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WUDPAC Class of 1977 (Image: Winterthur Museum Archives).
The Winterthur/University of Delaware Program in Art
Conservation accepted its first class in 1974 and
since then has conferred a Master of Science in Art Conservation to over 300
Our graduates have
pioneered innovative examination and treatment techniques, developed national
standards for the preservation of our cultural heritage, and preserved our
cultural icons. Their work has directly influenced the fields of art
conservation, the history of art, and the history of technology, anthropology
and archaeology and has insured the availability of often fragile and
vulnerable cultural materials for further scholarship and research.
Excerpted from the 1999 publication entitled "North American
Graduate Programs in the Conservation of Cultural Property: Histories &
Alumni," published by the Association of North American Graduate Programs
in Conservation (ANAGPIC):
Discussions about the Winterthur/University of Delaware Program
in Art Conservation began in the mid-1960s with an ever-increasing
perception at Winterthur and the University of Delaware that both
institutions had a unique opportunity to collaborate. This perception was
coupled with a conviction on the part of the Winterthur Board of Trustees
and staff that what were needed were an expansion of collections care
activities and an initiative to educate and train individuals to preserve
decorative as well as fine arts. At that time, it was conceived that
this program would parallel the previously existing Winterthur Program in
Early American Culture established in 1952.
In January 1969, the Winterthur Board of Trustees approved the
creation of a coordinated program in museum conservation that would
utilize Winterthur's new conservation laboratories and the facilities of
the science and humanities departments at the University of Delaware…The
proposed curriculum was designed to augment the established graduate
programs by offering teaching specialization and experiences not readily
available elsewhere, including instrumental analysis and the conservation
of furniture, textiles, costumes, and the decorative arts. As stated
in 1973, the objective of this program was to train assistant conservators who
were competent in restoring and conserving art and cultural objects, who
were familiar with analytical techniques that may be utilized for materials
characterization, and who understood the fundamental physical and chemical
properties of art materials. . . . In the spring of 1974, the
University of Delaware Board of Trustees approved the master of science
degree program in the conservation of artistic and historic objects.
During this same year, the first class of six students was accepted.
To read the full history of
the Winterthur/University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation, link to the
complete ANAGPIC publication here.
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