“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.