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Alumni Professional Venture Fund awardee strives to bring museum audiences closer to lacquerware objects

Alumni Professional Venture Fund awardee strives to bring museum audiences closer to lacquerware objects

PSP alumna Dr. Maria João Petisca used her funding to partner with national universities in Portugal, studying their lacquer collections to assist in their preservation and access.
 
Art conservation and natural history collections

Art conservation and natural history collections

A taxidermy pigeon guillemot was restored to its lively appearance under the care of Winterthur/University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation Fellow Nicole Chausse.
 
WUDPAC summer and third-year placements

WUDPAC summer and third-year placements

Best wishes to our students as they head out to their training placements around the globe, and our thanks to the wonderful host sites and supervisors who will be working with our students over the next several months.
 
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Working with rare and unique collections

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A conservator places a piece of tissue across a tear in an old book.

​​

​Ferguson mending Santa Anna's Memoirs with a long-fibered mulberry paper and wheat starch paste.​ (Image: Rachel Mochon)​

After my graduation from WUDPAC in August, I was hired as the Book and Paper Conservator for the Campus Conservation Initiative (CCI) at the Harry Ransom Center, the University of Texas at Austin. Through this initiative, I am able to treat items from collections across UT's campus, including items from the Briscoe Center for American History and UT Library special collections—the Benson Latin American Collection and the Alexander Architectural Archives. Each of these partners have incredibly rare and unique collections that are viewed by researchers and classes across the university. Through the CCI, collection items are treated and stabilized for accessibility at no cost to the partner institutions.

Most recently, I've treated the personal memoirs of Mexican president and general Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna. These memoirs were written in his own hand during his exile in the Caribbean in 1872 and were never published within his lifetime. During its time at UT, the manuscript has received a lot of attention from interested parties and therefore suffered signs of wear from frequent use. To remedy this, I mended the torn or weak pages and reinforced them using a long-fibered mulberry paper and wheat starch paste. This process, a common process in conservation, stabilizes the pages and is fully reversible. Now the memoirs can be viewed and accessed safely at the Benson!

This is just one of many projects I'll be working on this year as a part of the CCI. Next, I'll be working on a diary from a soldier in the Civil War from the Briscoe Center for American History, and some architectural drawings of the original UT Austin Memorial Football Stadium held in the Alexander Architectural Archives. There is no limit to the amazing things found across the University of Texas's campus, and I'm excited to see more and get the word out about this initiative!

– Kaeley Ferguson​, WUDPAC Class of 2023


To read more about Kaeley's​ work  at the Harry Ransom Center, check out the recent article in The Daily Texan.

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pictures of a manuscript page before and after mending

​The manuscript before (left) and after (right) treatment. (Image: Kaeley Ferguson​)

"Mis memorias, Escritas de mi puño y letra sin ayuda de nadie, en mi último destierro," Santa Anna's Memoirs. Genaro Garcia Manuscripts, Benson Latin American Collection, LLILAS Benson Latin American Studies and Collections, The University of Texas at Austin​.

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Following graduation, WUDPAC alumna Kaeley Ferguson (Class of 2023) joined the conservation staff at the Harry Ransom Center where she works with special collections and archives material from across the Austin campus at the University of Texas.
 
 
11/9/2023
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