Conservation Courses for Allied Academic Fields

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Background

At AIC's 2013 Annual Meeting the session Engaging with Allied Fields: Teaching Conservation in Allied Academic Departments and Degree Programs discussed how AIC and the conservation community are beginning to critically examine the values that drive our profession, as well as how we communicate the ethics, goals, and key concepts which form the core of modern conservation practice.

Many practicing conservators teach and/or lecture for undergraduate and graduate programs in allied career tracks such as archaeology, art history, information and library science, museum studies, and the sciences. In most cases, the overarching aim is to introduce students to the field of conservation. However, contemporary conservation is a diverse and complex field, and it can be challenging to communicate relevant information in one term or, in the case of a guest lecture, a single class period. This session examined the goals and methodology of teaching conservation information to non-conservation students, with the intention of starting a collaborative, cross-disciplinary dialogue that will result in both theoretical and practical resources for conservators teaching in university settings. The objectives of the session were to:

  1. examine conservators’ shared pedagogical mission
  2. explore how conservators interpret/communicate key values in class settings
  3. assist teaching conservators with course content development and teaching strategies
  4. launch a continuing dialogue about the goals of teaching, as well as its impact and efficacy


In addition to the presentations on the course descriptions the session chairs presented data from an online survey conducted in advance of the session to provide a foundation for understanding and examining current trends in teaching and learning about conservation at the university level.

Project Focus

The purpose of this wiki page on Creating Conservation Courses is to share basic information, enabling instructors to contact colleagues to share information.

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Course Template

Entries are requested to conform to the following format (the template can be modified at {{template:Allied Academic Course}}):

Course Title and Number:
University or Institution, Including City and State:
Instructor Name(s):
Brief Course Description:
Course Requirements:
Intended Audience:
Class Format:
Credit Hours:
Online Resources:


To create an entry, click on the Edit tab and paste in the code for the following template into the Courses section below:

  • Enter the code {{subst:Allied Academic Course}} into the edit box and save the page. This pulls in the format of the Allied Academic Course template into the page.
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Courses

Archaeology

Course Title and Number: ARCH B137 Focus: Introduction into Principles of Preservation & Conservation
University or Institution, Including City and State: Bryn Mawr College, Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania
Instructor Name(s): Astrid Lindenlauf and Marianne Weldon
Brief Course Description: This half-unit introductory course provides insights into the fundamentals of the practices of archaeological preservation and conservation and enhances the understanding of their significance in the archaeological process. This half-course deals exclusively with excavated materials that are still on-site or have been moved to a storage facility or a museum. Materials considered in this course include architecture, textiles, and portable objects made of clay, stone, and metal. While most of the finds are from land sites, occasional references to marine material are made. Most of the material used in the hands-on sessions comes from the Special Collections.
Course Requirements: Suggested preparation: basic understanding of chemistry is helpful.
Intended Audience:
Class Format: 3 hours of lecture and 1 hour of lab each week for 8 weeks
Credit Hours: 1.5
Online Resources:

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Course Title and Number: IPCAA Field Conservation Workshop Series
University or Institution: Interdepartmental Program in Classical Art and Archaeology (IPCAA), University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Instructor Name(s): Suzanne Davis and Caroline Roberts
Brief Course Description: This workshop series is designed to teach basic archaeological conservation skills to PhD students in the IPCAA program. It also acquaints students with the wide range of activities that professional conservators conduct on archaeological sites. It covers basic preventive conservation strategies, artifact deterioration, how to recognize situations where a conservator is needed, and how to advocate for on-site conservation support. Past workshop series have included two materials-focused, hands-on sessions and a discussion session. The hands-on sessions cover ceramics and metals conservation and incorporate basic cleaning and reconstruction techniques. The discussion section focuses on three areas: preventive conservation strategies, including backfilling for preservation of excavated structures; how to recognize when an archaeological project needs professional conservation support, and how to advocate and raise funds for conservation in such situations; and, finally, it provides a review of analytical resources and techniques for technical research.
Course Requirements: None
Intended Audience: Doctoral students who do archaeological fieldwork.
Class Format: Two hands-on workshops (three hours each) and one two-hour discussion session.
Credit Hours: Not for credit
Online Resources:

Art History

Course Title and Number: ArtHist190/EnviroSci190: Nature in Art - Art in Nature
University or Institution, Including City and State: Emory University, Atlanta, GA
Instructor Name(s): Renee Stein and William Size
Brief Course Description: This course will explore the varied intersections between art and natural sciences. Thematic units will include historical parallels, earth materials, enviornments for preservation and destruction, resource management and protection. We will discuss how artists and craftsmen incorporate and manipulate natural materials to create art. We will learn how natural phenomena and the environment effect the preservation and deterioration of art. We will also consider how ideas about the conservation of resources and protection of endangered species can apply to both nature and art. Class participation will include discussion of readings and case studies as well as hands-on activities.
Course Requirements: lab worksheets, reading summary and discussion facilitation, essay, exam, group project
Intended Audience: first-year students only
Class Format: seminar, including lectures, discussions, guest presentations, & hands-on labs
Credit Hours: 3
Online Resources: selected readings and assignments are placed on electronic Blackboard through Emory Univ

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Course Title and Number: ArtHist393/ Phys380 Investigating Art with Physics
University or Institution, Including City and State: Emory University, Atlanta, GA
Instructor Name(s): Renee Stein and John Malko
Brief Course Description: This course will introduce students to a selection of physical techniques used to analyze artwork. Lecture and discussion will consider historical uses of materials in the production of art, as well as the circumstances motivating the scientific investigation of specific objects, including material, working methods, authenticity, provenance, and prior restoration. Case studies from the Carlos Museum collection will provide context for these discussions. Through presentations, hands-on workshops, and practical lab experiments students will explore art materials and analytical techniques, including beta and x-ray radiography, infrared reflectography, neutron activation analysis, and ultraviolet fluorescence. Prior coursework in physics, visual arts, or art history is not required.
Course Requirements: problem-sets, presentation of published case study, exams
Intended Audience: undergraduates in sciences and arts
Class Format: seminar, including lectures, discussions, guest presentations, & hands-on labs
Credit Hours: 3
Online Resources: selected readings are placed on electronic Course Reserves through Emory Library

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Course Title and Number: ArtHist387/ 592 Issues in the Conservation of Art and Cultural Property
University or Institution, Including City and State: Emory University, Atlanta, GA
Instructor Name(s):Renee Stein
Brief Course Description: This course will provide an introduction to the field of Art Conservation as well as an overview of the principle issues surrounding the care and preservation of cultural properties. Lecture and discussion will address historic materials and technologies, as well as aging properties, deterioration, and conservation treatment. Examples will be drawn from a wide variety of cultures and will represent diverse media, including paper, paintings, stone, metals, ceramics, archaeological remains, and modern synthetic materials. Discussions will consider issues of aesthetics, ethics, artist’s intent, change over time, and compensation for damage. We will also examine the use of science, review seminal debates in the recent history of conservation, and consider the role of conservation within collecting institutions and beyond.
Course Requirements: series of short essays, condition assessment of public sculpture, exam
Intended Audience: undergraduate, graduate (art history, anthropology, other majors)
Class Format: seminar, including lectures, discussions, guest presentations, & hands-on workshops
Credit Hours: 3
Online Resources: selected readings are placed on electronic Course Reserves through Emory Library

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Course Title and Number: Art History Part I #2010
University or Institution: Northwest Community College, Powell, WY
Instructor Name(s): Beverly Perkins
Brief Course Description: Survey class on the first half of Western art history
Course Requirements: none
Intended Audience: college students
Class Format: 3 hours lecture
Credit Hours: 3
Online Resources:

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Course Title and Number: Art History Part II #2020
University or Institution: Northwest Community College, Powell, WY
Instructor Name(s): Beverly Perkins
Brief Course Description: Survey class on the second half of Western art history
Course Requirements: none
Intended Audience: college students
Class Format: 3 hours lecture
Credit Hours: 3
Online Resources:

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Course Title and Number: Introduction to Art #1010
University or Institution: Northwest Community College, Powell, WY
Instructor Name(s): Beverly Perkins
Brief Course Description: Introduction to art and materials. Lecture on the fundamentals of art and art history. Hands-on basics for paints, pencil, and three-dimensional.
Course Requirements: none
Intended Audience: college students
Class Format: 3 hours lecture
Credit Hours: 3
Online Resources:

Chemistry

Course Title and Number: Chem365L Analysis of Ancient Art
University or Institution, Including City and State: Emory University, Atlanta, GA
Instructor Name(s): Renee Stein with Doug Mulford, Matt Weinschenk, and Daphne Norton
Brief Course Description: The main objective of this course is to introduce a variety of instrumental techniques, including spectroscopy, chromatography, and x-ray methods. Applied context will be drawn from cultural heritage studies and conservation research, with specific cases and laboratory exercises related to antiquities within the Michael C. Carlos Museum. This course takes an interdisciplinary approach and is a collaborative effort between the Emory University Chemistry Department and the Carlos Museum’s Parsons Conservation Laboratory. The intersections between art historical research, art conservation, and scientific analysis will be discussed. The challenges of handling and sampling cultural heritage materials will be considered. Hands on experiments will introduce liquid chromatography (HPLC), infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), x-ray fluorescence spectroscopy (XRF), x-ray diffraction (XRD), and visible spectrometry. In addition, the class will submit samples to and review data from the NMR and X-Ray Crystallography Service Centers.
Course Requirements: experimental design and protocol, lab notebook, presentation of published case study, pigment study report, quizzes, exam
Intended Audience: junior & senior chemistry majors
Class Format: lecture/ lab with discussion and guest presentations
Credit Hours: 3
Online Resources: selected readings and assignments are placed on electronic Blackboard through Emory Univ

Historic Preservation

Course Title and Number: HISP 208--Introduction to Conservation
University or Institution, Including City and State: The University of Mary Washington, Fredericksburg, VA
Instructor Name(s): Emily Williams
Brief Course Description: This course offers an overview of the field of conservation, with a particular focus on archaeological materials. The course covers the definition of conservation, its history, ethical issues, material specific points and the fundamentals of preventive conservation. Students learn how to identify materials and about their degradation. The course objectives include:

  • providing an understanding of the nature of conservation and to examining ethical debates which play a role in defining the future of the field;
  • defining the conservator’s role and examining the factors that influence decision making in conservation;
  • examining the decay processes that affect cultural materials and exploring fundamental conservation techniques that may be used to counteract these processes;
  • generating an awareness of the conservation literature and it’s utility to allied fields.

The course format alternates between lectures, hands on activities and student presentations.

Course Requirements: none
Intended Audience: Undergraduate majors in Historic Preservation and/or students minoring in Museum studies.
Class Format: Once a week for 3 hours
Credit Hours: 3
Online Resources:

History

Course Title and Number: HIST6865, Field Methods in Archaeological and Museum Artifact Conservation
University or Institution: East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina
Instructor Name(s): Susanne Grieve
Brief Course Description: Archaeological conservation involves stabilizing material that has been excavated from a maritime or terrestrial burial environment. This is differentiated from a museum environment which can include historical and artistic works. This course aims to provide students with hands-on conservation experience in a field environment through collaboration with community organizations or cultural heritage based institutions. These may include on site field excavation techniques, condition surveying of collections, or on site evaluations of deterioration factors. The course may be taught locally, nationally, or internationally.

Course Objectives: By the completion of the course, students will be able to:

  • Identify methods of conserving excavated materials using available resources
  • Document material culture from archaeological sites and museum environments for condition analysis
  • Gain an understanding of field operations and management of cultural resources
  • Evaluate the use of various conservation treatments including those from an international perspective
  • Discuss storage and exhibition parameters for archaeological and museum collections
  • Communicate and interact with other heritage professionals and local populations


Course Requirements: HIST6845 Advanced Archaeological and Museum Artifact Conservation or by permission of the instructor; Lab notebook
Intended Audience: Graduate students in Archaeology, Public History, Anthropology, Maritime Studies, Art History, Historic Preservation
Class Format: Field, Lab
Credit Hours: 3 (14 week semester)
Online Resources: http://blog.ecu.edu/sites/eastcarolinaconservationlab/; http://www.ecu.edu/eccl/; https://www.facebook.com/East-Carolina-Conservation-Lab-252305361117/

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Course Title and Number: HIST6855, Principles of Archaeological and Museum Artifact Conservation
University or Institution: East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina
Instructor Name(s): Susanne Grieve
Brief Course Description: There are a variety of theoretical approaches in the preservation of cultural heritage including professional ethics, the creation and values of objects and artworks, the stakeholders in conservation decisions, and ownership issues. These broad themes are accentuated with additional and case specific concerns that the conservator must take into account. The practical aspect of the profession is in turn influenced but these invisible factors. This course seeks to expose the student to a variety of principles that underlie the conservation profession.

Course Objectives: By the completion of the course, students will be able to:

  • Evaluate the purpose of conservation within a broader scope of cultural studies.
  • Associate specific themes in preservation theory and compare and contrast them with related material culture conservation methods.
  • Assess peer reviewed conservation resources available locally and online and critically evaluate arguments contained within.
  • Discuss current events and issues in cultural heritage preservation and relate them to broader fields of study including anthropology, archaeology, history, and sociology.
  • Describe the various specialties within conservation and identify differences in decision-making and techniques.
  • Critically consider the diversity of values and significance that is placed on material culture and identify the challenges this poses for conservators.
  • Organize and deliver material clearly and participate in group discussions.


Course Requirements: Conservation Skills: Judgment, Method, and Decision Making, C. Caple; Contemporary Theory of Conservation, S. Muñoz-Vinas; Ethics and Critical Thinking in Conservation, P. Hatchfield.
Intended Audience: Graduate students in Archaeology, Public History, Anthropology, Maritime Studies, Art History, Historic Preservation
Class Format: Seminar
Credit Hours: 3 (14 week semester)
Online Resources: http://blog.ecu.edu/sites/eastcarolinaconservationlab/; http://www.ecu.edu/eccl/; https://www.facebook.com/East-Carolina-Conservation-Lab-252305361117/

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Course Title and Number: HIST6845, Advanced Archaeological and Museum Artifact Conservation
University or Institution: East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina
Instructor Name(s): Susanne Grieve
Brief Course Description: The preservation of material culture is a complex process that involves theoretical considerations of the object before, during, and after treatment in addition to critical thinking throughout invasive procedures. This course builds on the Introduction to Archaeological and Museum Artifact Conservation course by introducing new treatment concepts in an independent work environment. Course work can consist of conserving an object from excavation to storage or can include research on an individual aspect of a treatment. Class sessions will include of short lectures, demonstrations, discussions, and field trips.

Course Objectives: By the completion of the course, students will be able to:

  • Identify an appropriate treatment strategy for an object or material type.
  • Demonstrate critical thinking through theoretical aspects of conserving an object.
  • Perform analysis on organic and inorganic materials to answer research questions.
  • Evaluate best practices in the conservation process including ethical considerations.


Course Requirements: HIST6840 Introduction to Archaeological and Museum Artifact Conservation or by permission of the instructor; Lab notebook
Intended Audience: Graduate students in Archaeology, Public History, Anthropology, Maritime Studies, Art History, Historic Preservation
Class Format: Lecture, Lab
Credit Hours: 3 (14 week semester)
Online Resources: http://blog.ecu.edu/sites/eastcarolinaconservationlab/; http://www.ecu.edu/eccl/; https://www.facebook.com/East-Carolina-Conservation-Lab-252305361117/

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Course Title and Number: HIST6840, Introduction to Archaeological and Museum Artifact Conservation
University or Institution: East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina
Instructor Name(s): Susanne Grieve
Brief Course Description: Archaeological and museum artifacts include material culture from historical, archaeological and ethnographic contexts. These materials have unique preservation considerations and can include objects that have been excavated from a maritime or terrestrial burial environment where deterioration may be accelerated. This course provides a basis for decision making in conservation processes and an in depth exploration of the conservation process for organic and inorganic materials. Exposure to outreach technologies and platforms as well as hands on laboratory experience is also included.

Course Objectives: By the completion of the course, students will be able to:

  • Describe the context of conservation and identify ethical considerations.
  • Communicate the purpose of conservation within archaeology and history.
  • Classify material types and interpret deterioration factors.
  • Evaluate the decision making processes for treatment techniques.
  • Manage the storage and display of material culture.
  • Construct a lab report that details the condition and treatment of an object.
  • Develop public outreach skills related to conservation, preservation and restoration.


Course Requirements: Lab Notebook; The Elements of Archaeological Conservation, J. Cronyn
Intended Audience: Graduate students in Archaeology, Public History, Anthropology, Maritime Studies, Art History, Historic Preservation
Class Format: Lecture, Lab
Credit Hours: 3 (14 week semester)
Online Resources: http://blog.ecu.edu/sites/eastcarolinaconservationlab/; http://www.ecu.edu/eccl/; https://www.facebook.com/East-Carolina-Conservation-Lab-252305361117/

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Course Title and Number: HIST3993, Approaches to Historical Objects
University or Institution: East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina
Instructor Name(s): Susanne Grieve
Brief Course Description: Historical objects are the tangible expression of cultural heritage. The social, economic, and technological aspects of a society can be better understood through the examination of the products we created. By studying these materials, we are relaying the history and life of the artifact and placing it within a broader cultural perspective. These details can also contribute to understanding the population and the impact of the objects on their environment. Theoretical considerations in combination with class discussions and activities will be used to develop approaches to understanding historical objects.

Learning Outcomes: By the completion of the course, students will be able to:

  • Define material culture as it relates to history.
  • Evaluate reasons for preserving historical objects.
  • Understand the functions and values imposed on objects.
  • Identify the implications of discovering, preserving and interpreting objects in a social, cultural, political, and intellectual context.
  • Classify various types of objects and identify material type and construction.
  • Interpret the legal and ethical issues surrounding material culture.
  • Discuss historic preservation of tangible culture in the context of artifacts, documents, buildings, policies, and popular culture.


Course Requirements: What Objects Mean: An Introduction to Material Culture, Arthur Asa Berger (2nd Edition); The Objects of Experience: Transforming Visitor-Object Encounters in Museums, Elizabeth Wood and Kiersten F. Latham
Intended Audience: Undergraduate students in Archaeology, Public History, Anthropology, Maritime Studies, Art History, Historic Preservation
Class Format: Lecture
Credit Hours: 3 (14 week semester)
Online Resources: http://blog.ecu.edu/sites/eastcarolinaconservationlab/; http://www.ecu.edu/eccl/

Library / Information Science

Course Title and Number: SI 651 Physical Treatment Processes for Preservation Administrators
University or Institution: School of Information, University of Michigan
Instructor Name(s): Cathleen A. Baker
Brief Course Description: This course introduces students to the artifactual nature of books and papers, and associated concepts of permanence and deterioration, provides an overview of the principles of the conservation of paper-based materials, and discusses the application of those principles to developing preservation policy and working with professional conservators. Lectures are supplemented by required readings, demonstrations, and hands-on exercises in the examination and condition evaluations of paper documents and books, with special emphasis on assessing and preparing artifacts for digitization. This course is intended to prepare library collection managers, archivists, and administrators to make decisions and initiate action for the preservation and conservation of paper-based materials.
Course Requirements: 3 hrs class/week; midterm and final
Intended Audience: library and archives masters students in the School of Information
Class Format: traditional lecture, discussion, some hands-on
Credit Hours: 1.5 (7-week half semester)
Online Resources: http://www.si.umich.edu/programs/courses/651

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Course Title and Number: SI 581 Preservation Administration
University or Institution: School of Information, University of Michigan
Instructor Name(s): Shannon Zachary
Brief Course Description: This course provides an overview of the materials commonly used as information carriers today -paper as well as photographic, audiovisual, and digital media- and introduces the basic principles, policies, and procedures for protecting that information from loss, damage, deterioration, and obsolescence.
Course Requirements: 3 hrs class/week; individual written assignments and team project preparing a preservation risk assessment of local library, archive, or museum
Intended Audience: library and archives masters students in the School of Information
Class Format: traditional lecture, discussion
Credit Hours: 3 (14-week semester)
Online Resources: http://www.si.umich.edu/programs/courses/581

Museum Studies

Course Title and Number: History of Art 325: Care and Conservation of Contemporary Art (part of a course cluster titled Biennials and Conservation)
University or Institution, Including City and State: Bryn Mawr College, Bryn Mawr, PA
Instructor Name(s): Marianne Weldon
Brief Course Description: This course explores the ethics, principles, analysis, and materials used in art conservation. Case studies, guest lectures, and museum visits introduce the unique problems involved in preserving, conserving and exhibiting contemporary art. The course includes some hands on/lab component activities.
Course Requirements: One previous history of art course taken at Bryn Mawr College. A basic understanding of chemistry is helpful.
Intended Audience: Undergraduate students
Class Format: This course combines theory and practice. More specifically, there are lectures introducing new topics, which do not directly repeat the readings but build on them, and there are praxis units, such as demonstrations and exercises, wherein the theories explored in readings and lectures are applied. There will also be field trips to museums in New York, Philadelphia, and Washington D.C.
Credit Hours: 1 unit or 4 semester hours, with 4 semester hours being a normal course load
Online Resources:

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Course Title and Number: Core Aspects of Conservation: A 21st Century Approach AS.460.633.81
University or Institution: Johns Hopkins University
Instructor Name(s): Richard McCoy
Brief Course Description: The conservation, preservation, and restoration of cultural heritage is an increasingly complex practice within the museum context and beyond typical "museums." This practice benefits greatly from widely-shared knowledge and collaborative networks. Today a variety of highly-specialized conservators perform treatments on individual items of high value, while at the same time there are a growing amount of conservation-related issues that collections managers, registrars, and others are responsible for in the process of caring for collections. At the same time there are "generalists" that make profound impact on caring for cultural heritage more generally.

This class will give students the opportunity to work collaboratively in and around conservation issues and tasks, while assimilating and contributing to the existing body of knowledge in collections care (preventive conservation). A variety of media used to create and conserve artworks will be discussed. Assignments will be coordinated with or related to current web-based conservation projects, including Wikipedia and AIC’s "Lexicon Project." Students will be creating and editing in Wikipedia.
Course Requirements: Previous completion of Collections Care and Maintenance
Intended Audience: Museum Studies Graduate Students interested in Collections Care
Class Format: Online
Credit Hours: 3
Online Resources: We use the internet for just about everything.

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Course Title and Number: Conservation & Collections Management
University or Institution: Museum Studies, New York University
Instructor Name(s): Glenn Wharton
Brief Course Description: This seminar combines classroom discussion with museum visits to provide an understanding of preventive care, collections conservation, and collections management. It covers the historical and philosophical drive to preserve cultural objects for the future, and value conflicts that arise between professionals and non-professionals with stakes in how material culture is exhibited. The seminar addresses concerns of living artists as well as indigenous groups and others with claims to the disposition and care of cultural materials. It also covers collections management policies and procedures, including environmental management, disaster management, and collections documentation. Students perform condition assessments and conduct research leading to short writing assignments and a term paper.

Students who successfully complete this course will be able to:

  • Draft a collections management policy
  • Recommend environmental controls for preventive conservation of collections
  • Perform basic condition assessments of museum objects
  • Advise on technical analysis for authentication studies
  • Critically assess the cultural values underlying conservation and collections management decisions

Course Requirements:
Intended Audience: Museum Studies graduate students who are interested in becoming registrars or collections managers
Class Format: Up to 16 students, 3 hour seminar style sessions once a week
Credit Hours: 4
Online Resources: The course has a website provided by the university that I actively use with the students

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Course Title and Number: Graduate Proseminar, UMMSP (University of Michigan Museum Studies) 601
University or Institution: University of Michigan
Instructor Name(s): Carla Sinopoli
Brief Course Description: The graduate proseminar is organized around six modules that explore a range of issues “historical, social, economic, educational, ethical, legal, technological and administrative” that concern the world of museums. Each module includes three or four sessions that bring members of the U-M faculty and/or practitioners from local/regional museums into the proseminar to present case studies that serve as the foci for discussions of the issues at hand. University of Michigan conservators (Suzanne Davis and Carrie Roberts, among others) guest lecture in the Fall semester, when the proseminar focuses on the following topics: What Is A museum? Object and Authenticity, and Object and Audience. In the Winter term, the course continues and explore the following topics: Defining / Designing Museum Space, Museums and Mediation, Rationalizing the Museum.
Course Requirements: In addition to weekly readings, each student is expected to:

  • Join a professional museum organization.
  • Subscribe to an electronic discussion list (e.g., H-Museum, Museum-L).
  • Monitor current media coverage of the museum world.
  • Attend no less than three MSP-sponsored public events (including brown bags) each semester.
  • Attend six day-long site visits to regional museums that will be organized during the year.
  • Fall: The final project for the semester is a critical synthesis of the issues situated around the nature of the “object” that has been considered over the semester. Discussion should draw upon readings, seminar meetings, site visits, and other pertinent experiences.
  • Winter: The final capstone project for the year-long proseminar in museum studies involves developing a preliminary proposal for an exhibition or related-museum project in a specific museum setting.

Intended Audience: Graduate students who are enrolled in the Certificate Program in Museum Studies. This interdisciplinary program is situated in the U of M's Rackham Graduate School. Students who have been admitted to or who are currently enrolled in a graduate degree program at the University of Michigan, or who have received a graduate degree from an accredited institution within the last five years, are eligible to apply for admission to the Program. Past students have been pursuing graduate degrees in fields as diverse as American studies, anthropology, classical archaeology, history, history of art, information science, law, medicine, nursing, and environmental science.
Class Format: One, three-hour seminar per week. Students are required to enroll in the year-long course, which totals six credit hours.
Credit Hours: Three credit hours. Students are required to enroll in the year-long course, which totals six credit hours.
Online Resources: the University of Michigan Museum Studies Program; Conservation Reading List

Technical Art History

Course Title and Number: ArtHist393/ 592 Examining Materials and Techniques
University or Institution, Including City and State: Emory University, Atlanta, GA
Instructor Name(s):Renee Stein
Brief Course Description: Questions about material choice, working process, authenticity, provenance, and restoration are all addressed through the technical investigation of art. This course will introduce students to these questions and to a selection of the methods used to explore them. Students will gain hands-on experience with art materials and examination methods while accomplishing technical studies of objects in the Carlos Museum collections.
Course Requirements: class meeting report, case study synopsis, technical study of museum object (including condition assessment, annotated bibliography, research design, presentation, and technical report including photography and relevant analytical data)
Intended Audience: undergraduate, graduate (art history, anthropology, other majors)
Class Format: seminar, including lectures, discussions, guest presentations, & hands-on workshops
Credit Hours: 3
Online Resources: selected readings are placed on electronic Course Reserves through Emory Library

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Course Title and Number: ARTH 496 Materials, Methods and the Physical Examination of Works of Art
University or Institution, Including City and State: Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland Museum of Art Joint Art History Program, Cleveland, OH.
Instructor Name(s): Heather Galloway
Brief Course Description: The course explores the materials and construction of art through the collections of the Cleveland Museum of Art (CMA), with a view to finding a common language of material technology. Students are introduced to the examination methods, terminology and goals of art conservation as it supports art historical research and practice. Issues of how materials change, the degree to which it is or is not accepted, and how conservators weigh these factors in making treatment decisions are discussed. The class is taught from the collections on display at the museum so that the student becomes familiar with evidence of manufacture and condition in a direct study of art. These observations are augmented by in-class visits to conservation labs at the CMA to examine objects closely and to engage in discussions with conservators on treatment interventions and approaches to aesthetic compensation.
Course Requirements:Instructor’s permission. Required course for PhD candidates.
Intended Audience:Graduate students, MA and PhD candidates in Art History.
Class Format:Taught in the conservation labs and galleries of the Cleveland Museum of Art.
Credit Hours:3 units
Online Resources:

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Course Title and Number: Introduction to Painting Conservation, ARTH-UA 850
University or Institution: New York University
Instructor Name(s): Corey D'Augustine
Brief Course Description: This course will examine the principal materials and techniques used in Western paintings from the 13th century to the present. Emphasis will be placed on technical innovations such as the advent of oil painting, the expansion of the modern palette, and the recent development of synthetic paints. To better understand the materiality of painting, each student will prepare a small panel painting using egg tempera and gilding techniques. In addition, this course will introduce basic inpainting techniques and other conservation strategies used during a work’s treatment, exhibition, and storage. Students will also explore the analytic techniques used to assess a painting’s condition, including X-radiography, Infrared Reflectography, and Ultraviolet Fluorescence. No previous painting experience is necessary. Beth Edelstein, Sarah Barack, and Katie Sanderson guest lecture for this course.
Course Requirements:
Intended Audience: Advanced undergraduate level art history majors
Class Format: Seminar
Credit Hours: 3
Online Resources:

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Course Title and Number: Summer Institute in Technical Art History
University or Institution: Conservation Center, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University
Instructor Name(s): Instructors vary year to year. Michele Marincola serves as the director, and Sarah Barack is the coordinator.
Brief Course Description: An intensive two-week introduction to technical art history which includes lectures, lab visits, hands-on exercises, demonstrations and more.
Course Requirements: Actively enrolled in a PhD program in art history in North America
Intended Audience: See above (15 applicants accepted per year)
Class Format: Two weeks, all day M-F
Credit Hours: none
Online Resources:

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Course Title and Number: Technical Considerations for Art Historians, HA-682
University or Institution: Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY
Instructor Name(s): Corey D'Augustine
Brief Course Description: This course introduces the materials and techniques used to make works of art, ethnographic objects, and other historical artifacts. Emphasis will be placed on the identification of materials and historical alternations that have taken place since the time of the object’s completion. In addition, students will explore the analytic techniques used to assess the condition and authenticity of these objects, as well as conservation strategies used during the treatment, exhibition, and storage of works of art.
Course Requirements:
Intended Audience: Graduate level art history students
Class Format: Seminar
Credit Hours: 3
Online Resources:

Conservation Course Syllabus Pages

This online resource, hosted by Conservation OnLine and compiled by conservator Sarah Lowengard, presents course syllabi on a number of topics geared toward both conservation and allied professional audiences. Visit the syllabus page here.

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