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News Student Blog: Lunder Conservation Center

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​Left: WUDPAC Fellow Leila Sabouni vacuuming Game Fish. Right: Using CO2 snow to remove statically attached dust from the more stable surfaces on Game Fish. (Photos: Laura Hoffman)

Spending my third year at the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s (SAAM) Lunder Conservation Center has been a really exciting and different experience. I have encountered materials I wouldn’t have expected and I have faced conservation challenges that have really tested my skills and adaptability. The Lunder Conservation Center is an ideal location for learning and engaging with other conservation and museum professionals.

Since starting my internship, I have worked on a variety of objects, as the Objects Conservation Lab is in charge of the conservation and preservation of not only the three-dimensional objects in the SAAM collection, but most of the Renwick Gallery’s collection of craft objects as well. Under the supervision of SAAM Objects Conservator, Gregory Bailey, I have been able to examine and treat a variety of materials. My more in-depth projects have included the cleaning of Larry Fuente’s Game Fish, a large assemblage of plastic toys in the shape of a sailfish; stabilization of Untitled, by Leroy Person, a wooden table coated in crayon; and the cleaning of a weathered marble sculpture by artist Chauncey Bradley Ives.

Two of these treatments are ongoing, but the treatment of Game Fish is finished and the sculpture was recently reinstalled along with a number of other objects from permanent collection at the Renwick Gallery. The Renwick Gallery is a part of SAAM, but focuses on contemporary craft, and is located in a historic building opposite the White House.

​WUDPAC Fellow Leila Sabouni giving a public gallery talk on the treatment of Game Fish. (Photo: Laura Hoffman)

This treatment was particularly exciting as it was a combination of new experiences and materials. Plastics were not something I had worked with before, so learning more about their cleaning and maintenance was a valuable experience. The treatment was mostly surface cleaning, and gave me an opportunity to research and try carbon dioxide (CO2) snow cleaning, which was effective at removing the dust that remained statically attached to the surface even after vacuuming. During this treatment I was able to speak to numerous visitors and public tours that came through the Lunder Conservation Center, as Game Fish was a huge draw for visitors. To celebrate the re-opening of the permanent collection at the Renwick, my supervisor and I gave a gallery talk on the conservation of three works that were treated in preparation for reinstallation, including my treatment of Game Fish.

My internship at the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Lunder Conservation Center has been incredibly valuable, allowing me to pursue treatments I am interested in, and encouraging outreach opportunities.

—Leila Sabouni, WUDPAC Class of 2019

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In this blog post, WUDPAC Class of 2019 Fellow Leila Sabouni discusses facing unexpected materials and conservation challenges as an intern at the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Lunder Conservation Center.

In this blog post, WUDPAC Class of 2019 Fellow Leila Sabouni discusses facing unexpected materials and conservation challenges as an intern at the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Lunder Conservation Center.

4/30/2019
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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