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Public Outreach

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​Enjoy sorting through your family photographs and learn how to care for them by reading the "Caring for Family Treasures" series (Image courtesy Annabelle Camp.)

Our students and faculty are committed to meaningful work that advances our profession and contributes to the growth of conservation research and practice at Winterthur and the University of Delaware as well as nationally and internationally. Our work is focused on engaging members of the public and scholarly audiences alike. 

Caring for Family Treasures

Our new series offering tips on Caring for Family Treasures for our UD community and beyond has been widely distributed online. These e-blasts were written primarily by our graduate students and published weekly. As noted in our premise: 

While those of us in the conservation department are working from home, we are finding comfort in our family heirlooms and treasures—many of which require our attention… While we all turn to our family treasures during these trying times, the conservation department would like to share tips on ways to care for your personal collections.

We have shared these posts with alums, friends, donors, high-school counselors and teachers, colleagues, and other groups, and posted links to the series on our social media. The response has been overwhelmingly positive. Below is a full list of topics, with links to the individual posts (a PDF containing all of the posts is available for download):

Attics and Basements and Closets, Oh My! Caring for Family Treasures

Attics and Basements and Closets, Oh My! Part 2: Family Albums

Attics and Basements and Closets, Oh My! Part 3: Works on Paper

Attics and Basements and Closets, Oh My! Part 4: Library Collections

Attics and Basements and Closets, Oh My! Part 5: Pests and Preventive Conservation

Attics and Basements and Closets, Oh My! Part 6: Water Emergencies and Salvage

Attics and Basements and Closets, Oh My! Part 7: Rugs and Carpets

Attics and Basements and Closets, Oh My! Part 8: Upholstery

Attics and Basements and Closets, Oh My! Part 9: Small Needleworks

Attics and Basements and Closets, Oh My! Part 10: Quilts and Bedspreads

Attics and Basements and Closets, Oh My! Part 11: Clothing

Attics and Basements and Closets, Oh My! Part 12: Ceramics

Attics and Basements and Closets, Oh My! Part 13: Basketry

Attics and Basements and Closets, Oh My! Part 14: Glassware

Attics and Basements and Closets, Oh My! Part 15: Metal Jewelry

Attics and Basements and Closets, Oh My! Part 16: Plastics

Attics and Basements and Closets, Oh My! Part 17: Paintings

Attics and Basements and Closets, Oh My! Part 18: Furniture

Attics and Basements and Closets, Oh My! Part 19: Gilded Frames

Attics and Basements and Closets, Oh My! Part 20: Musical Instruments

Fostering Students' Commitment to Public Outreach

All of our students, undergraduate, graduate, and PhD, are encouraged to find ways to connect with the public and the wider conservation community.

Undergraduate service activities have included a variety of projects at the local, national and international levels. The students have worked with the Newark Historical Society to take on collections care and the creation of policy, aided the Newark African American Community to create a walking tour, and collaborated with the Engineering Department at UD with the treatment of a terracotta wall with salt issues. 

In addition to participating in projects, such as the Caring for Family Treasures series, graduate students participate in and lead public tours of the conservation department, write blogs and e-blasts about their projects and post on the department's social media accounts. Our third-year students are especially encouraged to fully engage in the work of their internship host institutions, as well as find ways to connect with the wider conservation community. A recent example includes:

Melissa King (NEH Fellow), who is currently the Preventive Conservator and Liaison to the Preservation Community at Conserv, was instrumental in connecting people who eventually gathered at Winterthur for the two-day Getty Conservation Institute sponsored meeting, Tools for Temperature and Humidity Analysis in Collection Care. This meeting brought together conservation scientists, data scientists, architect, engineers, and conservators from the US and Europe. The goal was to share details of tools currently in development in various institutions and combine efforts to make these tools accessible to collection care professionals with a wide range of expertise and needs. 

This dedication to service continues after graduation. Our graduates are responsible for public advocacy, nationwide disaster response and recovery efforts, revisions to professional guidelines and codes of ethics, and current work toward the development and implementation of professional certification. Their contributions have helped small Alaskan institutions safeguard important collections by identifying mystery "white residues" through social media, including the blog "What's that White Stuff - Caring for Alaskan Artifacts", preserve the legacy of a historically African American community in Newark, DE, and conserve important art collections in museums across the nation.

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Public Outreach
  • The Department of Art Conservation
  • 303 Old College
  • University of Delaware
  • Newark, DE 19716, USA
  • Phone: 302-831-3489
  • art-conservation@udel.edu