Jennifer Mass, Ph.D.

Affiliated Associate Professor 

  • Jennifer Mass at Cornell's synchotron

Jennifer Mass received her B.A. in chemistry from Franklin and Marshall College in 1990 (Phi Beta Kappa, Magna Cum Laude). She completed her studies at Franklin and Marshall with numerous awards including the American Chemical Society Division of Analytical Chemistry Award, the American Institute of Chemists Award, and the R. Schiedt Trust for Graduate Study. She received her M.S. in Inorganic Chemistry from Cornell University in 1992, and her Ph.D. in Inorganic Chemistry with a concentration in Materials Engineering in 1995.

After graduating from Cornell she received a fellowship from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to conduct research at the Sherman Fairchild Center for Objects Conservation at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. At the Metropolitan she conducted research on the use of metallurgical byproducts as glass colorants. She was awarded a Samuel H. Kress Foundation grant to continue this work into a third year. Dr. Mass spent 1998-2001 as an assistant professor in the Art Conservation Department at The State University of New York College at Buffalo. During this time she continued her research on ancient Roman and Egyptian glassmaking practices, and began her studies in glassmaking in late antiquity Venice. She was awarded a Gladys K. Delmas Foundation grant to conduct a portion of this research in Torcello, Italy.

In the fall of 2001 she joined Winterthur’s Conservation Department and became an affiliated faculty member for WUDPAC. In her role as Senior Scientist in Winterthur’s Scientific Research and Analysis Laboratory, she conducted research on Pennsylvania German sulfur inlaid furniture, fraktur, and painted furniture. She also published on weathervane finish analysis, elemental depth profiling of paintings using confocal x-ray fluorescence microscopy, and the degradation of cadmium- and arsenic-based artists’ pigments. Dr. Mass has contributed to the field as a co-organizer of two Gordon Research Conferences in Cultural Heritage Science, as an Associate Editor for the Journal of the American Institute for Conservation, and as an editor of Materials Issues in Art and Archaeology. She has also taught several short courses in instrumental analysis of objects of art for mid-career conservators and appraisers both in the U.S. and the Netherlands.

Jennifer has published many articles on her research in the art conservation, physics, and materials science literature and has presented the results of her research at dozens of professional meetings and universities worldwide. In 2016 she became a Consulting Senior Scientist at the Rijksmuseum and President of Scientific Analysis of Fine Art, LLC, a firm dedicated to technical art history and state of preservation research. She currently holds a grant from the Samuel H. Kress Foundation to develop an undergraduate curriculum in technical art history for art history majors. Her c.v. is available here.

Image: WUDPAC affiliated assistant professor Jennifer Mass at Cornell University's High Energy Synchrotron Source, examining a Rembrandt School painting from the collection of Cornell University's Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art prior to imaging.  (Image courtesy the Johnson Museum.)