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News Student Blog: Colonial Williamsburg Foundation

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Left: Figure of Juno before and after treatment. Right: Removing fill materials from the previous restorations (image by Kate McEnroe).

Since the beginning of September, I have been completing my third-year internship in the objects lab at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. CWF has a great conservation department with nine specialized labs that share a building with most of the curatorial staff. Everyone works together to support both the Colonial Williamsburg historic area and the museums. It has been great to learn from not only my collections colleagues, but the tradesmen and women in the historic area as well. I know I will likely never get the chance to have this level of multifaceted experience again.

​Left: Spray lacquering a silver candlestick (image by Tina Gessler). Right: Photographic documentation of a musket before treatment (image by Kate McEnroe).

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

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In this blog post, WUDPAC Class of 2019 Fellow Cassia Balogh shares her experience as an intern in the object lab at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, including her work replacing fills on an 18th-century porcelain figure.

​In this blog post, WUDPAC Class of 2019 Fellow Cassia Balogh shares her experience as an intern in the object lab at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, including her work replacing fills on an 18th-century porcelain figure.

3/31/2019
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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