The Conservation Course Syllabus Pages

Course Laboratory techniques 1
Date offered Fall 1998
Location Ontario, CA
Instructor Miriam Harris
Institution Sir Sandford Fleming College


Course Outline

Course Number: 1380210

Fall Semester, 1998

Sir Sandford Fleming College

Collections Conservation and Management Program

Community Development & Health

Semester I

Course Format: 6 hrs. Laboratory work

Hours: Tuesday/Wednesday 9-12am.1-4pm.

Miriam Harris, Office # 371B
Ofice Hours: Tuesday & Wednesday 4-5pm

Vocational Outcomes:

This course has been designed to comply with standards and ethics as prescribed by IIC-CG(CAC),CAPC and ICOM Committee for Professional Museum Training.

Generic Skills Outcomes:


1. Communicate clearly, concisely and correctly in written, spoken and visual form, descriptive and explanatory information regarding ceramics and metal objects and lab procedures.

1. Reframe information, ideas and concepts using the narrative, visual, numerical and symbolic representations which demonstrate understanding.

2. Represent his or her skills, knowledge and experiences realistically for personal and employment purposes.

Math Skills:

4. Use of various mathematical techniques to accurately record dimensions, construct supports and housings, and measure chemical solutions.

Computer Literacy:

5. Use a variety of computer hardware and software and other technological tools appropriate and necessary to the performance of tasks.

Interpersonal Skills:

6. Interact with instructor and others in ways that contribute to effective working relationships and achievement of individual and group goals.

7. Manage use of time and resources to attain project related goals.

8. Act ethically, taking responsibility for own actions and decisions.

Analytical Skills:

9. Evaluate his or her own thinking throughout the steps and processes used in problem solving and decision making.

10. Collect, analyze and organize relevant information from a variety of sources.

11. Propose appropriate solutions that meet identified needs.

12. Adapt to new situations and demands by applying and/or updating her or his knowledge and skills.

General Education Goal Area:


Course Description:

This course is designed to teach the student the principles and techniques of ceramics, glass, stone and metals conservation. This course combines the understanding of the history of technology with the characteristics and properties of inorganic materials most commonly found in museum collections. Students will be provided with the opportunity to develop practical and theoretical skills in the identification, assessment, cleaning, stabilization, repair, and care of inorganic materials through a variety of lab projects.

A field work component introduces special topics such as conservation and preservation issues related to cemeteries, stone buildings and petroglyphs.

Corequisites: 1380202, 1380207, 1380213


To enable students to identify, assess and complete simple treatments on ceramic, glass, stone and metal objects.

Learning Outcomes:

Upon completion of the course, the learner has reliably demonstrated the ability to:

Learning Sequence:



Topic, resources, learning activities Learning Outcome Assessment
Week 1 -- Sept 8 Introduction and Orientation

WHMIS Training and Laboratory Safety

Week 2 -- Sept 15 Introduction to Ceramics and Glass Conservation, including general types of ceramics.

Assignment of clay pot, joining techniques.

Introduction to adhesives.

Site Visit: Evening viewing of Peterborough Petroglyphs

1, 2, 3, 4 , 6 terracotta pot project
Week 3 -- Sept 22 Assignment of ceramic plate.

Gap filling techniques, In painting, Colour matching, Adhesives.

1,2,3,4,5,6,7 -terracotta pot project

-ceramic plate project

Week 4 -- Sept 29 Ceramics Conservation, stain removal techniques.

Project Introduction -- Adhesive comparisons.

1,2,3,4,5,6,7 -terracotta pot

-ceramic plate projects

-adhesive project

Week 5 -- Oct 6 Glass conservation exercise.

Clay pot assignment due.

Adhesive comparisons.

Community based project: Site closing Lang Pioneer Village.

1,2,3,4,5,6, 7 -terracotta pot due

-ceramic plate project

-adhesive project

Week 6 -- Oct 13 Ceramic plate assignment due.

Adhesive comparisons.

Proposed site visit: Stone building or cemetery.

1,2,3,4,5,6,7 -ceramic plate due

-adhesive project

Week 7 -- Oct 20 Adhesive comparisons.

Introduction to documentation procedures.

1,2,3,4 -adhesive project
Week 8 -- Oct 27 Independent study week.    
Week 9 -- Nov 3 Introduction to Metals Conservation.

Assignment of Iron Objects.

Documentation of Iron Objects.

Preliminary treatment of Iron Objects.

Adhesive comparisons.

1,2,3,4,8 -adhesive project

-iron artifact

treatment & document

Week 10 -- Nov 10 Conservation/treatment of iron objects.

Adhesive comparisons due.

1,2,3,4,8,9 -adhesive project due

-iron artifact treatment

Week 11 -- Nov 17 Conservation/treatment of iron objects.

Assignment and documentation of Shiny Metal Objects.

1,2,3,4,8,9,10 -iron artifact treatment
Week 12 -- Nov 24 Iron objects due.

Project discussion.

Conservation treatment of Shiny Metal objects.

1,2,3,4,8 -iron artifact treatment and document due

-shiny metal artifact

Week 13 -- Dec 1 Conservation/Treatment of Shiny Metal Objects.

Shiny Metal Objects due.

1,2,3,4,8,9, 10 -shiny metal artifact & document due
Week 14 -- Dec 8 Metal Polishes exercises.

Project discussions

1,2,3,4,8,9 -metal polish exercise
Week 15 -- Dec 15 Laboratory clean-up.    

Learning Resources:

Students will be required to purchase:

*see additional course material for more extensive equipment list.

The Conservation Laboratory will be available for student use on scheduled evenings and weekends, after students have participated in the approved WHMIS and First Aid Training.

A schedule to accommodate the needs of first year and second year students will be posted as necessary.


Students are encouraged to review library resources and purchase the following required texts:

Science for Conservators Series
Book 1 - Introduction to Materials
Book 2 - Cleaning
Book 3 - Adhesives and Coatings, Crafts Council, London

CCI Notes, Canadian Conservation Institute, Ottawa: ON

Cronyn, J.M. he Elements of Archaeological Conservation. ondon: Routledge. 1990

Knell, Simon are of Collections. ondon: Routledge. 1994

Landscape of Memories - A Guide for Conserving Historic Cemeteries, Government of Ontario Publication

Cohen,David H., and Hess, Catherine Looking at European Ceramics - A Guide to Technical Terms, The J. Paul Getty Museum 1993

Additional references and reading materials will be posted or distributed.

Assessment Plan:

The following criteria will be used to evaluate each student's performance: standard and quality of practical work, efficient use of scheduled laboratory time, neatness, economical use of materials, initiative, dedication and interest. Students will carry out all documentation and treatment of objects in accordance with professional standards and code of ethics.

Criteria for assessment will vary depending on the material composition of objects and the condition of objects.

Students are required to keep a Laboratory Journal. Regular entries should be made including observations, subject information and points of interest to students.

Assignment Value in Percent Due Date
Clay pot 15 % Oct 6
Ceramic plate 15% Oct 13
Adhesive comparisons 20% Nov 10
Iron object 15% Nov 24
Shiny metal object 15% Dec 1
Documentation 20% Nov 24 & Dec 1

Note: Above dates may be subject to change

Prior Learning Assessment:

PLA options and contact for this course:

Contact Gayle McIntyre

Academic Responsibilities:

Mandatory Requirements

The Art Conservation Laboratory is to be booked at all times, when NOT in use. Failure to book the laboratory will result in the loss of unscheduled access.

Students will work in the laboratory with at least one other person (i.e. the "buddy" system).

Eating, drinking and smoking are not permitted in the laboratory.

Students will not be allowed access to the laboratory under the influence of alcohol or narcotics.


Course Policies

Projects will be evaluated upon the successful completion of the artifact treatment, and when all written and photographic documentation is submitted. Failure to provide all necessary documentation will jeopardize the evaluation process. Students must complete all course assignments in order to receive a passing grade.

Late assignments will be penalized 10 % per day. The instructor reserves the right to remove artifacts from students if a treatment is not progressing consistently; a grade of zero will be given. The CCM program has adopted the attached policy on late assignments. Exceptions may be granted due to circumstances beyond the student's control, provided that the student contacts the instructor promptly upon return to the College to discuss alternate arrangements.

Collections Conservation and Management

1. Presentation

Written assignments must be:

2. Re-writes

Faculty may request a re-write of a submission if the criteria for assessment have not been met. Late penalties will apply if the assignment is not re-submitted the following day.

3. Penalties for Late Submissions

The Collections Conservation Management Program recognizes the departmental policy developed by Community Services.

Completion of Term Work

All assignments must be completed in order for students to achieve a passing grade.

Late Assignments

Late assignments receive the following penalty:

Oral Presentations

Oral presentations and/or practical or projects for evaluation must be delivered on the day scheduled. A 'no-show' will be graded at zero unless adequate explanation is provided.

4. Academic Integrity

Plagiarism is a serious breach of academic integrity and the college has a strict policy on this issue (see Academic Regulations).

It is a student's responsibility to ensure that all written submissions include an appropriate method of in text citation as well as an accompanying bibliography.

Seminar and oral presentations should be supported by a bibliography and sources should be referred to during the presentation.

5. Make-up Tests

In valid circumstances (ill-health, personal crisis), a student may be given a make-up test to compensate for one missed in class-time. Students must contact the instructor within seven days of the original test in order to request a make-up.

6. Extensions & GDFS

An extension may be granted to an individual student based on need and circumstance. Medical grounds should be substantiated.

The revised due date will be recorded and signed by both parties.

The entire class may be given an extension, at the discretion of faculty.

Incomplete and Grade Deferred marks at the end of the semester must be negotiated between student and faculty (see Academic Regulations). Note: these are a privilege to be granted under special circumstances, not used in order to compensate for poor planning.

7. Site Work

Students must agree to work within the parameters of the guidelines established for site work. Failure to comply, may result in the termination of project and suspension of the privilege of access.

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