Wednesday, September 28, 2011

New ECPN Officers

ECPN was very fortunate to have so many strong candidates interested in a leadership role on the committee. We are pleased to announce the following new officers:


Molly Gleeson

San Diego, CA

Vice Chair

Eliza Spaulding

Philadelphia, PA

Outreach Co-Coordinator

Anisha Gupta

Champaign, IL

Outreach Co-Coordinator

Megan Salazar-Walsh

Buffalo, NY

Carrie Roberts will continue as Professional Education and Training Coordinator, Amber Kerr-Allison will continue as Professional Development and Training Coordinator through December, and Amy Brost will continue as Communications Coordinator.

Please join us in thanking outgoing Chair Rose Cull and outgoing Outreach Coordinator Heather Brown for all their hard work to help make ECPN what it is today.

The officers are looking forward to an exciting and productive year for ECPN. Please note that our monthly meeting time will be changing, so stay tuned for more information on the committee call schedule for the coming year.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Art Conservation Training Programs Outside the USA

Talk to anyone in the profession, and you may hear that a lot has changed in the art conservation field. In the past, conservators often toiled behind the scenes, but in recent years conservation has become a much more visible profession. Today, some museums have conservation labs open to public view. Many institutions and private conservators use social media to get the word out about their work, and exhibitions and the accompanying catalogues often feature the contributions and perspectives of conservators. As a result, more and more people discover conservation, making entry into an academic training program more competitive than ever.

As a prospective student in the US, one way to expand your ideas about your future in the profession might be to consider undergraduate or graduate study outside of the United States and Canada. If you have the flexibility and desire to explore another country and culture, one of these programs might be for you. Some of them offer training in specialties that might mesh with your specific interests and experience, enabling you to make a strong application. (Anyone interested in building and conserving clocks? Set your sights on West Dean!) These programs are often just as competitive as those in the US, if not more so (The Courtauld Institute program accepts eight students once every three years). However, some have a stated interest in receiving applications from candidates outside the country. Perhaps your experiences will bring diversity to the composition of an incoming class, strengthening your application in that way.

If you are not aware of it, Queen’s University in Kingston (Ontario, Canada) has a highly respected graduate program:

Here are a few universities in the UK that offer graduate programs in English. Be sure to contact the schools you are interested in to fully understand how the degrees correspond to those awarded in the US. For example, in the UK, the “first degree” is the bachelor’s and is a 3-year program. Then, you would read for a graduate diploma, usually one year, and a post-graduate diploma after that. Following that, the master’s degree can be earned.

West Dean College

West Sussex, UK

MA, Conservation Studies

Graduate and Post Graduate Diplomas in Books & Library Materials, Clocks, Ceramics, Furniture, Metalwork. Programs in Stringed Instruments and Buildings, Interiors, and Sites.

Camberwell College of Arts, London, UK

MA, Conservation (2-year program new in 2011)

Art on Paper, or Books & Archival Materials

Cardiff University, Wales

School of History, Archaeology, and Religion

BSc, Conservation

MSc, Conservation Practice

Cultural heritage, archaeological materials

City & Guilds of London Art School

BA, Conservation Studies (Stone and wood sculpture)

Post Graduate Diplomas in Conservation

The Courtauld Institute, London

MA, Conservation of Wall Painting

Post Graduate Diploma in the Conservation of Easel Paintings

Hamilton Kerr Institute, University of Cambridge, UK

Postgraduate Diploma, Easel Paintings

Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK

Conservation, Department of Arts within the School of Arts and Social Sciences

MA, Conservation of Fine Art (paintings or works on paper)

MA, Preventive Conservation

Bucks New University, Buckinghamshire, UK

BA, MA Conservation of Furniture and Decorative Arts

London Metropolitan University, London, UK

MA, Conservation (Wood and metal objects; decorative surfaces, architectural interiors)

Lincoln School of Art & Design

University of Lincoln, UK

MA, Conservation of Historic Objects

For archaeological materials, be sure to look into Cardiff (above), UCL Institute of Archaeology in London, offering the MSc (, and Durham University’s MA program (

This list is by no means comprehensive. For example, this list focused on art conservation, but there are a number of programs for buildings and architectural conservation, as well as many schools offering conservation courses. You should definitely visit the “Training” page of the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM) at There, you can search for programs around the world by specialty. Listings indicate the language of instruction. If you happen to explore another program in detail, please let us know so you can write a post about it for this blog! And if there’s a great program you think our readers should know about, feel free to add it in a Comment and provide a link.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Publishing Opportunity for Emerging Conservators: WAAC

WAAC, the Western Association for Art Conservation, is a nonprofit membership organization for professional conservators. WAAC was founded in 1975 to bring together conservators practicing in the western United States to exchange ideas, information and news. Although WAAC is specifically a regional organization for the western states including Alaska and Hawaii, any individual or institution may become a member regardless of location or national boundary.

The WAAC Newsletter is published three times per year, in January, May and September. Over the last few years, each issue has been 28-32 pages long. The Newsletter contains feature articles, regional news, a technical exchange column, a health and safety column, conference reviews, an events calendar, positions available and a publications section. Newsletters are available online at the website approximately 6 months after publication.

Students and emerging conservators are welcome to submit content to the Newsletter, especially feature articles or items for the Technical Exchange section. Feature articles can be from any specialty area, or they can focus on a more general topic, such as philosophy, basic science, new technology, exhibition/display, disaster recovery, preservation, and/or business practices.

Also, as of March 2011, authors submitting content for the newsletter can also include a video component. This would be a short clip designed to function as a “video illustration” for a specific point in a written article, much like a traditional figure. The maximum length is five minutes. Complete video submission guidelines are also available on the website. This could enrich your written content and also perhaps expand what you can demonstrate in your article.

If you are not familiar with WAAC but feel you should be, you’re in luck – the group’s Annual Meeting is scheduled to take place in Austin, Texas on October 19-22, 2011. You can download the registration form here.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Publishing Opportunity for Emerging Conservators: Write a Book Review for JAIC

Emerging conservators developing confidence in an area of expertise should consider writing a book review for a print publication or online forum. One publication actively seeking submissions is the Journal of the American Institute for Conservation (JAIC), the peer-reviewed journal of AIC.

According to Harriet K. Stratis, Book Review Editor for the JAIC, there are many books available for reviews, and she welcomes submissions from emerging conservators.

However, to write a successful review, you must be a strong writer and choose a topic to which you can bring a high level of expertise and insight. While this could be a tall order for an emerging conservator, there could be texts that are directly relevant to your education, experience, and current research. If you are interested in learning about the available titles for review, contact Harriet directly; she is at The Art Institute of Chicago and is listed in the AIC Member Directory. Then, if you identify a text you would like to review, you might want to identify an advisor or mentor who can give you tips and feedback before you submit.

For your reference, the complete “Guidelines for JAIC Book Reviewers” appear below:


The purpose of the review is to give readers a sense of the strengths and weaknesses of a publication, and to acknowledge whatever contribution the publication makes to the field and to the literature. The review should succinctly describe the contents of the publication being reviewed. The intended audience, as stated by the authors or as implied, should be identified, and the success with which the book deals with its subject for that audience should be evaluated. Reviewers are encouraged to critically assess the information found in the publication, as well as the method of presentation and point of view, as appropriate. If the publication makes a contribution, for example, of new information, or of compiling previously scattered information, or of publicly voicing for the first time a particular point of view, the contribution should be noted and its relative importance acknowledged.

Reviews of more than one publication on a particular subject are encouraged. Such reviews should provide the information noted above, and in addition may include the reviewer’s assessment of the relative successes of the publications in dealing with aspects of the general subject matter that they share.

Reviews may be of two general types: reviews of single publications and reviews of two or more publications. Suggested maximum length for reviews of single publications is 1000-2000 words (approximately 4-8 typewritten pages). Review of multiple publications may be proportionately longer.

The review should begin with standard bibliographic information and availability, in the following order: 1. Author; 2. Title of Book; 3. City: Publisher, 20XX; 4. xxx pages, hardcover, $xx; 5. (If applicable) AIC member price $xx; 6. (If applicable) Available from Name of Organization, address; 7. ISBN xxxx. The review should end with the reviewer’s name and complete working or institutional address.

Manuscripts must be typed in a 10 or 12 point standard typeface, with paragraphs indented, double-spaced, with reviewer’s name and page number in the upper right corner of each page, and a 1 inch margin or more on all sides.

Reviews will be edited by the Book Review Editor in consultation with the Editor, and sometimes with an Associate Editor in the appropriate specialty. No change in the substance of the text will be made without consulting the reviewer. The Editor of JAIC is the final authority in matters of content. Reviews will be copy edited by the paid copy editors who handle all Journal articles. The reviewer will receive page proofs.

Send the review by e-mail to Harriet K. Stratis (see the AIC Member Directory for details).

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Publishing Opportunities for Students and Emerging Conservators: e-conservation magazine

Online publications and forums offer tremendous opportunities to connect with the conservation community worldwide. One online journal, e-conservation magazine, is a bimonthly publication focusing on the conservation of cultural heritage. In addition to peer-reviewed articles, the magazine includes news, reviews, project reports, and other content as approved by the editorial board. It is published exclusively online, both as a PDF and on a website:

The magazine is an Open Access project, so all issues are free. The editorial board is comprised of conservators and conservation scientists. The magazine is actively seeking papers on a broad range of topics, including treatment case studies, preventive conservation, documentation, theory, and conservation science. Articles from other fields that relate to conservation and restoration are also welcome. Emerging conservators developing confidence in an area of expertise could consider writing a book review of a conservation text.

Prospective authors may check the suitability of their submission before writing a full paper or article by using the preliminary submission form on the website. In particular, this could be a useful route for students who are interested in publishing in the magazine, and want to utilize their time most effectively. The magazine hopes this will encourage student submissions; in the past, e-conservation magazine has published articles, conference and book reviews, case studies, and project reports written by students.

While there are submission deadlines listed on the website, full and preliminary submissions are accepted at any time and are evaluated for the next available issue.

If you are interested in publishing in e-conservation magazine, visit the website for complete information, and to read the current issue as well as issues from the archive.

Below are some helpful links to get you started:

· The details about how to submit articles of any sort, including book reviews, can be found at:

· The email address for submissions is submission [at]

· The preliminary submission form can be found at:

· The submission deadlines can be found at:

Even if you’re not ready to submit an article, this is definitely a publication to bookmark and read regularly. You can also find e-conservation on Facebook and Twitter, and you can follow their daily online newspaper (, so there are several ways to stay plugged in to this valuable resource.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

July Meeting Minutes

July meeting minutes were approved on the 9/13/11 call.


July 21, 2011

Conference Call Attendees:

Rose Cull

Ryan Winfield

Heather Brown

Amy Brost

Rebecca Rushfield

Stephanie Lussier

Stephanie Porto

Amber Kerr-Allison

Gwen Manthey

Ruth Seyler

I. June Minutes

a. Not everyone received the June minutes. Rose will send out again. Call for approval will occur on the next call.

II. Officer Vacancies

a. Transition of officers: Ruth suggested a two-year term for the chair position for continuity purposes, with all other committee positions at one year. Also, she recommends the chair be a few years out of a graduate program – if possible, a PA – in order to provide guidance to all levels of emerging conservators. Rose mentioned that the new chair should also have a different background than herself, and thus different ideas. Stephanie Lussier suggested the term follow the same timeline as the other AIC committees, beginning right after the annual meeting. Rose and Ruth are going to reach out to a few individuals they believe would suit the position and may be interested. Those nearing the end of a grad program are busiest. Someone with 1-2 years experience may be more willing to make the time commitment.

b. Those on the call agreed that inviting candidates was appropriate, especially because the committee is still somewhat new, so members have not had an opportunity to move up through the ranks.

c. There will be a voting process - candidates will be put to the committee for approval.

III. Angels Project 2012

a. Ruth is in the process of exploring sites for the Angels Project in Albuquerque. ECPN will step in once the site is selected to help with marketing, providing volunteers, etc.

b. Moving toward doing two projects at the annual meetings.

IV. Expanding Participation on ECPN Calls

a. The idea came up to attempt to involve the broader ECPN network on calls. Currently, the ECPN officers, staff and board liaisons, and partners participate, but others typically do not.

b. Perhaps invite the full network for a "forum" type of call with a special agenda. Try to get more people involved between being a member of the network and becoming a committee officer.

c. Reach out to East Carolina University, Cardiff, etc. - include students of schools outside of ANAGPIC.

d. The frequency of the “forum” call could be every third or fourth call, depending on how many topics are on the list. One idea for a topic is a discussion of internships. Ryan suggested maintaining a list of topics and then doing a forum call when there are four topics, with a goal to have a full-network call roughly 3 times per year.

e. Perhaps see if any topics are specific projects, and see if volunteers would work on a project basis (research, etc.) and then bring findings/work back to full group for discussion.

V. Mentoring Program

a. Rose is seeking mentors - one for paintings and a few for people without an interest in a specific specialty area. Ryan mentioned that a few mentor applications have come in.

b. The online application form could be updated to include a space to make a note if the person is applying in response to a request to mentor a specific person.

c. Rose will be drafting a mentor invitation letter.

d. Amber asked if perhaps publishing mentee profiles that prospective mentors could browse to see if they were interested? Rose indicated that there would need to be a place on the application to give permission for this.

e. Rose mentioned that conservators could add "mentoring" to their profile in the AIC Directory to show they mentor in some way - whether by taking pre-program people or by participating as a mentor in the Mentoring Program.

f. Important that the mentoring offer not be broad and open-ended, because people want to respond to specific needs, rather than make broad, open-ended commitments to mentor anyone who calls.

VI. Student/Emerging Members

a. Rebecca has drafted a letter to encourage the committees and SG's to have student/emerging members. It will be emailed out to all specialty groups and AIC committees. Rose will send the final letter to ECPN dist list.

b. Could take it back to the program heads to show them that opportunities exist for students to get involved.

c. Rose is writing an article for AIC News about this.

VII. Annual Meeting 2011 ECPN Survey Results

a. Ryan will send out to everyone. Nothing too unexpected. Most people attended the Portfolio Review, followed by attending the Informational Meeting and viewing the poster.

b. Most people found out about ECPN events through the meeting program, followed by email and Facebook.

c. The highest rated event was the Portfolio Session, followed by the poster.

d. Most people by far wanted to see a dinner or Happy Hour take place outside of the annual meeting (84.2%), and there was also high interest in a Portfolio Session and Informational Meeting outside of the AIC meeting.

e. Roughly 1/3 of the respondents were conservators, 1/3 graduate students, 1/3 pre-program. The smallest number was undergrads or people in related fields.

f. Most people prefer email as a way to keep up with ECPN. We don't do much email now, so perhaps enhance that.

g. Most people, over half, want to participate in a future Angels Project (57.1%). Next was participating in Mentoring Program (nearly 40%). Smaller interest in a future Portfolio Session or serving on a committee.

h. Ryan will send any comments that respondents wrote in, but there were not many. Most were very positive comments about the Portfolio Session.

VIII. Outreach

a. Heather Brown will be attending graduate school in the fall, so this will most likely be her last ECPN call as Outreach Coordinator.

b. Ryan will give Heather list of people interested in blogging.

c. Amber noted some summer interns, etc. have blogs. Suggested Heather ask if they will guest-blog for ECPN.

d. Overhaul blog when AIC website updated. Move to different platform?

e. Ryan indicated that the new website is still being discussed, so what will happen with the blog is not yet known. Discussion is slated for the end of the summer. New website launch date slated for October. New blog will most likely be a Wordpress format that integrates better with the CMS.

f. Heather is doing a networking toolkit, like AAM's. Many people want to network with people in their area. She is working on a blog post on this.

g. Heather/Amber suggested a map, or way to show where network members are located. Perhaps do this in partnerships with the regional guilds.

h. Washington and Philadelphia will have new liaisons. Amber will see if Richmond area can identify a liaison also.

IX. Communications

a. After completing the flier and poster, the Communications project load is fairly light. Amy is working on several blog posts.

b. Amber suggested tapping into the Public Outreach/Engagement theme for Albuquerque. Develop a poster about how emerging conservators are leveraging social media and other tactics to create awareness of their activities. Solicit input from network. Session? Poster? Panel? See what ECPN can contribute to 2012 annual meeting on this theme.

X. Education & Training Updates

a. Amber has the survey results from the graduate meeting at AIC and the student research repository meeting. Those results will be shared in an upcoming call.

b. Attaining PA status: More PA's could be a way to bring in more mentors. Talk to graduate programs about how to discuss this more. Draft something for the programs to send to their graduates. Encourage PA status among post-graduate fellows. Make the case for being a PA for conservators. But also have a list for why people within and outside the field should care about PA's and Fellows. Now that the debate about certification is behind us, perhaps time for another push for the PA program.

XI. ECC Update

a. CAC Board now has an emerging conservator. Meaghan Monaghan is a co-chair of the ECC, and there are a few new members. The group is in a state of transition. CAC is revamping its website. ECC will have a new presence on the new CAC website.

XII. Communication with Grad Programs outside ANAGPIC

a. First have blog posts about them, and then once the programs learn about each other, look for ways to collaborate.

b. IIC in September (panel) - at the conference, Amber will talk to them about blogging for ECPN

XIII. Emerging Museum Professionals Group for AAM

a. Panel on conservation training, at the 2013 meeting. Rose suggested that the AAM proposal be revisited in March.

The next call will be August 18 at 1:00 pm ET.

Respectfully submitted,

Amy Brost

June Meeting Minutes

June meeting minutes were approved on the 9/13/11 call.

ECPN conference call Agenda June 16, 2011 1PM EST

Call 1- 866-225-4944. ID: 9992396916

Stephanie Lussier

Emily Williams

Carrie Roberts

Heather Brown

Rose Cull

Ryan Winfield

Annual meeting recap

Informational Meeting – next year it would be helpful to have a bigger room, more introductory information about the ECPN and what it is, a packet including an agenda, previous meetings minutes, and the flier about ECPN which can be distributed to all attendees at the informational meeting to give more information about the group.

Happy Hour – It was really successful and we thought it was good to keep it casual next year. Rose estimated around 40 people attended the happy hour, and it included emerging conservators who had a chance to network amongst themselves and established conservators who were interested or looking for interns.

Portfolio Session – next year a bigger room and an additional table would make the session more comfortable. Perhaps in a thoroughfare would encourage more dropping by and make the session more casual. There was some concern expressed that this portfolio session could mis-represent the requirements to be accepted into a particular graduate program. Carrie and Amber will approach their contacts at the graduate programs, give them a summary of how successful the portfolio session was, thank them for their participation and the participation of their students, and in a conversational way discuss the future of this project or a similar project at the 2012 meeting. Please CC Rose on this conversation.

Angels Project – Angels 2011 had a good turn out and Rose has written up a summary on the AIC blog. For Angels 2012 Rose was hoping there could be a public art project similar to the work Richard McCoy is doing on Wikipedia ( Stephanie will follow-up with the AIC board and Ruth Seyler and see if an ABQ saving public art project for Angels 2012 would work.

The Education and Training meeting about student research was well-attended and productive, representatives from: Buffalo, UCLA/Getty, Delaware, Jerry Podany, talked about the model the database should take, whether on CoOL or on university websites, abstracting student work and putting those on AATA would be a huge benefit. A url link to the .pdf of the student work could go on AATA. ECPN will contact the graduate programs about what types of research their students produce, since the students carry out different types of projects, there are certain types of projects produced by different programs. Students could abstract their work, but the full text may be owned by the university.

The ETC general meeting welcomed Emily Williams as the new chair of ETC.

A survey will be going out in the next few days to those who signed up at the ECPN informational meeting. There were many interested inquiries and it is hoped the survey will better direct the ECPN to interested individuals who would like to stay involved.

The Mentoring Program is still looking for more mentor applications, Rose will mail an application to David Bayne and Lynn Grant, and encourage others who expressed interest to become PA’s. Ryan is sending an e-mail blast to PA s and Fellows next week. In the future, ECPN could ask to have names submitted for mentors and then contact those directly. Rose is following up with Stephanie about the mentoring program.

PA Status

The ECPN is promoting the attainment of PA status, and there has been discussion about how to best go about promoting this. A few conversations at the annual meeting reminded member of ECPN about the differences in what is required to be a PA and what conservators believe is required. It was interesting to note that most applicants for PA status include more information than they need to and do not specifically answer some of the ethical questions that are posed as part of the application. The ECPN will partner with the North American graduate programs to encourage the attainment of PA status for students with 3+ years of experience.

Call for new committee members

(Chair, Vice-Chair, Outreach) please direct those interested to Rose Cull

ECPN Archives

Time to organize the archives for the ECPN, this will include minutes from all meetings, all publication materials, and additional materials – individual committee members will send Ryan the digital files and he will save them to the server. Amy and Heather will send Ryan copies of the minutes, Amber and Carrie will send Ryan copies of proposal they wrote for the student research repository and relevant communication with graduate programs about the portfolio session, Rose will send her application for a discussion at AAM, and any other relevant information you would like included in the archive should be sent.

Suggestions from annual meeting – involve more students in programs like the East Carolina Maritime studies program - Stephanie suggested contacting her classmate Emily O’Brien about working as a conservator with archaeologists. Emily Williams is interested in ECPN having more outreach in archaeological conservation, especially international to include: UCL, Cardiff, and Durham in the UK. Emily is following up with an intern in her lab who is currently a student in the Cardiff program. ICCROM has a search function to find graduate programs by country which could also be useful in making contacts ( Actually having a project these students could contribute to would be necessary to build this relationship.

We were very happy with using social media to get the word out about events at the AIC annual meeting. Next year the AIC twitter would be available to post more updates about ECPN events.


Amy submitted communications updates by e-mail:

I collected a number of names of people who could write blog content. I will follow up and facilitate the development of posts on:

1. Conservation education programs in other countries;

2. Voices of people in the conservation field who did not go the route of an art conservation graduate program for their training

I will write the following posts:

1. Complete the book reviews post;

2. Conservator oral history project spearheaded by Joyce Hill-Stoner;

3. Overview of programs by Heritage Preservation, based on their annual meeting, which I attended during AIC

On our next call I can provide an update on the Publications and Wiki meetings I attended during AIC. Progress on both is slow but steady.

Respectfully Submitted,

Rose Cull

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Publishing Opportunities for Emerging Conservators: News In Conservation IIC Newsletter

The International Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (IIC) is a London-based membership organization with worldwide reach. IIC members come not only from the conservation community, but also from many other fields engaged in cultural heritage preservation.

IIC is particularly committed to emerging conservators. In fact, as a reminder, the organization is hosting the “Student and Emerging Conservator Conference – Conservation: Futures and Responsibilities” on September 16-17 in London. Presentations can be viewed as live web broadcasts, so if you can’t make it to London, you can still see the sessions via streaming video. (Visit the website ( or see the 7/14/11 announcement on this blog for details.)

As an extension of its support for emerging conservators, IIC welcomes their contributions to its newsletter, News in Conservation, which is published six times per year. Just this month, the newsletter completed an exciting transformation to an all-digital format, which will soon present new opportunities for authors to include live links and other web-enabled features in their articles. The new editor, Barbara Borghese, would especially encourage emerging conservators to submit articles ranging from news features and longer articles to shorter items for “News in Brief.” One suggested topic would be to report on internships and fellowships, with descriptions of the treatments and projects carried out at the host institutions. Another topic of interest would be reports from emerging conservators who have attended courses, workshops or seminars, particularly local or less-publicized ones.

The next deadline for submission of long features is November 1st for the December issue. Anything else such as news articles, news in brief, reports etc. can be submitted up until two weeks prior to publication. If you have an idea for a submission to News in Conservation but you have questions or would like some advice, you can contact Barbara at news [at] iiconservation [dot] org, or start by visiting the web page for the newsletter, where you can download the “Guidelines for Authors” PDF.

At a future date, IIC may have a need for contributors to its blog, but not at the present time. In the coming months, IIC plans to enhance its blog, as well as its presence on Facebook and Twitter, so keep an eye out for those developments. In the meantime, visit the website, which has a “Students” section, and consider becoming a Student member for around $30 US (for full-time conservation students). If you are not a conservation student, anyone can become an Individual member for around $90 US. The subscription year just started; it runs from July 1, 2011 to July 1, 2012. It would be great for each of us to get involved with IIC at a time when the group is doing so much to reach out to our community of emerging conservators.

Discussion with Sculpture Conservator MC Reiley

MC Reiley, Associate Director of Preservation and Conservation at The Central Park Conservancy (CPC), came to his current position by an interesting route. After receiving a BFA in sculpture and art history, he trained at a foundry and also studied masonry conservation and historic preservation. He is currently responsible for the preservation and conservation of the monuments and structures in Central Park, located in the heart of New York City. Each summer, he selects a small group of conservation students for the Monuments Conservation Internship Program, offered by CPC with a grant from The Charles Evans Hughes Memorial Foundation Inc. and the Samuel H. Kress Foundation. This paid internship gives participants the opportunity to participate in a range of conservation projects and develop their skills in hands-on examination, documentation, routine maintenance, and conservation treatments. He also started the AbOmInOg Intl. Arts Collective in Trenton, New Jersey, which nurtures creative metalworking talent. Since many of the readers of the ECPN blog are aspiring conservators, we asked him to share more about his career path with us.

Q. You originally studied sculpture. How did you find out about the conservation profession, and how did you get started?

A. Growing up my father was a collector of arms and armor, which he also restored with the help of fellow collectors and a conservator or two. I liked lending a hand with his various projects and that experience helped steer me towards sculpture. After college, I entered into an apprenticeship in a fine art foundry where I had a stint in the painting and conservation department. I first began practicing outdoor sculpture conservation full time when I joined the Conservancy in 2003.

Q. How did your hands-on experience in a foundry make you a better conservator today?

A. The experience helped me gain an intimate perspective on the materials and techniques of the foundry process and exposed me to the work of seasoned artists, designers, craftsmen, engineers and conservators. After I left, I wanted to make my own sculpture so I built a foundry and started a small art services business. I was able to call upon that previously gained knowledge and technique, and practically apply it to my work. I still have relationships with many of these people who are a vital part of my development as an artist and a conservator. We exchange ideas about art, current technologies and materials and critically analyze our work rationale and methods.

Q. Where did you study masonry conservation, and what led you to pursue that training?

A. I first encountered stone as a sculpture material. I am also fascinated with natural history and geology. Consequently, I volunteered as a member of a team collecting fossil material in New Jersey. That painstaking and exciting work coincided with my attending RESTORE and Jahn mortar training, and later laboratory courses at Columbia University. I consider my training to be ongoing because of the daily preservation challenges of the Park and the diverse conservation goals of the CPC, which require abundant research and testing, and afford valuable interactions with consulting conservators and specialized contractors.

Q. You’re also the founder of the AbOmInOg Intl. Arts Collective. When and why did you start the collective, and what kinds of programs and opportunities would it offer for aspiring conservators?

A. AbOmInOg intl Arts Collective sprang into being in 1999 as a homespun alternative to the strictures of a commercial fine art foundry. Over time, the collective has transformed into a collaborative engine, where members share their talent, knowledge and resources as well as the sweat of their brow to create art. The collective is now a fiscally sponsored project of Fractured Atlas, an arts services organization ( We are presently implementing an internship program and have volunteer opportunities in a variety of areas from hands-on foundry fundamentals and sculpture conservation to archival documentation, organizational development and beyond.

Q. Can you tell us a bit more about AbOmInOg’s upcoming workshop at Grounds for Sculpture? Can anyone participate? More about the workshop can be found here.

A. We aspire to expand our reach into the community with workshops, demonstrations and exhibitions like the one on November 5th at the Grounds For Sculpture in Mercerville, NJ. This workshop is fun and educational. All levels can participate.

Q. Do you think this kind of hands-on experience with metalworking is valuable for aspiring conservators?

A. It certainly is important for much of my work such as outdoor sculpture conservation and restoration, historical recreations, fabrication, rigging and cast-iron repair. The focus of the conservation may be simultaneous wide and sharp. My specialized experience guides my approach but does not define it. Metalworking led me to conservation and perhaps both disciplines will lead me to something else.

Q. What kind of experience are you looking for in the students you select for the summer internship in Central Park?

A. The CPC monuments conservation internship requires that candidates are currently pursuing a graduate degree in historic preservation, objects conservation or a closely related field. Besides this requirement, no specific training or educational experience is obligatory but certain personal qualities are sought. Traits that I look for are reliability, mindfulness, initiative and the ability to work extremely well as a member of a team. The goal of the internship is to provide experience within the annual maintenance regime of monuments collection and select conservation activity.

Q. What advice do you have for aspiring conservators today?

A. I doubt I need to mention that you should love what you do - but I will anyway. I applaud ECPN members for organizing and building relationships amongst themselves and encourage them to cast a wide net in creating an exchange with allied professionals as well as across disciplines, and to practice in a way that imparts to the public the principles and value of the conservation profession.

ECPN thanks MC Reiley for taking the time to share his thoughts with us. You can follow AbOmInOg on Facebook or visit AbOmInOg online at

Thursday, September 8, 2011

New Mexico State University Museum Conservation Program

One of Las Cruces' Beautiful Sunsets

Welcome to Las Cruces, New Mexico! I recently graduated from the Museum Conservation Program at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, New Mexico. I am so grateful to have had the experience the program offers and am happy to have the opportunity to present the program to other emerging conservators.
Basically, the program’s requirements are the sa
me as conservation graduate school requirements. Some of the classes can be taken as graduate level classes, but the program is primarily an undergraduate program. Silvia Marinas, the Head of the Museum Conservation Department and a private Conservator herself, engineered the program to fulfill all of the graduate school requirements. This means that you take Art History, Studio Art, Archaeology, Entomology, Museum Studies and Chemistry. In addition, there are four core classes. One of the classes teaches the basics of Collections Care & Management, skills that you later put into practice in an internship with the New Mexico State University Museum. In two other classes, titled Museum Conservation Techniques, you learn the basic restoration techniques for ceramics, paintings on canvas and paintings on metal. Then you put those skills to work on other, real, objects in an Internship class with Silvia Marinas.

New Mexico State University Museum

Overall, the program is structured to be useful in real life. The format in which Silvia Marinas teaches the classes is particularly useful, because she has us create materials that will be useful for us in the future. For instance, from her Collections Care class I have a binder with information on things such as temperature & humidity guidelines, handling, storage, etc., for each kind of museum object. From her Museum Conservation Techniques classes I have condition reports that I created of various types of objects that I can and have referenced when working on similar objects. And overall, the program is structured to fulfill the requirements for graduate schools and Pre-grad internships, so students are well prepared to apply to these places.

Reconstructed Ceramic Vessel from Museum Conservation Techniques Class

The best part of Las Cruces is the people. Las Cruces is primarily a college town but the professors make every effort to let us know what exhibitions, shows or lectures we should attend. There are many cultural events related to the strong Hispanic & American Indian heritage in the area, such as American Indian Week (pictured). The community is tight-knit and friendly. There are farmers’ markets, gallery walks and museumsto explore as well as hiking and outdoor recreation (Las Cruces gets over 350 days of sunshine a year) and great Mexican food.

Dancers at American Indian Week

I would be happy to try and answer questions for other emerging conservators! Here is the link to the Program’s website: