsonian Conservation fellowships but will have other fellowship opportunities available for the 2017-2018 cycle. More information please contact:
National Museum of American History
Janice Ellis, Senior Paper Conservator, (books and paper) +1 202-633-3623;
Sunae Park Evans, Senior Costume Conservator, (costumes and textiles) +1 202-633-3629;
Beth Richwine, Senior Objects Conservator, (objects) +1 202-633-3639;
National Museum of Natural History
Catharine Hawks, Natural History Conservator, (natural history and anthropological objects) +1 202-633-0835;
National Portrait Gallery
Lou Molnar, Head of Conservation, (paintings and paper) +1 202-633-5822;
Smithsonian American Art Museum
Tiarna Doherty, Chief of Conservation, (colonial to contemporary paintings, paper, objects, and frames) +1 202-633-5802;
Smithsonian Institution Archives
Nora Lockshin, Senior Conservator, (archives, books, and paper) +1 202-633-5913;
*All applications must be submitted by December 1, 2016
*Notification of decisions will be made no later than April 1, 2017.
General Application Information
All applications should be sent through our SOLAA system.
Once registered and logged in you will need to complete the requested information regarding mailing address, academic history, current university or college etc.
You can find the application for the opportunity under the Office of Fellowships and Internships.
Files you will need to upload
Abstract: An abstract of the proposed research, not more than one page (please upload this in the same file with your Research Proposal).
Research Proposal: The full statement of your research, maximum THREE PAGES typescript. It should be double spaced, excluding all other parts of the application, such as the abstract and bibliography. Do not use type smaller than 12 point font. In preparing your proposal, be sure to provide and address the following:

  • A description of the research you plan to undertake at the Smithsonian Institution, including the methodology to be utilized.
  • The importance of the work, both in relation to the broader discipline and to your own scholarly goals.
  • Justification for conducting your research at the Smithsonian and utilization of research facilities and resources.
  • Identification of the member of the Smithsonian’s research staff who might serve as your principal adviser/host. Also identify potential co-adviser(s) and/or consultant(s), if applicable. The publication, Smithsonian Opportunities for Research and Study (SORS), contains the necessary information on staff research specialties and current departmental interests to help you determine which staff members are best suited to your research needs. Research staff may be named by applicants to serve as principal advisers, co-advisers or consultants. Affiliated research staff may be named as co-advisers or consultants if they will be in residence during at least a portion of the tenure period proposed. You are strongly encouraged to correspond with your proposed adviser(s) as you prepare your proposal.

Budget and Justification: Budget and justification for equipment, supplies, research-related travel costs, and other support required to conduct the research itself (excluding stipend and relocation costs). You are encouraged to discuss potential research costs with your proposed adviser(s) before submitting your application. If the funds required to support the research exceed the maximum research allowance of $4,000, please explain the source of additional funds.
Bibliography: A bibliography of literature relevant to the applicant’s proposed research.
Curriculum Vitae: Curriculum vitae, including previous and current fellowships, grants, and/or awards, and a description of your research interests. If English is not your native language, describe the level of your proficiency in reading, conversing, and writing in English.
Transcripts (unofficial are acceptable): Transcripts (or other materials when transcripts are not issued) from all appropriate institutions are required, except for senior fellowship applications. Applicants for postdoctoral fellowships need only submit graduate transcripts. If transcripts or other materials are not in English, the applicant should provide translations.

  • You will need the names and email addresses of two persons familiar with your work. Please note that all reference letters are considered confidential unless confidentiality has been specifically waived by the referee. Do not list Smithsonian staff members as your referees; they will have the opportunity to review your application after it is submitted.
  • Please provide a copy of your proposal and a copy of Letter to Referee (downloadable pdf) to your referees.
  • All reference letters will be considered confidential and the contents will not be revealed to the applicant unless confidentiality has been specifically waived by the referee. Therefore, please have the reference submit in sufficient time to meet the application deadline.
  • The application, consisting of the proposal, academic records, and two supporting letters, will be reviewed by members of the Smithsonian’s research staff. Applications will be evaluated on the basis of the proposal’s merit, the ability of the applicant to carry out the proposed research and study, and the extent to which the Smithsonian, through its staff members and resources, can contribute to the proposed research.
  • Through the system (SOLAA) you will send an email to these referees so they can provide references through the web.

Selection Criteria:
Applications are evaluated by a Smithsonian Peer Review Committee made up of scholars in appropriate fields. Fellows are selected based on the following:

  • Proposal’s merit
  • Applicant’s ability to carry out the proposed research and study
  • Likelihood that the research could be completed in the requested time
  • Extent to which the Smithsonian, through its research staff members and resources, could contribute to the proposed research.

The Fellowship Program does not discriminate on grounds of race, creed, sex, age, marital status, condition of handicap, or national origin of any applicant.
For more information visit: Fellowships & Internships

Fellowship: Samuel H. Kress Mid-Career Fellow

Applications for 2017 funding are now being accepted. Applications must be submitted by October 26, 2016, 11:00 p.m. EST. 
Research grants of up to $15,000 will be awarded to one mid-career professional whose research project relates to the appreciation, interpretation, preservation, study and teaching of European art, architecture and related disciplines from antiquity to the early 19th century, in the context of historic preservation in the United States. Potential Kress Fellow projects could include the exploration of shared European and American influences in style, design, materials, construction techniques, building types, conservation and interpretation methodologies, philosophical and theoretical attitudes, and other factors applicable to preservation in both Europe and America.
Funding for the Kress Fellowship is made possible through the generous support of the
Criteria for Evaluation
Applications are reviewed by the Fitch Trustees. Projects will be evaluated on the following criteria:

  • The project will make a meaningful contribution to the academic and/or professional field of historic preservation in the United States
  • The applicant has a realistic plan for the dissemination of research and/or final work product
  • The project has a clear and realistic goals, timeframe, work plan, and budget
  • The project demonstrates innovative thinking, original research and creative problem solving and/or design


  • Grants are awarded only to individuals, not organizations. The Foundation does not fund university-sponsored research projects or dissertation research.
  • Applicants must be mid-career professionals with at least 10 years experience in historic preservation or related fields, including architecture, landscape architecture, architectural conservation, urban design, environmental planning, archaeology, architectural history, and the decorative arts.
  • Applicants must be legal residents or citizens of the United States.

Please email with any questions concerning criteria for evaluation or project eligibility.
How to Apply
Applicants are required to submit the following materials:

  1. Cover page, including Project Title; Name of Applicant(s), including primary contact person; Applicant Address; Phone; Email. Also, please specify whether you are applying for the Fitch Mid-Career Grant or the Richard L. Blinder Award; and specify the amount of grant money requested.
  2. Brief description of project, including how the final work product will be disseminated. Applicants are encouraged to be succinct and the description is not to exceed three (3) pages.
  3. Detailed work schedule and project budget, showing the grant amount requested from the Fitch Foundation and how this money will be spent.
  4. Curriculum Vita, including professional and academic background, and past and present grants received.
  5. Two (2) letters of support for the project to be included with the application.

Applications must be submitted electronically, in PDF format.
Selection Process & Completion of Grant
Grants are awarded at the discretion of the Foundation. Recipients will be notified by email in the Spring of 2016. Projects must be completed within twelve (12) months of the grant award. All grantees will be assigned a Trustee advisor who will provide feedback and guidance throughout the project.
Typically, grant awards are divided into equal payments, the first being presented upon the award of the grant. Substantial written progress reports are required for all subsequent payments. The final payment is awarded only upon completion of the project.
The Foundation shall be acknowledged in all publications. The Trustees reserve the right to publish the results if the recipient does not. The grant recipient must sign a release to the Foundation permitting such publication. Proper credit will be given to the grant recipient.
For more information visit: