The Conservation Course Syllabus Pages

Course:Laboratory Techniques I
Date Offered:Fall Semester, 1997
Location:Peterborough, Ont. Canada
Instructor:Miriam Harris
Institution:Sir Sandford Fleming College


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.

Aim & Learning Outcomes
To enable students to identify, assess and complete simple treatments on ceramic, glass, stone and metal objects.
Learning Outcomes:
Students will have demonstrated the ability to:
demonstrate safe work practices (handling, use and disposal of chemicals and related materials, use of PPE, WHMIS, etc.)
manage and spaces, tools and equipment
know the characteristics and properties of earthenware, stoneware and porcelain, glass, stone and metals
apply knowledge of manufacturing and production processes to various artifact treatments
clean ceramics, glass and stone using a variety of methods and techniques (eg. dry cleaning, aqueous solutions solvents poultices, etc)
repair, consolidate and gap fill ceramics, glass and stone objects while maintaining the integrity of the original
colour tint, colour match and paint replacement fills
know the behaviours, characteristics and properties of assorted metals and alloys including historic and archaeological materials (eg. recognition of corrosion and corrosion by products, understanding of oxidation and reduction reactions, etc)
clean metals and metal surfaces using a variety of methods and techniques (eg. intensive washing and drying; use of sequestering agents; electrolytic and/or electrochemical reduction; polishes; rust convertors and other preparations
stabilize metal surfaces through application of protective coatings

Course Format
This course is one of four courses listed in the "super module" of linked tightly together, are interdependent to each other, and are foundation courses for the program.
This course will consist of 6 hours of scheduled laboratory work per week. Laboratory time may be subject to occasional rescheduling in order to fit in with field trips, community based projects, group projects or guest lectures and/or workshops. Students are asked to remain flexible during the delivery of the course content.
Additional time outside of scheduled class will be required for independent study and artifact treatment.

Course Resources
Students will be required to purchase:
  1. An assortment of tools
  2. Artist brushes
  3. Clay flower pot
  4. Small, patterned china plate
  5. Colour slide film
  6. Lab coat or apron
  7. Safety goggles
  8. Respirator with suitable cartridges
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.

Course Content

Week 1 - Sept. 2Introduction and Orientation
WHMIS Training and Laboratory Safety
Week 2 - Sept. 8Introduction 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
Week 3 - Sept. 15Assignment of ceramic plate.
Gap filling techniques, Inpainting, Colour matching.
Week 4 - Sept. 22Ceramics Conservation, stain removal techniques.
Project Introduction - Adhesive comparisons.
Week 5 - Sept. 29Glass conservation exercise.
Clay pot assignment due.
Adhesive comparisons.
Week 6 - Oct. 6Ceramic plate assignment due.
Adhesive comparisons.
Proposed site visit: Stone building or cemetery.
Week 7 - Oct. 13Adhesive comparisons.
Community based project: Site closing Lang Pioneer Village.
Week 8 - Oct. 20Independent Study Week
Week 9 - Oct. 27Introduction to Metals Conservation.
Assignment of Iron Objects.
Documentation of Iron Objects.
Preliminary Treatment of Iron Objects.
Adhesive comparisons.
Week 10 - Nov. 3Conservation/treatment of Iron Objects.
Adhesive comparisons.
Week 11 - Nov. 10Conservation/treatment of Iron Objects.
Adhesive comparisons.
Week 12 - Nov. 17Iron objects and adhesive comparisons due.
Project discussion.
Assignment and documentation of Shiny Metal Objects.
Week 13 - Nov. 24Conservation/Treatment of Shiny Metal Objects.
Week 14 - Dec. 1Shiny Metal Objects due.
Project discussion.
Week 15 - Dec. 8Laboratory clean-up.

Evaluation Criteria:
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.
Criteria for assessment will vary depending on the material composition of objects and the condition of objects.
Students are required to keep a Laboratory Joumal. Regular entries should be made including observations, subject information and points of interest to student.

AssignmentValue in PercentDue Date
Clay Pot15%Sept. 29
Ceramic Plate15%Oct. 6
Adhesive Comparisons20%Nov. 17
Iron Object15%Nov. 17
Shiny Metal Object15%Dec. 1
Documentation20%Nov. 17 & Dec. 1

Mandatory Requirements
  1. The Art Conservation Laboratory is to be locked at all times, when NOT in use. Failure to book the laboratory will result in the loss of unscheduled access.
  2. Students will work in the laboratory with at least one other person (de: the "buddy system").
  3. Eating, drinking and smoking are not permitted in the laboratory.
  4. Students will not be allowed access to the laboratory under the influence of alcohol or narcotics.
  6. Artifacts and course supplies will not be permitted to leave the laboratory. personal equipment or related belongings.
  7. Students are required to store personal belongings such as coats, boots, etc in their lockers.
  8. Students will respect all artifacts and projects - thereby not handling any treatments in progress, other than their own, unless given permission to do so.
  9. Students are not permitted to use personal property as projects to be evaluated.
  10. Students will record unscheduled time spent in the laboratory in the "lab log".

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.

Academic Policies
1. Presentation
Written assignments must be:
typed or word-processed
double spaced
proofed for spelling and grammatical errors
enclosed with a single cover sheet which includes student name, title of the assignment and date of submission
stapled in the top left hand corner (unbound)
include a bibliography (where appropriate)
use a recognized method of citation (eg. MLA or Chicago)
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
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:
Marks will be deducted at the rate of 10% per day for three days after which assignments are marked at zero.
Faculty are not obliged to provide feedback on assignments marked at zero.
Oral presentations and/or practical test 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 a 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.


Required Text:
Science for Conservators Series Book I - Introduction to Materials Book 2 - Cleaning Book 3 - Adhesives and Coatings, Crafts Council, London Canadian Conservation Institute. C.C.I. Notes. Ottawa: Department of Communications Cronyn, J.M. The Elements of Archaeological Conservation. London: Routledge. 1990 Knell, Simon. Care of Collections. London: Routledge. 1994 Rossol, Monona. The Artist's Complete Health and Safety Guide. New York: Allworth Press. 1994
Additional references and reading materials will be posted or [[MISSING TEXT]]

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