My projects have been varied, as the objects lab is
responsible for the non-archaeological ceramics, stone, glass, metal, and
organic objects in the collection. I have treated
everything from 18th-century firearms to a 19th-century
rocking horse. Some of the materials, like the silver collection, are similar
to the types of collections that Winterthur also houses, and I am therefore
familiar with them. Others, such as Colonial Williamsburg’s wonderful folk art
collection, have been a great opportunity to learn about something new.
Most of the objects that come into the lab do so because of
their inclusion a future exhibit or loan. One of the more involved objects I
have treated so far was a 18th-century Derby porcelain figure of
Juno. She is part of a matching pair with a Jupiter figure, and they both came
into the collection recently with old failing restorations. Juno’s repairs were
far more extensive, with six major fills, most of which X-radiography revealed
were supported with metal pins. I replaced or altered all of these, creating
stable fills with a more appropriate aesthetic for the figure.
What I enjoyed the most about treating Juno was how
re-creating her fills as accurately as possible required taking into
consideration the curator’s input, references provided by museums which had
somewhat comparable figures, comparison to the paired figure, and a few clues
from the object itself. The detective work of piecing together all of the
available information, drawn from research and analysis, before coming to a
conclusion is one of the most satisfying aspects of conservation!
—Cassia Balogh, WUDPAC Class of 2019