University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology Conservation Lab

From Wiki

Overview/Mission

The Museum Conservation Laboratory was founded in 1966 through the efforts (and with the generous support of) the Museum Women's Committee. It was the first archaeology/ ethnology museum conservation lab in the U.S. to be staffed entirely by professional conservators. Charged with the care of the Museum’s collections, the Penn Museum’s conservation team ensures that all art and artifacts are restored, stored, transported, handled, studied and exhibited in ways that preserve their physical integrity and their potential to yield information about the cultures that produced them.

The Penn Museum’s Conservation Department is tasked with the long term preservation and conservation of the Museum’s object collections. Working with other Museum staff, duties include:

  • examining, treating, and setting exhibition parameters for all objects going on exhibition or out on loan
  • setting travel requirements for all objects going on loan or traveling as part of an exhibition
  • working with Collections staff to provide the best possible environment for the long term preservation of collections in storage
  • providing conservation consultation for Museum staff, researchers, students, and the general public

Background of the Institution

Founded in 1887, the Penn Museum is one of the world’s great archaeology and anthropology research museums, and the largest university museum in the United States. With roughly one million objects in the collection, the Penn Museum encapsulates and illustrates the human story: who we are and where we came from. As a dynamic research institution with many ongoing research projects, the Museum is a vibrant and engaging place of continual discovery, with the mandate of research, teaching, collections stewardship, and public engagement.

Milestones

Date Event
1887 Museum founded
1899 First section of the permanent museum building opened
1915, 1926, 1929 Museum additions added
1961 MASCA (the Museum Applied Science Center for Archaeology) established
2002 Opening of a state-of-the-art, climate controlled building, the A. Bruce and Margaret R. Mainwaring Wing, to house collections storage and research/study spaces

Dimensions

History of the Laboratory/Studio

Date Event
1966 Conservation lab established
2010 Conservation lab closed for renovation, department moves to temporary spaces in Mainwaring
2014 Newly-renovated West Wing Conservation and Teaching Labs completed. Establishment of CAAM (Center for the Analysis of Archaeological Materials), a joint endeavor between the museum and the University of Pennsylvania's School of Arts and Sciences (SAS).

Staff History

Conservators

Virginia Greene, 1971-2008
Lynn Grant, -present
Julia Lawson -present
Nina Owczarek -present
Tessa de Alarcon -present
Molly Gleeson -present
Alexis North -present

Grant-funded Conservators and Fellows

Conservation Interns

Intensive involvement in the areas of artifact care and treatment, exhibitions and excavations makes the Penn Museum a rich training ground for newly qualified conservators. Particularly, the breadth and depth of the Museum’s collections offer an experience equaled by few other museums in the world. The Conservation Laboratory has earned a reputation for providing excellent career training in the field, and has hosted nearly 50 Fellows and Interns since 1971. Many of the current leaders in the field of archaeological and ethnographic conservation have received training in the Museum’s laboratory. The laboratory is well known for providing a realistic working environment combined with thoughtful encouragement of novice conservators and the ability to cater the Fellowship or Internship experience to the individual’s particular interests.

3rd or 4th year graduate-level interns

Summer work project, pre-program, & other interns

The following lists the interns who have worked within the department since its inception.

Conservation Volunteers

Facilities

Analytical Equipment

Pest Eradication Equipment

Photo-documentation Equipment

References

Further Reading & Viewing

Social Media

Conservation posts on the Penn Museum's blog
In the Artifact Lab: Conserving Egyptian Mummies blog
Penn Museum Artifact Lab on Twitter

Articles by Staff

Interviews & Media Appearances

Links

Support