Conservation Scholarship Program Summary of Reports (Part 1 of 3): FAIC / Tru Vue Scholarships

Tru Vue has recently provided funding for conservation professionals and students to further their professional development goals and participate in industry conferences and events.  These Conservation Conference Scholarships are administered by the Foundation of the American Institute for Conservation (FAIC) and The Institute of Conservation (Icon).


With the goal of encouraging international exchange and dissemination of training and conference information, Tru Vue provides up to $1,500 (U.S.) towards conference participation for qualifying candidates. After attending the events, scholarship recipients return to their organizations and communities where they share their experiences and the knowledge gained.


We are proud to present a three-part series highlighting some of the scholarship recipients and their experiences.


FAIC International Scholarships

In partnership with the FAIC, Tru Vue offers Conservation Conference Scholarships to individual members to defray costs in attending the AIC Annual Meeting and other international professional development events.


“Many thanks to Tru Vue for its continuing support of these important scholarships,” said Eric Pourchot, FAIC’s institutional advancement director. “I was made aware how vital the programs are while on a call with representatives of the University of Pretoria, South Africa, who are trying to start a conservation program there. It reminded me how crucial international education and exchange of information is in our field, and how few opportunities for financial support there are for that process. I am very proud to be part of this initiative, which can make such a difference in the world.”


Participating FAIC Conservation Conference Scholarship recipients included:


The Tru Vue team, Yadin Larochette, Carolyn Hays, and Patti Dumbaugh, with Joanna Sobczyk, Dr. Valueurs Lampropoulis, Maria Lyratzi and Elisheva Kamaisky; the conservators that were awarded FAIC Tru Vue Scholarships to attend the AIC Annual Meeting in Montreal.
The Tru Vue team, Yadin Larochette, Carolyn Hays, and Patti Dumbaugh, with Joanna Sobczyk, Dr. Valueurs Lampropoulis, Maria Lyratzi and Elisheva Kamaisky; the conservators that were awarded FAIC Tru Vue Scholarships to attend the AIC Annual Meeting in Montreal.


Elisheva Kamaisky, Israel Antiquities Authority, and the AIC Annual Meeting

Elisheva Kamaisky’s summarized the sentiments shared by all of the scholarship recipients who attended. She said, “Attending the AIC Annual Meeting was very constructive for me in many ways, from being exposed to new information about preservation and conservation, visiting museums and seeing relics from different cultures, to meeting many former colleagues and forming new contacts with people.”


She also emphasized, “The suppliers’ exhibition was a wealth of information for me. Not all the materials, tools and instruments are sold in Israel, so getting in touch with the different suppliers was essential for me.”


Discussions about preparing emergency response plans in case of disasters, including working with police, firefighters, and others in order to develop an accepted plan inspired Kamaisky to talk with her direct manager about establishing a protocol. She continued, “I came away knowing that I have a lot to work on, and knowing that I will share all that I learned with whoever wants to know.”


Maria Lyratzi, Greece, and the AIC Annual Meeting

Maria Lyratzi found similar inspiration. After the AIC Annual Meeting, she shared all she learned with archeologists, librarians, conservators and archivists at a disaster planning seminar at the Center of Hellenic Studies. She also is working in cooperation with the Bank of Greece to develop a second nationwide seminar on disaster planning and prevention in cultural institutions.


Joanna Sobczyk, conservation scientist, National Museum in Krakow (MNK) and the AIC Annual Meeting

Also sharing her knowledge at the AIC Annual Meeting, Joanna Sobczyk, a computer physicist working as a conservation scientist, presented “Damage and Destruction of Cultural Heritage in Poland: Lessons from the Past, Initiatives for the Future.” Of her experience at the meeting, she said, “participation in panel discussions (e.g. Panel Emergency) with world class experts (AIC, CCI, Smithsonian Institution, ICCROM, UNESCO, it is difficult to mention all), [who have] many years of experience in this subject broadened my horizons. [I was presented with] solutions that I can now offer to my superiors to be implemented at MNK. Meeting experts to whom I can turn to when implementing their solutions is priceless.”


Sobczyk also mentioned, “that the presentation of publications of important editorial houses, such as AIC, Getty Institute, etc. with the possibility to purchase or order books at a promotional price was also a very good initiative at this conference.”


Anna Serotta, conservator, and the symposium “Ancient Egyptian Coffins: Past, Present, Future”

Beyond the AIC Annual Meeting, scholarship recipient Anna Serotta traveled from the Brooklyn Museum in New York to the Fitzwilliam Museum at the University of Cambridge to present at the conference “Ancient Egyptian Coffins: Past, Present, Future”. In addition, she gave two short sessions on the use of multi-spectral imaging and reflectance transformation imaging for coffin documentation.


While attendees learned from Serotta’s presentations, she also participated in theirs. These included hands on workshops in carpentry techniques, brush making and use, pigment preparation, painting with various mineral pigments such as Egyptian blue, and resin preparation and application. In particular she noted that the practical exercises “were tremendously valuable to reinforce the information we were given in the excellent presentations with object-based learning and experimental archaeology.”


Experiments with Egyptian brush-making and painting
Experiments with Egyptian brush-making and painting


The session on Egyptian blue was especially critical for Serotta. She continues, “My colleague Dawn Kriss and I are currently involved in a research project on the optimization of Visible-Induced Luminescence Imaging of Egyptian blue and other pigments, and the background I was given in Egyptian blue chemistry and production was invaluable. I was even given a sample of experimentally produced Egyptian blue to bring back with me for imaging experiments!”


Elsbeth Geldhof (historic paint conservator) demonstrates the application of Egyptian blue to workshop participants
Elsbeth Geldhof (historic paint conservator) demonstrates the application of Egyptian blue to workshop participants


Serotta also learned that “many people are using Fiber Optic Reflectance Spectroscopy (FORS) for the identification of pigments and pigment mixtures on complex surfaces. This information was timely, as we have just acquired FORS at the Brooklyn Museum and are beginning to experiment with its various applications.”


Jessica Walthew, conservator, and the International Council of Museums Committee for Conservation (ICOM-CC) Polychromy and Sculpture Working Group interim meeting

In step with the conference’s theme, “Painting the Flesh,” scholarship recipient Jessica Walthew presented a technical study and conservation treatment of an Italian reliquary bust.


She said, “The key points for me were to see many examples of technical studies and treatments of European polychrome sculpture (also Spanish Colonial sculpture) and to see the differing ethical decisions undertaken in their treatment. Several of the talks focused on strictly technical and art historical issues, but one of the most interesting talks was about differing cultures surrounding conservation and the practice of over painting/repainting older sculptures in Mexican churches.”


Walthew shared a review of the conference on the ICOM-CC specialty group webpage.  Click here to read more.


Leanne Tonkin, research fellow at the Costume Institute at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and The Institute of Conservation (Icon) triannual meeting

In addition to presenting her research on conserving materials that were not intended to last, Leanne Tonkin also “attended many disciplinary talks, which enabled me to think beyond the boundaries of my specialism. For instance, my current research at the Costume Institute at The Met focuses on plastics characterization and deterioration relating to costume. It was really great to have the opportunity to listen to a talk on the stability of various plastics commonly used for three-dimensional printing.”


Tonkin also gained from, “discovering the stable nature of [certain] synthetic dyes was good to know regarding the regular use of synthetic dyes in the Costume Institute’s collection which have been analyzed. This helps with further research and possible collaborative thinking.”


Tonkin concluded, “Attending the Icon16 conference enabled me to discuss my project to a wider field of conservators and heritage professionals and talk with colleagues who have helped immensely with my research at The Met.”



More information about applying for these scholarships can be found here. Watch for the second story in this three-part series to feature scholarship recipients through the Icon Grants Programme.


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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.