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​Winterthur/UD Program in Art Conservation student Jennifer Myers (far right) shows National Endowment for the Humanities Chairman Jon Parrish Peede photos of work that has been done in the paintings conservation lab. Peede visited UD on Dec. 6, 2018. Photos by Evan Krape and Kathy F. Atkinson.

​National Endowment for the Humanities chairman and staff recently toured the University of Delaware and met with WUDPAC faculty and students. From the December 14, 2018 article by Ann Manser for UDaily:


Themes of public outreach, inclusiveness and civic engagement were clearly on the mind of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) chairman during a recent visit to University of Delaware programs and projects that emphasize those same qualities.

Jon Parrish Peede, a writer and literary editor who was sworn in as chairman in May after a year with the agency, spent Dec. 6 meeting with UD humanities faculty, students and staff. The NEH, an independent federal agency established in 1965, is one of the largest funders of humanities programs in the United States.

“It was an exciting visit,” said Lauren Petersen, interim associate dean for the humanities in the College of Arts and Sciences. “What all of the programs and initiatives have in common is that they’re very research-intensive but they also all reach out to the public and engage a wide audience.”

During the visit, Peede said he was also thinking ahead to 2026, when the United States will mark its 250th birthday.

In a recent press interview, he mentioned plans to enact a new series of grant guidelines focusing on that anniversary, and during his time at UD he spoke about the value of celebrating America’s history and heritage in a way that’s accessible to the public.

“I love that you’re training people to preserve important treasures,” Peede said while touring the conservation labs at Winterthur Museum that are used by students in the prestigious Winterthur/University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation.

​Left: In the objects conservation lab, Winterthur/UD Program in Art Conservation (WUDPAC) student Natalya Swanson shows Jon Parrish Peede a pair of shoes from the 1968 Dior collection, sent to Winterthur by the Philadelphia Museum of Art for cleaning. Right: WUDPAC student Julianna Ly shows NEH Chairman Jon Parrish Peede fragments of a flag that were part of a damaged diorama, now undergoing conservation treatment, depicting Arctic exploration. Debra Hess Norris (center), the Unidel Henry Francis du Pont chair in Fine Arts and chair of the Department of Art Conservation looks on. Photos by Evan Krape and Kathy F. Atkinson.

“It’s especially important to see that you preserve [not just famous works of art but also] more obscure pieces that let us tell the stories of remarkable people.”

Peede, who met with the Delaware Humanities organization the previous day, began his tour of the University’s humanities programs with a full morning at Winterthur. He was accompanied by two NEH staff members, including senior program officer Tatiana Ausema, who earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in art conservation and is currently writing her doctoral dissertation, all at UD.

In the paintings conservation lab, graduate student Julianna Ly showed Peede a diorama depicting an expedition to the North Pole by explorers Matthew Henson, who was African American, and Robert Peary. Conservators first worked on the diorama, part of an African-American history collection at Tuskegee University, as part of a summer program at UD for students from historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs).

The program, Ly explained, was designed to expose talented students to the field of art conservation, which is seeking to address a serious lack of diversity.

From there, the group visited the Winterthur library, where a relatively new, collaborative program is educating the next generation of conservators to work with library and archives collections.

Student Karissa Muratore described the process of working with a particular book, which, she said, required conservation work in several specialized areas. The book itself is an object, she said, but it required techniques in paper, painting and photography conservation.

​Left: Student Karissa Muratore and NEH Chairman Jon Parrish Peede examine a book in the Winterthur library conservation lab. Right: Melissa Tedone (left), Winterthur book and library conservator and affiliated WUDPAC faculty member, discusses the program’s focus on training future library and archives conservators with NEH Chairman Jon Parrish Peede as WUDPAC students Yan Choi (far right) and Karissa Muratore listen. Photos by Evan Krape and Kathy F. Atkinson.

Peede, who previously worked with a university press, spoke briefly with the students and faculty about a shared love of books.

“It was great training,” he said of that job. “I’d been reading books forever, but I had no idea of them as objects.”

Peede also spoke with students, faculty and staff in the preventive conservation program and in other conservation and scientific labs. He briefly visited a class of first-year graduate students and discussed the importance of disaster preparedness and response.

Throughout the visit, Peede asked questions about techniques and students’ career paths, and pointed out the importance of communicating with the public about the value of humanities.

“We have a commitment to public outreach in all our programs,” said Debra Hess Norris, the Unidel Henry Francis du Pont chair in Fine Arts and chair of the Department of Art Conservation. “We teach our students to think about best practices around the world and about innovative ways to communicate.”


To read the full UDaily article about the NEH visit to UD, click here.

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National Endowment for the Humanities chairman and staff recently toured the University of Delaware and met with WUDPAC faculty and students.

​National Endowment for the Humanities chairman and staff recently toured the University of Delaware and met with WUDPAC faculty and students.

12/15/2018
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  • The Department of Art Conservation
  • 303 Old College
  • University of Delaware
  • Newark, DE 19716, USA
  • Phone: 302-831-3489
  • art-conservation@udel.edu