The TIP-C summer workshops to date gave the students hands-on experience through the focused conservation treatment of a series of wooden and plaster dioramas made for a 1940 Emancipation Exposition. Concurrent with the trend of World Fair Mania which swept the globe in the mid-twentieth century, African Americans planned and orchestrated large-scale fairs called Emancipation Expositions to illustrate the social, economic, and artistic progress made by formerly enslaved people and their descendants since the passage of the Emancipation Proclamation. The American Negro Exposition held in Chicago in 1940 was meant to call attention to the racial inequality experienced by black Americans. This theme was supported by a series of twenty dioramas depicting pivotal moments and achievements by Africans and African Americans in world history from the invention of iron smelting to the discovery of the North Pole. The dioramas were designed by Black Chicago Renaissance artist Charles C. Dawson and constructed by over 70 African American artists and volunteers recruited by New Deal programs. Tragically, the artworks were later damaged during shipment to Tuskegee University where the series was gifted after the conclusion of the exposition. A hurried restoration campaign and decades in storage had rendered the twenty dioramas unexhibitable. The current conservation initiative for these dioramas is being organized in conjunction with the diversity initiatives of UD, Yale, and the HBCU Art Alliance. The goal is to conserve all of twenty dioramas so that they may be exhibited together again while involving professional and aspiring African American art conservators as much as possible. To date, six of the dioramas have been treated: three by UD, and one each by Fisk University, Buffalo State, and the Lunder Center of the Smithsonian American Art Museum.
The first diorama to be extracted from storage at the Tuskegee Legacy Museum for conservation treatment arrived at Winterthur Museum in April of 2017 where it was examined and treated by University of Delaware undergraduate Amanda Kasman ('18) as a senior thesis project. This diorama depicted the arrival of the first African slaves to an English colony in the New World. The participants in the first TIP-C program held in the summer of 2017 assisted Kasman with conducting research while they gained experience in handling of historic objects, x-ray fluorescence instrumentation, examination of cross sections, and wet- and dry-cleaning techniques. The second TIP-C program held in the summer of 2018 focused on the treatment of two other dioramas from the same series, depicting Crispus Attucks, the first martyr of the Boston Massacre, 1770, and Matthew Henson, discoverer and explorer of the North Pole, 1909. The program's participants were again given the opportunity to research the objects and carry out instrumental analysis as well as participate in hands-on conservation treatment surface cleaning, consolidation, and inpainting.