Monday, October 18, 2010

Conference - Conservation Science, Collection Care, and Outreach

Preserving Objects and Artifacts:

Conservation Science, Collection Care, and Outreach

North Carolina Preservation Consortium Annual Conference

William and Ida Friday Center for Continuing Education

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

November 5, 2010 8:30 AM – 4:00 PM

Objects connect us with the past, our heritage, and the creative human spirit. Preserving objects for present and future research and exhibition is a professional obligation of cultural stewardship and requires a commitment of resources and sustained effort. Art and artifacts in museums, libraries, historic sites, and archives encompass a wide range of material with unique challenges for preservation and conservation. This conference will explore the application of conservation science, collection care, and outreach for the preservation of objects in collections of archaeological, ethnographic, and historic artifacts, decorative arts, sculpture, folk art, and contemporary art. Each year the North Carolina Preservation Consortium Annual Conference provides an opportunity to learn from experts in preservation and conservation and network with colleagues from large and small collection institutions throughout the state. Our speakers this year include;

Christina Cole, PhD, Mellon Fellow in Conservation in the Art Conservation Program at the University of Delaware. Students in the objects conservation program are taught material science, analysis, treatment, and preservation of modern plastics, leather, feathers, bone, horn, ivory, hair, wood, metals, glass, ceramics, outdoor sculpture, and stone. Microchemical techniques and instrumental analysis are used to study the physical and chemical nature of objects to gain an understanding of the deterioration processes to determine appropriate conservation techniques. Dr. Cole will provide an overview of the curriculum for the undergraduate degree in Material Culture Preservation, the masters degree in Art Conservation, and the doctoral program in Preservation Studies. She will also provide profiles of graduates from these programs highlighting the diverse cultural institutions that value these degrees and the experience gained from university conservation programs.

Jane Klinger, Chief Conservator at the Unites States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C. Many objects in this museum collection belonged to victims and survivors of the World War II genocide. Being in the presence of these witnesses to history often has a powerful affective impact on visitors. Ms. Klinger will address collections care for these objects, tensions that may arise between conservators and exhibition curators, and the desire of some to let these artifacts return to the earth. The use of digitization and virtual exhibits will also be explored as a potential compromise to the preservation of physical objects.

W. Christian Peterson, PhD, Conservation Scientist at the Winterthur Museum and Adjunct Associate Professor in the University of Delaware Art Conservation Program. His lecture is titled Conservation Science: The Forensics of Cultural Material. Conservation science combines a variety of scientific disciplines in the study of cultural material. Museum scientists, typically chemists, work with conservators and curators to understand the chemistry of artifacts in order to aid their treatment. Scientists analyze artifacts to characterize materials and manufacturing techniques of various regions, time periods and artists, to aid in authenticity studies, to characterize previous repairs, alterations, or additions, and to evaluate new treatment materials and procedures. Cases studies will be presented which demonstrate the use of these techniques for the study of objects from the Winterthur Museum as well as other institutions and collectors. As is increasingly the case, material culture scholarship and the conservation of artifacts are built on a scientific understanding of their components and degradation mechanisms.

Emily Williams, Conservator of Archaeological Artifacts at Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia. The world’s largest living history museum, Colonial Williamsburg, includes collections of decorative arts, folk art, and historical artifacts. Ms. Williams will present on the development and success of the exhibit Conservation: Where Art and Science Meet. This conservation outreach project followed the life of objects, beginning with how they are made, their discovery and analysis, the processes of decay, the application of conservation science, and the curation of exhibitions to connect objects with historical narratives. Visitors gained an understanding of the value of conservation to heritage tourism and the preservation of authentic historical artifacts.

Who Should Attend

The conference is designed for professionals and staff working in museums, libraries, historic sites, archives, conservation centers, and other heritage collection institutions. Faculty and students in conservation, museum studies, library and information science, art history, public history, and related collection disciplines will also benefit from participating in this conference. Advocates for collections preservation are welcome to attend as well.


The registration fee is $60.00 for employees of NCPC member institutions and individual NCPC members, $75.00 for non-members, and $50.00 for graduate students in collections programs. This fee includes lunch, refreshments, and materials. To RSVP please send an email to then complete and mail the registration form with payment. The form is available on the NCPC Web site at NCPC does not accept credit or debit card payments. Attendees may pay at the door with cash or check by presenting the email acknowledgement that their RSVP was received.

Location, Directions, and Parking

The conference will be held at the William and Ida Friday Center for Continuing Education at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Friday Center for Continuing Education
UNC Chapel Hill
Campus Box 1020
100 Friday Center Drive
Chapel Hill NC 27599-1020

Parking is free. Directions to the Friday Center are available on their Web site:

Cancellation and Refund Policy

The annual conference may be cancelled due to low registration or other causes beyond our control, such as severe weather. In such an event, registrants will be notified and fees refunded. Otherwise, registration fees are nonrefundable. Substitution are permitted.


Would you like to receive email announcements about future workshops and conferences sponsored by the North Carolina Preservation Consortium? Interested in information about preservation in libraries, museums, archives, historic sites, and other heritage institutions? Subscribe to the NCPC News listserv. This is not a discussion list. You will only receive official email from NCPC. Subscribe on our Web site at:

North Carolina Preservation Consortium

The North Carolina Preservation Consortium (NCPC) is a 501C3 nongovernment, nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation of collections in our state's archives, libraries, museums, historic sites, records centers, and other heritage collection institutions. NCPC also informs the general public about preservation to safeguard private collections and family treasures. Our preservation mission addresses the proper care and handling of materials; storage and environmental control; disaster preparedness and recovery; the repair, reformatting and conservation of damaged items; and collection security. NCPC supports the preservation of information content, and the medium as artifact, in new and traditional formats for present and future generations.


We would like to welcome your institution to the preservation consortium. Our minimum annual membership fee is only $100.00. Higher levels of support are voluntary. Benefits of NCPC membership include discounts on our continuing education workshops and annual conference. Employees of institutional members are eligible to hold leadership positions as officers and on the consortium's board of directors, committees, and task groups. Member institutions are also recognized for their contributions on our Web site. The success of our state wide preservation program depends on the talents, diversity, and generosity of our colleagues. Together we can make a difference in the survival of our heritage collections. Join NCPC today! Membership information is available on the NCPC web site:

Support NCPC

Our programs are made possible by the generous financial support of our institutional members, corporate sponsors, and individual donors. If you would like to make a gift to the North Carolina Preservation Consortium please visit our Preservation Philanthropy Webpage at

Institutional members are listed on the NCPC Web site at

For additional information, contact:

Robert James

Executive Director

North Carolina Preservation Consortium

PO Box 2651

Durham, NC 27715-2651

Phone (252) 328-6114