Debra Hess Norris, the Unidel Henry Francis du Pont Chair in Fine Arts and chair of the Department of Art Conservation, has been described by the College Art Association as someone who has "perhaps done more than any single individual in the 21st century to further the cause of preservation of cultural heritage, both nationally and internationally.” She stunned the Thompson Theatre audience with before-and-after slides of the work her students and collaborators have done to salvage photographs from fires, floods and other perilous conditions, restore objects to brilliance and piece together shattered treasures. She talked about the friendships built during travels around the world – to the Middle East, Cuba, Africa, Asia, Europe – to learn and share methods with others, some of whom have no trained conservators in their region. She showed poignant family photos, others' and her own, that help people understand their heritage and historic events. Photos, objects and notes also can provide great comfort in times of grief, she said, noting that they have done so for her and her family in recent days. "This University is comprised of dedicated and talented individuals who care deeply about the personal success and personal well-being of others," she said. "This is the University of Delaware we are so proud of, that we believe in."
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