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LaStarsha McGarity received a Masters of Art and a Certificate of Advanced Study in Art Conservation from the Patricia H. and Richard E. Garman Art Conservation Department at SUNY Buffalo State College, in 2019. She received a Bachelors of Art in Art with a minor in Chemistry from Texas Southern University (HBCU), in 2013. Her conservation experiences include Texas Southern University, the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art. Her graduate internships were completed at the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum and the Museum of Mississippi History (2MM), the Brooklyn Museum, the Saint Louis Art Museum, and the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures. LaStarsha is currently the Mellon Foundation Fellow in Objects Conservation at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC.
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TOPIC: An exploration of the collection histories, conservation approach, and preservation needs of the art collections held by Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs)
This research seeks to investigate the origins of collections at HBCUs, document conservation efforts, and catalogue the current preservation practices by collection stewards. Informed by her experiences with the collections at Texas Southern University and outreach opportunities with the Alliance of HBCU Museums and Art Galleries, the current project will explore the impact of social history and politics on the creation, continuing collecting, conservation, and ongoing collection preservation practices. Results of this research could form the basis for future conservation treatments, preservation efforts, sustained collaboration between HBCUs and conservation, employee training, and reaffirm collaborative networks based on collection needs between HBCUs.