Conserving Material Culture Engaging the public  through education and outreach at the Lunder Conservation Center “ The Pu...
Smithsonian  American Art Museum (AAM) Images taken from: http://newsdesk.si.edu
Lunder Conservation Center Photo by Julie Heath
Educational kiosks, didactics, and public lectures Photo by Mildred Baldwin Photo by Julie Heath
Photo by Mildred Baldwin Public tours
Media wall Photo by Julie Heath
Public Engagement  and Material Culture Institute   (PEMCI) From Avatars to Radio  Sound Bites:  Using Accessible Language...
The PEMCI challenge <ul><li>“  cultivate new ways of engaging public interest in conservation in order to educate people o...
Interacting with public tours <ul><li>Stepping out from behind the glass wall </li></ul><ul><li>Using images to convey the...
Collaborating with educators to connect science and art Photso by Julie Heath Behind-the-scenes studio and lab tours Advan...
Providing gallery talks  on conservation treatments Photos by Julie Heath
Communicating through  new media and social networking
Servicing the public with free monthly conservation clinics <ul><li>Consult with conservators </li></ul><ul><li>Examine ar...
Educating and outreach using media sources
 
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Conserving Material Culture: Engaging the public through education and outreach at the Lunder Conservation Center

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Presented at the University of Delaware event titled, “The Public Lives of Things” on May 6, 2010

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  • Good evening. My name is Amber Kerr-Allison and I am a recent graduate of the Winterthur/University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation, where I received a Masters of Science Degree, specializing in Paintings Conservation. This evening, I will discuss public engagement in the conservation of material culture through education and outreach programs. I was fortunate to have been selected to attend the first Public Engagement and Material Culture Institute during my final internship year as a graduate student. [Enter]
  • The UD Masters program in art conservation is comprised of two-years of graduate studies, followed by a third-year internship. My internship year was at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, DC. [Enter]
  • The museum had been closed for several years for major renovations and reopened in 2006. The renovation projects included the construction of the Lunder Conservation Center. A conservation facility that allows the public permanent behind-the-scenes viewing of the conservation and preservation work performed in the museum. [Enter]
  • In addition to providing space for conservation projects, the center is designed as a destination for learning about conservation science and techniques through educational kiosks, videos, public programs and outreach initiatives. [ENTER]
  • Conservation staff are visible to the public through floor-to-ceiling glass walls that allow visitors to observe their work. Public tours provide an introduction to conservation and discuss the current projects conservators are treating. (hear you see me consolidating a flaking painting in view of the public tour) [ENTER]
  • More than 35 conservators from across the country participated in creating these educational components; which include a 40-foot media wall featuring interviews with many of these experts. [Enter] This is my favorite video sequence in the media wall, as it showcases some of our very own UD professors in conservation. [Enter]
  • It was during my internship that I learned of an opportunity to apply for a two-week institute designed to support graduate education and scholarship in material culture and to promote public engagement in the interpretation and scholarship of America’s cultural heritage. I was engaged! [ENTER]
  • My ‘PEMCI project, or PEMCI challenge as one might say, was to cultivate new ways of engaging public interest in conservation. Educating the public on how they can care for their family heirlooms as well as providing outreach, education, and understanding of the conservation needs for material culture items. When I returned from the two-week institute I was eager to apply the experience and knowledge I had received. Working in collaboration with the museum conservation staff, we began to enhance the public outreach programs offered by the Lunder Center. [ENTER]
  • We began with simple changes, such as arranging to have conservators step out from behind the glass wall s to interact with the public tours, and having them use visual aides to tell the story of an artifact .This enhanced the visitor’s experience and facilitated questions about the artifact or conservation treatment. [ENTER]
  • We established behind-the-scenes tours of the labs for student groups and collaborate with local educators to create research projects for advanced Chem students; supporting the lesson of applied science through art. [ENTER]
  • We extended our outreach programs into the galleries where the public now sees the art ‘Through the Eyes of the Conservator’, a program where conservators provided details on the analysis and conservation treatments behind major works in the collection . [Enter]
  • One interesting adaptations from my PEMCI training has been the development and use of new media and social networking in our engagement with the public. As an example, our use of Twitter resulted as an innovative means of communicating with our museum information desks to alert them when a conservator is working on a project. They intern are able to convey this information to the visiting public in real time. [Enter] Our ‘tweets’ feed directly to the social media site Lunder has on Facebook, [Enter] providing up-to-the-minute images of projects , links to our collection database, and alerting our fans to up coming public programs. [Enter]
  • As service to our local community, American Art Museum conservators now offer free monthly clinics, in which individual’s can make appointments to bring in their artifacts and have them examined by a conservator. [Enter]
  • My PEMCI training in communication skills have helped us use publications as a means of education and outreach for our facility. PEMCI provided me with a creative foundation upon which I could build the skills I needed to contribute ideas and participate in the programs developed at the Lunder Conservation Center. My work at Lunder has continued beyond graduation, as I am currently a Samuel H. Kress Fellow at the museum. A position supported by the Kress Foundation to support public engagement, education, and outreach for the conservation field. [Enter]
  • Public outreach programs help to remove the mystery and misconceptions surrounding art conservation and to engage communities as well as individuals in the service and care of cultural heritage. The responsibility of preserving works of art and cultural heritage for future generations lies not only in the hands of the professionals who manage and treat these objects, but also in the commitment, understanding, and support of the people for which the works are being preserved.
  • Conserving Material Culture: Engaging the public through education and outreach at the Lunder Conservation Center

    1. 1. Conserving Material Culture Engaging the public through education and outreach at the Lunder Conservation Center “ The Public Lives of Things” May 6, 2010 Amber Kerr-Allison Paintings Conservator, Samuel H. Kress Fellow Smithsonian American Art Museum Lunder Conservation Center Photo by Julie Heath
    2. 2. Smithsonian American Art Museum (AAM) Images taken from: http://newsdesk.si.edu
    3. 3. Lunder Conservation Center Photo by Julie Heath
    4. 4. Educational kiosks, didactics, and public lectures Photo by Mildred Baldwin Photo by Julie Heath
    5. 5. Photo by Mildred Baldwin Public tours
    6. 6. Media wall Photo by Julie Heath
    7. 7. Public Engagement and Material Culture Institute (PEMCI) From Avatars to Radio Sound Bites: Using Accessible Language and New Digital Technologies to Inspire the Public June 2-12, 2008
    8. 8. The PEMCI challenge <ul><li>“ cultivate new ways of engaging public interest in conservation in order to educate people on how they may best care for their family heirlooms and collections, as well as contribute to the preservation needs of artworks and cultural property.” </li></ul>
    9. 9. Interacting with public tours <ul><li>Stepping out from behind the glass wall </li></ul><ul><li>Using images to convey the story of the artwork </li></ul><ul><li>Answering questions </li></ul>Photo by Mildred Baldwin
    10. 10. Collaborating with educators to connect science and art Photso by Julie Heath Behind-the-scenes studio and lab tours Advance chemistry research projects
    11. 11. Providing gallery talks on conservation treatments Photos by Julie Heath
    12. 12. Communicating through new media and social networking
    13. 13. Servicing the public with free monthly conservation clinics <ul><li>Consult with conservators </li></ul><ul><li>Examine artifacts </li></ul><ul><li>Provide reference materials </li></ul><ul><li>Advise on collection care </li></ul>Photos by Julie Heath
    14. 14. Educating and outreach using media sources

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