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News Where to go to watch the paint dry

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​Left: Program Manager Laura Hoffman, Paintings Conservator Gwen Manthey (WUDPAC 2011), and Chief Conservator Amber Kerr (WUDPAC 2008) in the paintings conservation studio at the Lunder Conservation Center, Smithsonian American Art Museum. Right: The entrance hallway at the Lunder Conservation Studio. (Images courtesy of the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Photos by Laura Hoffman.)

​WUDPAC alumnae are featured in a recent New York Times story about the increasing popularity of open conservation labs in museums. Excerpted from the January 21, 2020 article by Lauren Sloss:


In the never-ending quest for engagement in a short attention-span world, museums around the world have long looked for ways to spice up visitor experiences. But as after-hours gatherings and dedicated Instagram experiences continue to take off, a time-honored practice has surprisingly gained traction, and become a destination-worthy draw: conservation, or art restoration, done in the public eye. “Open conservation,” or art-restoration labs set up to be viewed, and sometimes, interacted with, have increasingly become a part of museums’ offerings. Promising transparency in practices, open conservation ideally engages museumgoers on a deeper level. Higher profile conservation projects are gaining attention, from the live, multimedia-supported restoration of Rembandt’s “The Night Watch” at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam to this year’s new, open conservation lab at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. It might be worth working into your next travel itinerary, whether you’re a dedicated conservation nerd or a casual art appreciator, one of these four stateside spots to watch conservation in action. . . .

The Lunder Conservation Center at the Smithsonian American Art Museum was one of the first to open a visible conservation center, just over 13 years ago. “It’s not just the painting on the wall or the sculpture you can’t touch,” explains Amber Kerr, the chief of conservation at the museum. “It’s an inlet into the complexity of the art world. We talk about x-rays, unique gadgets that look at art in a unique way. It’s not something you need a higher art knowledge to appreciate.” Since then, their programming has grown to include conservation workshops, focusing on topics like the effects of climate change on cultural heritage, and tours and activities targeting families across five laboratories and studios. “We’re getting this heightened awareness that these things are fragile and that they can disappear,” Ms. Kerr said. “People are seeing the responsibility of preserving cultural heritage. They want to know what goes into it.”


To read about all the open conservation labs profiled in the article, visit the New York Times website here.

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WUDPAC alumnae are featured in a recent New York Times story about the increasing popularity of open conservation labs in museums.

​WUDPAC alumnae are featured in a recent New York Times story about the increasing popularity of open conservation labs in museums.

1/19/2020
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Where to go to watch the paint dry
 
  • The Department of Art Conservation
  • 303 Old College
  • University of Delaware
  • Newark, DE 19716, USA
  • Phone: 302-831-3489
  • art-conservation@udel.edu