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Art Conservation


The Winterthur Program in American Material Culture is one of two graduate programs offered in collaboration with the Winterthur Museum. The Winterthur/University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation (WUDPAC) is also located at the Museum. It is one of three graduate programs in art conservation offered in the United States. Conservation Fellows share a student lounge with the Culture students and we encourage collaboration between the two groups of students.

Although it is hard to coordinate the schedules of both groups, they benefit from constant informal learning experiences and exchanges. When Culture Program students learned about the tool kits the Conservation students were using, they petitioned to have their own tool kits for use in their connoisseurship classes. All Culture Fellows now receive tool kits, paid for in part by generous gifts from the Society of Winterthur Fellows.

The most organized collaboration occurs during preparations for the Montgomery Competition held in September of a Fellow’s second year: Conservation Fellows assess the condition of the object Culture Fellows present.

Culture Fellows also have ready access to the Conservation and Analytical laboratories on the top two floors of the Research Building and may observe treatments. They occasionally sit in on conservation blocks; Culture Fellows have attended blocks or portions of blocks on paint, gilding, carving, upholstery, ivory, horn, bone, textile fibers, and other topics. Conservation students also have attended connoisseurship blocks, have audited elective classes and have participated in the course on English Design History.

With permission and sufficient notice, Culture Fellows have also made good use of the scientists working in the Analytical laboratories for thesis research. They are able to use STEM testing, X-radiography, X-ray fluorescence, microscopy, fiber analysis, paint stratigraphy, and other tests to examine archaeological specimens, japanned surface treatments, silver, glass, ceramics, textiles, and other materials. This kind of testing is a unique collaborative feature that models the kind of cooperative research ventures often found in large institutions.

Finally, the Conservation Program also brings a steady stream of experts and scientists to the Museum to lecture or conduct workshops.