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Subject: Johns Hopkins University program in heritage conservation science

Johns Hopkins University program in heritage conservation science

From: Sophia Jordan Mowery <sjordan<-at->
Date: Friday, February 27, 2009
Program to serve as research catalyst for conserving the nation's
cultural heritage materials

The Johns Hopkins Sheridan Libraries have been awarded $792,000 from
the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to launch a pilot program for
post-doctoral fellows in heritage conservation science. Two heritage
conservation fellows will be selected each year in an international
competition to address a vetted scientific research agenda during
the two and a half-year initiative, based in the Libraries'
conservation and preservation department.

The program will provide opportunities for the research fellows to
collaborate with faculty and students in the Johns Hopkins Whiting
School of Engineering's department of materials science, the Johns
Hopkins Museums, and area institutions such as historical societies.
Their investigations will emphasize research relevant to materials
in libraries, archives, and other cultural heritage organizations.

For twenty years, libraries, archives and granting agencies have
focused attention and resources on collection care and mass
preventive action, such as environmental controls. While this
approach has proven effective, it has not afforded the opportunity
for studies in materials science that would inform specific
conservation treatments and techniques.

   "The Sheridan Libraries' conservation program was the first in
    the country to offer apprenticeships and internships to train
    conservators at the bench," said Winston Tabb, Sheridan Dean of
    University Libraries and Museums at Johns Hopkins. "It is
    particularly fitting that at a research intensive university
    like Hopkins we will now have the opportunity to collaborate
    with our colleagues at the Whiting School-not only to generate a
    new body of research, but also to invigorate and sustain the

The creation of the post-doctoral fellows program was one of the
recommendations of a group of 23 internationally recognized
conservators and applied research scientists, convened in April
2008, to develop a detailed set of specific proposals to address the
research/development activities needed to conserve the nation's book
and paper materials.

An integral part of the conservation fellows' research agenda will
be engaging industry partners. "Conservators are dependent upon the
products industry provides to conduct conservation treatment," said
Sophia Jordan-Mowery, the Joseph Ruzicka and Marie Ruzicka Feldmann
Director of Library Conservation and Preservation, and principal
investigator for the project. "Yet industrial products, their
formulations, and their applications are judged by how well they
serve the conservator's needs.  Engaging industry in the entire
chain of production and application will serve both the market and
the cultural heritage organizations," Jordan-Mowery said.

William Minter, principal of Bookbinding and Conservation, Inc.,
will serve as the senior project conservator.  An internationally
recognized conservator of heritage collections for many U.S.
libraries, museums, and archives, he has successfully merged the
roles of conservator, inventor, and scientist. More than thirty
years ago, Minter pioneered and developed the ultrasonic welder for
the encapsulation of brittle and otherwise endangered documents and
art materials. Now considered standard equipment in conservation
labs, nearly 200 encapsulation machines are used for preservation at
institutions around the world.  Minter has also conducted
independent testing and review of conservation treatments, evaluated
long-term performance of industry products used by conservators, and
re-examined earlier research to determine the validity of testing
and research models.

An advisory board chaired by Jordan-Mowery and comprising experts
from academic, conservation, scientific, and industry sectors, will
set the strategic agenda for research and solicit calls for
proposals from the scientific community.  Board members include
William Minter, Jonah Erlebacher, associate professor in materials
science engineering at Johns Hopkins, Nels Olson, an analytical
chemist and former chief of the Preservation Research and Testing
Division at the Library of Congress, and David Grattan, manager of
conservation research services at the Canadian Conservation
Institute. The board will review fellowship applications and
recommend awards beginning this spring for project initiation in the
fall of 2009.

Sonja K. Jordan-Mowery
Joseph Ruzicka and Marie Ruzicka Feldman
Director of Library Conservation and Preservation
Johns Hopkins University
The Sheridan Libraries
3400 N. Charles Street
Baltimore, MD 21218-2683

                  Conservation DistList Instance 22:49
                   Distributed: Sunday, March 1, 2009
                       Message Id: cdl-22-49-001
Received on Friday, 27 February, 2009

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