Sign In
  • UD Search

News Student Blog: Penn Museum

Image Picker for Section 0

T​epe Gawra bowl fragments during treatment. Penn Museum collection, 37-16-110

A collection of one million objects provides ample opportunities for digging deeper. At the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology (Penn Museum), the objects conservation lab brings ancient objects in touch with new technology. Archaeological materials can hold centuries of riddles, from their original creation and use to their excavation and treatment history. Preserving these ancient materials involves a cohesive combination of contextual research, scientific analysis, and carefully considered treatment plans. After finishing my second year in the Winterthur/University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation (WUDPAC), I set out to explore the preservation and conservation of archaeological objects, both in the field and in a museum setting.

The exploration began with a serious change of scenery, from Wilmington, Delaware to the Gordion excavations in small town Yassıhöyük, Turkey. First-hand experience with objects on site was markedly different from daily life at Winterthur Museum, although the resourcefulness and problem-solving skills that I have been developing as a student were useful parts of my toolkit.

Primed with an improved understanding of archaeological field work, I returned to the Philadelphia area to settle into my third-year internship placement at the Penn Museum. Due to the strong partnership between the Penn Museum and WUDPAC, I had been able to catch glimpses of work in the conservation lab during my first two years in graduate school. Now, as an intern, I am fully immersed in the bustle of a large university museum. Currently, my desk is populated by ceramic bowls from Tepe Gawra, an ancient Mesopotamian settlement located in present-day Iraq. The large-scale reinstallation of the museum’s Middle Eastern Gallery calls for hundreds of objects, and each one will be assessed and stabilized before display. Preparations for the event have also happily reunited me with a familiar face, a Mesopotamian copper alloy bull relief that I researched and treated as a second-year fellow. Now, I will be able to make final adjustments and witness the long-awaited installation of this remarkable object.

The first month of my internship has already included a diverse array of new experiences, from exhibition design sneak peaks to 3D microscopy training. I am eager to delve deeper into the study of complex objects, such as a 5 ½ foot tall mosaic column with elaborate shell and stone inlay. My treatment projects are complemented by a lively sense of community and interdisciplinary collaboration, which builds on my previous experiences as a WUDPAC fellow. Nestled in a hub of research activity and technological resources, I look forward to continuing my journey through the unique challenges of archaeological conservation.

— Julia Commander, WUDPAC Class of 2017

​Tepe Gawra bowl fragments joined. Penn Museum collection, 37-16-110

​Mosaic column with shell and stone inlay (detail). Penn Museum collection, B15887

News Story Supporting Images and Text
Used in the Home Page News Listing and for the News Rollup Page
In this blog post, WUDPAC Class of 2017 Fellow Julia Commander gives us a glimpse into her internship at the UPenn Museum, where the conservation lab brings ancient objects in touch with new technology.

In this blog post, WUDPAC Class of 2017 Fellow Julia Commander gives us a glimpse into her internship at the UPenn Museum, where the conservation lab brings ancient objects in touch with new technology.​

10/24/2016
Page Settings and MetaData:
(Not Shown on the Page)
Page Settings
Student Blog: Penn Museum
 
No
 
 
MetaData for Search Engine Optimization
 Student Blog: Penn Museum
 
  • The Department of Art Conservation
  • 303 Old College
  • University of Delaware
  • Newark, DE 19716, USA
  • Phone: 302-831-3489
  • art-conservation@udel.edu