Conservator and professor Debra Hess Norris is the 2018 recipient of the Francis Alison Faculty Award, UD's highest competitive honor for faculty. Debra Hess Norris chairs the department of art conservation at the
University of Delaware and directs the Winterthur/ UD Program in Art
Conservation. She has led more than 150 workshops worldwide in Africa,
Asia, the Americas, Europe and
the Middle East - and authored book chapters and articles on the
conservation of photographic materials, emergency response and
fundraising for cultural heritage preservation. She serves
on numerous boards and advisory committees centered
on education and cultural heritage preservation.
From the May 18 UDaily story by Beth Miller:
[University of Delaware Professor Debra Hess Norris is] a world-renowned expert in photograph preservation and conservation whose
counsel and assistance are requested often by some of the greatest
museums on the planet. . . . Norris has helped to safeguard a wide array of important materials, from glass
plate negatives documenting Western exploration, platinum photographs
by Gertrude Käsebier, Polaroid portraits by Andy Warhol and at-risk
collections in museums, libraries, archives and historic sites
worldwide, even an early photographic album of The Beatles, of whom she
is as zealous a devotee as any on record. But she is just as committed
to treating the charred, water-damaged photographs brought to her from a family that had lost three young boys and their grandmother in a house fire in rural Ohio.
For her global influence, her ability to inspire excellence in
student conservators and her commitment to the ideals of the University
of Delaware, which she has served as professor, department chair, vice
provost and now trustee since joining the faculty in 1982, Norris has
been named the 2018 winner of the Francis Alison Faculty Award, the
University’s highest competitive honor for faculty.
Norris works closely with students to help them learn about
properties of paper, chemical interactions and other critical features
of photograph conservation.
“Simply put, Norris’ impact on the field and in training the future
generations of conservators is stunning,” said George Watson, dean of
the College of Arts and Sciences, in his letter of nomination.
To read the full UDaily article, click here. To view Debra Hess Norris's recent TEDx talk on the preservation of our photographic heritage, click here.