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During the first year of the master's program, the history of technology of wood and furniture and the analysis and treatment of varnished surfaces are addressed. The Winterthur rooms provide a comprehensive range of furniture and composite organic objects for first-hand study and extensive documentation. Treatment of these objects in the second year allows for curriculum continuity.
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Applicants wishing to major in furniture conservation that do not already have a solid competency in traditional woodcraft will need to spend additional time in their second year or summer work projects. While wood is the primary material addressed in the laboratory, furniture majors will also be introduced to the wide-range of non-wood components that often accompany furniture: metal hardware, upholstery, and surface decoration. It is recommended that the prospective furniture major review the book: Conservation of Furniture by Shayne Rivers and Nick Umney (Butterworth-Heinemann series in conservation, 2005), for additional insight.
Students studying furniture conservation will follow the generally-prescribed WUDPAC curriculum with elective courses focused on connoisseurship, both art historical and technical, of furniture. During the second year, majors treat wooden objects and furniture, as well as objects and materials that are commonly associated with furniture, both historic and contemporary.
Furniture majors are supervised by Kathy Z. Gillis and also work closely with Gregory Landrey.