Tru Vue, in partnership with the Foundation of the American Institute for Conservation (FAIC) and The Institute of Conservation (Icon), offers Conservation Conference Scholarships to individuals in the field who might not otherwise have the opportunity to attend professional development conferences. With the goal of encouraging international exchange and dissemination of training and conference information, Tru Vue provides up to $1,500 (U.S.) for qualifying candidates to assist with conference participation. After attending their conferences, scholarship recipients share their newfound knowledge within their communities. Stephanie Auffret, Alison Foster, Andrea Gutiérrez, Elizabeth Morse, Ingrid Neuman, Albert Traby, and Anna Zwagerman are all professional conservators and the most recent beneficiaries of these scholarships.
Stephanie Auffret (PhD) and the Art of Furniture Conservation (FAIC recipient)
With 20 years of experience, Stephanie Auffret is an associate furniture conservator at the Winterthur Museum in Delaware and an assistant professor in art conservation in association with the University of Delaware. As a Conservation Conference Scholarship recipient, she presented the use of different furniture finishes and their ethical considerations at the Furniture Finishes: Past, Present and Future conference at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. The conference was one of the annual symposia provided by the Strichting Ebenist located in the Netherlands. This non-profit organization provides both national (Dutch) and international learning opportunities about wood and furniture conservation and restoration. Her presentation received valuable feedback from her international colleagues, allowing for continued dialogue and learnings
At the Rijksmuseum, Auffret attended an advance meeting with all of the conference speakers, and then participated in the conference the following day. She also enjoyed the up-close study of the furniture pieces provided by the museum’s conservators. Upon returning home to teach at the University of Delaware, Auffret said, “I was able to provide more precise information on materials [to my students] and generate interesting conversations regarding ethics attached to the preservation of transparent coatings. In fact the concepts discussed were widened to other forms of cultural heritage.”
Alison Foster and New Methods of Cleaning Painted Surfaces (Icon recipient)
Based at Westminster Abbey in London, Alison Foster serves as the liaison conservator for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Galleries. Drawing from more than 15 years of experience as a conservator and curator, she was able to attend Richard Wolber’s “New Methods of Cleaning Painted Surfaces” with her Conservation Conference Scholarship.
Organized by International Academic Projects, the five-day intensive course covers “everything from the chemistry of cleaning, right through to suitable preservatives for natural gels, and where to purchase materials and tools for making specific preparations,” said Foster. “Specifically, the course reiterated the centrality of pH and conductivity to any responsible aqueous cleaning methodology, and introduced me to the wonderful world of xanthan gum, Velvesil Plus and D4. I would highly recommend this course to any conservator who would like to significantly develop their knowledge-base, and add to their current tool-kit for approaching potentially complex cleaning problems.”
Andrea Gutiérrez and the Restoration of Graphic Documents and Bookbindings (Icon recipient)
Responsible for the conservation and restoration treatments of the National Library of Colombia collections, Andrea Gutiérrez also supports regional libraries, especially in preventive conservation. With her Conservation Conference Scholarship, she attended the “Theoretical and Practical Course on Restoration of Graphic Documents and Bookbindings” at the Sant Pere de les Puelles Monastery restoration studio in Barcelona. As part of the four-week course, she learned different ways to moisturize parchment without removing the entire binding; how to prepare tripe to repair tears or reinforcements on missing parts of parchment documents; how to use a leaf-casting machine; and how to research watermarks.
“I came back to Colombia with the conviction that we are doing our work very well, we are going in the right [direction] and we have a lot of work to do in order to carry book conservation in Colombia to the next level,” said Gutiérrez. She added her appreciation saying, “It was an amazing experience full of new knowledge. Thanks for investing in us professionals that love what we do and that are in the constant search for new and different ways to develop our work.”
Elizabeth Morse and Eastern Paper Conservation (FAIC recipient)
Elizabeth Morse is a paper conservator and grant developer in Cohasset, Massachusetts, with more than 28 years of experience in the preservation and restoration of paper. She applied her Conservation Conference Scholarship toward attending the ‘Adapt & Evolve – East Asian Materials and Techniques in Western Conservation’ Conference. The conference was organized by Icon Book & Paper Group based in the United Kingdom, which is part of The Institute of Conservation.
At the conference, Morse studied Oriental papermaking, Japanese conservation techniques, the use of natural dyes and more. She attended the “Starch Paste I” workshop by Professor Katsuhiko Masuda. These applications of starch pastes were pioneered by conservators in Asia, and are widely used in Western conservation. Morse said, “…I learned methods of soaking and cooking starch, along with storing and using paste which I had never learned or knew of before.”
She also attended “Starch Paste and Japanese Adhesives for Conservation,” an eight-hour course taught by Noriko Hayakawa. Morse said, “As a conservation professional I benefitted both directly and indirectly by attending this conference. I have already changed several techniques in my practice and am busy preparing to teach some of these techniques to others.” Sharing her knowledge, she offered a workshop in 2015 to 20 bookbinding students of North Bennet Street School in Boston.
Ingrid Neuman and the Preservation and Care of Plastics (FAIC recipient)
Ingrid Neuman is the conservator of sculpture at the Museum of Art Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and an adjunct instructor at Tufts University Graduate School of Museum Studies in Massachusetts. She has been teaching “The Art of Art Conservation” course at the RISD since 2009. The Conservation Conference Scholarship allowed this teacher to become a student. Neuman attended the University of Amsterdam’s Plastics Masterclass, a five-day course addressing the identification, degradation, curative and preventive conservation of plastic, rubber and composite materials. Her experience included hands-on learning of new cleaning methodologies and an introduction to new conservation materials that are becoming common in Europe. As a result, she will be incorporating these new methods and materials in her U.S. conservation laboratory’s tool kit.
Also during the Plastics Masterclass, Neuman was granted access to both a portable fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy instrument and a nebulizer for the consolidation of polyurethane foam. “Prior to this class, I had never had the opportunity to use either of these instruments on my own,” said Neuman. “The nebulizer technique may be of particular use for me in the future as we continue to care and preserve polyurethane foam art in the RISD Museum collection.” She plans to implement the preventive conservation techniques she acquired and will disseminate her newly acquired knowledge to the curators at the institution.
Albert Traby and Stone Conservation (Icon recipient)
Albert Traby used his Conservation Conference Scholarship to attend the 19th International Course on Stone Conservation –SC15, jointly organized by the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM), The Getty Conservation Institute (GCI), and the Non-Catholic Cemetery in Rome. For more than two years, Traby has coordinated the City & Guilds of London Art School and The Friends of Kensal Green Cemetery to conserve listed monuments and other stone objects, which have very similar problems as the ones in the Non-Catholic Cemetery, in Rome.
The SC15’s 12-week course included lectures by international art historians, geologists, conservators, architects, engineers, archaeologists and conservation scientists. He attended laboratory sessions as well as hands-on exercises, and went on a study tour around Italy of famous stone monuments in the process of being conserved. As part of a four-person hands-on team, Traby helped “complete a difficult conservation intervention of the Wallace tomb, a very interesting monument composed of three different stones: Travertine, Marmo Rosso and Nero Portoro.”
Traby especially valued the global perspectives and camaraderie, saying, “During three months, we have made very good friendships and a professional network that I hope will last for many years to come”. With an online forum established to continue dialogues on different approaches to conservation problems, he feels like the course hasn’t quite ended.
Anna Zwagerman and Emergency Salvage (Icon recipient)
Anna Zwagerman works as ‘Conservator North’ for the National Trust for Scotland and used her scholarship to attend an emergency salvage course organized by the National Trust and Historic England in cooperation with the West Midlands Fire Service. As a Regional Conservator Anna is responsible for the recovery operation should a disaster occur at any of the properties she covers.
As a conservator working in preventive conservation in a large heritage institution caring for historic properties, Anna found the course to be an extremely valuable opportunity for her to gain experience. She was able to gain an understanding of salvage from the point of view of the fire service as well as learning from practical experience in leading a recovery operation; and to find out about lessons learned during real life salvage operations.
The emergency salvage course has given her the confidence to train others, and to take on a leading role should a disaster occur at any of her properties.
“These scholarships will continue to support conservators all over the world to participate in conferences that they may not otherwise have the opportunity to attend. The benefits for these professionals extends beyond individual careers and positively impacts entire communities,” concluded Patti Dumbaugh, Tru Vue Vice President of New Business Development.
More information about applying for these scholarships can be found at truvue2023prd.wpengine.com/museums-collections
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This article is intended for educational purposes only and does not replace independent professional judgment. Statements of fact and opinions expressed are those of the author(s) individually and, unless expressly stated to the contrary, are not the opinion or position of Tru Vue or its employees. Tru Vue does not endorse or approve, and assumes no responsibility for, the content, accuracy or completeness of the information presented.