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Undergraduate student Yuli Luna Colon assembles a gardiniere from the Winterthur Conservation Department teaching collection during an internship in Old College Hall (Image credit Madeline Hagerman, University of Delaware).
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The University of Delaware's Art Conservation department offers an undergraduate degree in art conservation that helps prepare students for graduate-level study in the conservation of material culture, historic preservation, museum studies, library science, or other allied fields. Material culture includes all objects made or modified by humans, such as photographs, archival documents, decorative and fine art objects, clothing, domestic possessions, toys, tools, machines, motion pictures and videotape, ethnographic materials, archaeological objects, natural history specimens, architecture, and more! To learn more, check out this presentation. Our Value Statement reflects our commitment to educating professionals skilled in the analysis, treatment, and preservation of cultural artifacts by connecting disciplines in the arts, humanities, and sciences.
Historic image of Old College on the University of Delaware campus.
Amaris Sturm, alumni of both the undergraduate and masters programs at UD conserves a chandelier as part of her WUDPAC third-year internship at the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore.
The undergraduate major in art conservation began in 1971 as an interdepartmental degree based in art history and chemistry. Between 1979 and 1981, this interdisciplinary degree was renamed Technology of Art and Historic Objects (TAH) and revised to ensure consistency with admission requirements for graduate study in art conservation. In 1993, the name of the major was changed once again to Art Conservation (ARTC). Extensive revisions in 1993-1995 reduced the credit requirements in art history, chemistry, and the history of materials and techniques, created a two-semester required course sequence focused on the care of cultural property (ARTC 301 and 302), and allowed for the development of a new concentration in collections care, jointly sponsored with the museum studies minor. The collections care concentration required less chemistry but added introductory course work in museum studies.
In 2006 with over 70 students in the major and a full-time undergraduate director, changes were made to accommodate the growth of the pre-graduate studies concentration. Art conservation majors can and still do plan on collections care and museum careers by making accommodations for internships and choosing electives in these areas. Now that an undergraduate degree in art conservation is offered at five other colleges nationally, we have about 40 undergraduate majors at any one time. Approximately 35% of our graduates attend art conservation graduate programs, but many chose to go into graduate programs in related fields, such as: libraries, archives, historic preservation, museum studies, art history, or anthropology. Our undergraduate degree is truly interdisciplinary and makes the most of a liberal arts education!