Volume 10, Number 1, Jan. 1988, pp.19-25
The Bishop Museum has been awarded an Institute for Museum Services grant to survey 225,000 objects in the anthropology collection. To assist with this project, Pacific Regional Conservation Center's Dale Kronkright has trained 15 collection management assistants in a 72 hour, 10 week training course. During the next year, Dale and the assistants will be surveying the collection and preparing a conservation plan. PRCC has hired another objects conservator, Valerie Free, who began work in November. Valerie is a 1979 graduate of the Queen's program and has worked at the National Museums in Canada, at the Peabody Museum, Harvard University, and privately before coming to Bishop Museum. Valerie is working with Janet Mason on an NEA project to treat objects from Bishop Museum's ethnographic collection, which were identified through earlier surveys as the highest priority for treatment before they are moved to a new storage facility. Dale Kronkright and Jane Bassett are involved in condition surveys and treatment proposals for 88 ancient Chinese and Luristan bronzes from the collection of the Honolulu Academy of Arts. Dale and Jane are also investigating the use of dental methacrylates as fill and casting materials. Anyone who has information or experience to share should please contact them. Janet Mason's position as The Andrew W. Mellon Fellow in ethnographic conservation has been renewed so we won't have to face losing her until next fall. Janet recently prepared a three dimensional cloak mount for long term display of Kamehameha IV's feather cloak which belongs to the Queen Emma Summer Palace. Janet is also designing a wall mount for the full length Kamehameha I cloak in the collection of Bishop Museum. Conservators in the paper lab have been re-examining the deterioration processes and traditional exhibit procedures for tapa cloth. Leslie Paisley and Jane Bassett traveled to Westin's Mauna Kea Beach Hotel to pack 3 pieces of 5 x 8 foot Hawaiian tapa for return to PRCC. Due to their deteriorated condition the tapas were all lined to provide adequate support and stabilize torn and weak areas of the delicate cloth. The treatment was very successful in providing additional strength to the fragile tapas without notable loss of three dimensionality or fine surface characteristics. A new mounting system was designed for permanent display of the tapas. The remaining 8 tapas will be treated over the next few years. Gregory Thomas, Senior Paintings Conservator of the Pacific Regional Conservation Center, has resigned from the Bishop Museum and has set-up private practice in Kailua, Hawaii. Greg's new mailing address is: Artcare, P.O. Box 772, Kailua, Hawaii 96734.
The Bay Area Art Conservation Guild began its fall activities with the 1987-88 Stephen D. Shapiro Memorial Fund sponsored event. This year the choice was an all day seminar with Roger Keyes: "The Scholarship and Connoisseurship of Japanese Prints". Those in attendance were treated to a look at all stages of the process of printing a Japanese woodblock print from several early sketches, to actual carved blocks and sets of tools, to proofs of individual colors. Many prints were available for a close look at work from different periods and styles - even various states of several individual images. The BAACG Program Chairman, John Burke, has arranged a stimulating series of meetings. A visit to the San Francisco Maritime Museum included a talk by James Delgado on marine archaeology and preservation. Following that, an evening meeting with a panel of speakers on the topic of Exhibits Conservation included Elizabeth Cornu, Conservator at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco giving an update of exhibit conservation techniques; Karen Field, John F. Kennedy University graduate in museum studies discussed her thesis research findings of a survey of exhibit conservation conditions in over 200 small history museums in the western states; Therese O'Gorman, Conservation Technician at the Oakland Museum talked about current research there on developing a stable, low cost microclimate; and finally, Stephen Weintraub, head of Conservation Processes at the Getty Conservation Institute discussed recent microclimate research findings at the Institute. Many Guild members attended this meeting at the JFK Center for Museum Studies. The January 6th meeting was held at the American Institute of Architects in San Francisco. It was a joint meeting with Artistic License, a group of preservation and restoration artisans that is currently mounting an exhibit at the local chapter house of the American Institute of Architects in San Francisco. The next meeting will be hosted by the Asian Museum and BAACG at the Trustee's Auditorium, Asian Art Museum on January 28. The speaker will be Doreen Stoneham from the Research Laboratory for Archaeology and the History of Art, Oxford University. Her lecture will be on "Thermoluminescence: Possibilities and Pitfalls of Dating Ceramic Materials". Thanks to the efforts of Judith Reiniets and a committee of volunteers, the first issue of the experimental, less formal format for a BAACG newsletter came out in October, the BAACG Bulletin. General consensus of the BAACG Board was that the WAAC Newsletter does a wonderful job [aw, shucks. Ed.] and there is no need to duplicate the information in that publication in a local newsletter. However, there is a need for the exchange of local current items of interest quickly and at a low production cost. The first issue was well received and, with future refinements, should prove that there is a solution to the problem of not being able to come up with any one person to serve as editor. Painting, Object, Ethnographic, and Textile Conservation at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco are all being remodeled or are in new spaces. In order to get more natural light, the Painting Conservation studio has been moved upstairs with funding by the Edward E. Hill Fund and with the help of NEA, has been able to purchase some new equipment. Plans for a conservation library are taking shape. Robin Tichane, Conservator at the Asian Art Museum, has been working for some time on developing the George Stout Memorial library. He and BAACG member, Collette Tanaka presented their findings to the Board of BAACG on a number of possible sites for a steadily growing body of material. The site seriously under consideration is at the JFK Center for Museum Studies in San Francisco. Gail Anderson, the Director of the Museum Studies Program, and librarians Ann Patterson and Greta de Groat were present at the most recent Board meeting to talk about the facility and answer questions. Further encouragement for the library has come in the form of a wonderfully generous donation from Robin Tichane of 150 books and publications, $500 toward purchasing future publications, and a promise of 150 additional publications. More information on these developments will be forthcoming.
Molly Alexander has joined the Conservation Research section of LACMA's Conservation Center as an NEA intern for the six month period of January to June 1988. She comes to LACMA having just completed her Ph.D. dissertation within UCLA's Archaeology program where she worked in dendrochronology and carbon-14 dating of architecture in Medieval England. Molly will be gaining experience in other analytical techniques while assisting in the laboratory before going on to a teaching position next fall. Jeff Maish, recent graduate of the Buffalo Graduate Program, began a one year Fellowship in Antiquities Conservation at the J. Paul Getty Museum. Jeff has recently returned from his third year internship at the York Archaeological Trust in England. Cathleen Orlenko has joined the Huntington Library staff as head of the rare book conservation lab. Carol Sussman, has been apprenticing in Sculpture Conservation with Billie Milam since the fall of 1987 in the Decorative Arts and Sculpture Conservation Laboratory at the J. Paul Getty Museum. She graduated from Cornell University with a double major in Chemistry and History of Art and completed a summer internship at Williamstown Regional Art Conservation Laboratory. The South Coast Fine Arts Conservation Center, in Santa Barbara, has recently hired Simon Dutoit as a paintings conservator. On January 4, 1988 Janice Schopfer began a one year NEA Internship in Paper Conservation at LACMA. She will be working under the supervision of Victoria Blyth Hill. Janice has worked for the past five years with Robert Futernick. Tanya Thompson had a second son, Theodore Adams, on 18 November 1987. John Twilley, Stan Margolis, and Jerry Podany will be conducting a technical survey of two hundred Cycladic objects at the Museum of Fine Arts in Virginia. These objects are part of a traveling exhibition of Cycladic arts from American collections. (See also Conferences in Review.) Claire Dean and Jerry Podany of the Antiquities Conservation Department at The J. Paul Getty Museum participated as instructors in the seminar on Field Conservation in Chicago, January 10th - 15th, sponsored by The Getty Conservation Institute. Paula Volent has just completed the graduate conservation program at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University. Paula will be working with Mark Watters and Robert Aitchison of Aitchison & Watters, Inc., for one day a week for the next six months; with Denise Domergue at Conservation of Paintings, Ltd., part time; and will continue with Victoria Blyth Hill, at LACMA, for the balance. Terri Schindel has just completed a six week internship in LACMA's Textile Conservation Lab where she focused on the reconstruction of an 1868 silk dress. Terri now returns to Hampton Court Palace, England, to complete the last six months of the Textile Conservation Centre's three year diploma course in textile conservation. Mark Watters, of Aitchison & Watters, Inc., is supervising Maureen McGee, preparator, in a collection survey funded by an IMS grant at the Grunwald Center for Graphic Arts at UCLA. As of January 11, 1988, work has started on the cleaning of the fire damaged ceilings and murals of the Los Angeles Central Library after a period of preliminary testing and examination. This is a joint project between Rosamond Westmoreland, Tatyana M. Thompson & Associates, Inc., and A. T. Heinsbergen & Co. Following this treatment, the library is scheduled for a major renovation under the direction of Hardy, Holzman, Pfeiffer & Associates. The Paintings Conservation Department at The J. Paul Getty Museum began the conservation of James Ensor's "Entry of Christ in Brussels", 1889. The Painting was recently purchased by the museum. The J. Paul Getty Museum is presenting a program of public evening lectures on "Paintings Conservation: Cases and Issues in Recent Work at The J. Paul Getty Museum". (See the Events section for titles and dates.) Mark Leonard, Associate Conservator at the Getty, presented the opening lecture in the series, "Two Case Studies: The Treatment of Chardin's Still Life and David's The Farewell of Telemachus and Eucharis" January 7th. Elisabeth Mention, Yvonne Szafran, Frank Preusser, and Andrea Rothe are also presenting lectures in the series. Alain Goldrach of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston will be in residence as Visiting Conservator in the Paintings Conservation Department at The J. Paul Getty Museum during January and February. Mr. Goldrach presented a seminar on "About the Cleaning of Paintings at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston" at the Getty on January 13th. Dianne Dwyer and Mario Modestini, Paintings Conservators in New York City, consulted with the staff in LACMA's Paintings Conservation Department in December 1987. They discussed a variety of inpainting and varnishing techniques. Gianni Marussich and Renato Castorrini, private conservators from Florence, are currently performing structural treatments on panel paintings in the Getty collection. Sharon Blank and Don Sale have been asked to speak at the April SSCR Modern Organic Materials meeting in Edinburgh, Scotland. Sharon will be presenting a paper on "Practical Answers to Plastic Problems" and Don will speak on "The Effect of Solvents on Four Plastics found in Museum Collections: A Treatment Dilemma". Tatyana M. Thompson's (Thompson Conservation Associates, Inc.) treatment of "The Crucifixion with the Virgin and Eight Saints" by Peter Paul Rubens, oil on panel, has been cited in "New Oil Sketches by Peter Paul Rubens" by Julius S. Held in the September 1987 issue of The Burlington Magazine. Barbara Roberts and Linda Strauss have just completed un-mounting and cleaning 80 Sevres porcelain pieces from the Arabella Huntington Memorial Collection at the Huntington Museum. A number of new marks have been discovered and are being added to the body of information on Sevres pieces. The Huntington Museum sponsored an afternoon reception and open house in the Manuscript and Rare Book Labs. Local paper and book conservators in the area were invited to the event on 20 January. The Costume and Textile Department of LACMA is saddened to announce the passing of Florence Karant. Florence was with the department for the past 18 years. It is requested that memorials or donations be sent to the American Cancer Society or to the Costume and Textile Department, LACMA.
Joan Samuels has left the Balboa Art Conservation Center to work in Switzerland. She can be reached c/o Daniel Fabian who has opened a private paintings restoration studio at Wildbachstrasse 39, 8008 Zurich. The 1979 official portrait of Ronald Reagan as Governor of California, which had been vandalized in Sacramento and restored by BACC last year (see WAAC Newsletter, Volume 9, number 1, January 1987) was attacked again. The portrait had been returned to display in the State Capitol near an exit leading to the Grand Staircase. Before the portrait could be protected in a project to apply glazing to a number of vulnerable paintings in the State Capitol collection, it appears that a vandal hurled a can of foamy liquid at the face. There were dents, scratches, and thick yellow residues. Luckily the aluminum hexcel honeycomb panel which BACC has placed behind the original canvas protected the painting from major structural damage. The portrait was sent to BACC again to repair the disturbed varnish and paint layers. The Center will fit protective acrylic glazing into its frame before the painting starts what BACC hopes will be its final journey back home. The Timken Gallery is raising money to pay $250,000 to David Bull of the National Gallery in Washington, DC, for the treatment of one painting, the "Death of the Virgin" by Petrus Christus. The San Diego Tribune describes the project "to remove a surface layer of discolored varnish and redo some faulty restoration work done earlier in this century." Nancy Petersen, director of the Timken Gallery, is also quoted as saying she will not sacrifice the annual budget for museum operations and acquisitions in order to fund the treatment. BACC has resumed publication of its Newsletter with the Volume 5, Number 1 issue of 15 October 1987. Primarily a review of activities at the Center, the Newsletter will be published twice a year and annual subscriptions are available from BACC for $10. Arizona: The Arizona State Museum will soon be completing the last three week session of its preventive conservation course entitled, "Collections Care Training for Anthropological Museum Professionals." The course is an intensive interdisciplinary program that includes two three-week sessions (spring and fall) for fifteen participants, all museum professionals, from throughout the U.S. Numerous conservators have served as instructors for the course. The project is under the sponsorship of The Bay Foundation of New York and was initiated by the AAM, AASLH, and NIC.
The past few months have evidenced a number of significant changes for the Rocky Mountain Regional Conservation Center (RMRCC) at the University of Denver. Staffing has been expanded by the addition of two new members. David A. Shute, former director of the National Institute for Conservation and Executive Director of the National Conservation Advisory Council in Washington, D.C., joined the staff in November as its new Administrator. He brings with him a strong commitment to the development of carefully focussed educational programs to help museum professionals and others responsible for the care of cultural collections meet their ever-increasing preservation responsibilities. The professional staffing of the textile department has also been expanded by the addition of T. Rose Holdcraft as assistant conservator. T. Rose was formerly associated with the Textile Conservation Center at the Museum of American Textile History in Andover, Massachusetts. The fall meeting of the Midwest Regional Conservation Guild was held December 5, 1987, in St. Louis. Christine Young, photo/paper conservator at the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, was elected president of the group. Carl Grimm, Director of the Western Center for the Conservation of Fine Arts, Denver, was elected vice president. The spring meeting of the MRCG will take place April 16, 1988, in Buffalo, New York. It will be hosted by the Art Conservation Department of S.U.N.Y. (formerly Cooperstown). Among the RMRCC's particularly noteworthy projects, the Center's Director and Objects Conservator, Charles G. (Carl) Patterson has been giving special attention to working with natural history museums to help them apply the conservation principles of other disciplines to their needs and problems. This is an area that has received little conservation attention in the past. Alan Bohnert, Curator of the National Park Service's Rocky Mountain Region, and Claire Munzenrider, Head of the Conservation Laboratories for the Museums of New Mexico, are two of the students in the Mural Course being conducted at ICCROM (the International Centre for Conservation in Rome) during the next several months. Last fall, Carl Grimm, WCCFA, presented the first two of a seven lecture conservation series sponsored as a public service by the Denver Chapter of the American Society of Appraisers. David Bauer, Associate Paintings Conservator, will be the April speaker, discussing Fakes and Forgeries. The presentations aim to promote greater appreciation and awareness of the arts and valuation sciences. M. Randall (Randy) Ash, Paintings Conservator, RMRCC, and her staff have been treating all of the murals in the South Dakota State Capitol in Pierre. David Bauer, WCCFA, was a participant at the NIC Council Meeting held October 19 and 20, 1987, in Washington, D.C. Mr. Bauer also represented WCCFA at the WAAC Annual Meeting last November in Tucson. The Textile Department at the RMRCC, headed by Jeanne Brako, is treating 27 textiles from the Hearst Collection for a March, 1988, opening of Southwest Textiles at the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History. In September, 1987, Colorado Historical Society (CHS) received from IMS a conservation grant for $25,000 to provide an optimum environment for collections objects in storage. Jude Southward, Director of Conservation and Registration, states that the funds are being used to: purchase particulate air filters; dust covers for shelving units; recording hygrothermographs, light and ultra-violet meters to upgrade their ability to monitor collections environments; and additional storage equipment and supplies to reduce overcrowding and provide for acid-free storage. The grant has done a great deal towards improving collections care at CHS. The goals for CHS for the next several years include plans to complete general environmental condition surveys of all objects on exhibit. These will include collections at eleven regional museums around the state. The completion of these surveys will allow CHS to evaluate both the historic house structures and the artifacts within them as a unified and dynamic entity. This will be invaluable for developing long-range conservation plans for each house museum. Carmen Bria, Chief Paintings Conservator, WCCFA, conducted a survey of paintings at the Wildlife of the American West Art Museum, Jackson, Wyoming, in January. The Paper Conservation Department at the RMRCC, headed by Robert (Bob) McCarroll, has been working with the sand paintings collection from the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, and also has continued with herbarium studies. Connie Mohrman, Office Manager, WCCFA, attended the Mountain-Plains Museums Association Annual Meeting held last October in El Paso, Texas. The Montana Historical Society in Helena has developed a new conservation laboratory for the Museum, under the direction of Conservator Helen Alten. She is assisted by Suzanne Thweatt and Robin Leenhouts. Their primary efforts to date have been devoted to preparing all of the artifacts to be exhibited in their new building which opens in August, 1988, with a major exhibition on Montana history. During January, Connie Wanke, Colorado Conservation Center, has spent a week on-site in Boulder at the University of Colorado surveying the fine arts collection. Paul Benson and Ann Cunningham, of the Denver Museum of Natural History, working under the direction and supervision of RMRCC director Carl Patterson, have been conducting surveys on the Museum's bird skin collection.
The New Mexico news has been gathered by David A. Shute. Bettina Raphael will be the Acting Chief Conservator for the Museums of New Mexico while Claire Munzenrider is attending the course at ICCROM. Bettina just returned from Buenos Aires, Argentina, where she participated in a workshop on preventive conservation for conservation and museum personnel for the National Bureau of Museums. She taught this workshop in conjunction with two colleagues from Mexico. She will be returning soon to the Santa Barbara Natural History Museum, where she will continue their ongoing survey of the ethnographic collection. Landis Smith, private conservator on contract to the Museums of New Mexico, will soon be working on a project to conserve Southwest archaeological pottery from the Pecos National Monument. Patty Morris, paper conservator in private practice, will start working shortly for the Wheelwright Museum on a large project to conserve records of sand painting designs. Laura Wait of Prins-Wait Studios has just returned from two months of studying medieval book structures with Anthony Cains at the Humanities Research Center, University of Texas, Austin. Steve Prins has been engaged to conserve ten paintings by Pop Chalee (American Indian School of Paintings) at the Albuquerque Airport. He would be interested in working with others in the region with experience in this type of work to prepare and publish information about them. He will also begin shortly to conserve the murals at the historic KiMo Theater in Albuquerque.
David A. Shute, the new Administrator of the Rocky Mountain Regional Conservation Center (see Regional News for details), is taking over the responsibility of being the Rocky Mountain co- regional reporter from Jeanne Brako, also of the RMRCC. The Newsletter and editorial staff wishes to sincerely thank Jeanne for her years of active participation in the WAAC regional reporter network. She has been reporting on the Rocky Mountain Region for the last four years, beginning with the January 1984 (Vol 6, no 1) issue.
The WAAC Regional Reporters are: (listed West to East)
Leslie Hill Paisley, PRCC, Bishop Museum, P.O. Box 19000-A, Honolulu, HI, 96817, (808) 848-4114.
Oregon & Washington
Jack Thompson, Thompson Conservation Lab, 1417 N.W. Everett, Portland, OR 97209, (503) 248-0046.
San Francisco Bay
Anita Gail Noennig, Daedalus, 6020 Adeline St., Oakland, CA 94608, (415) 658-4566.
Judith Ann Reiniets, 2936-B Lyon St., San Francisco, CA 94123, (415) 931- 5346.
Greater Los Angeles
Catherine McLean, Conservation Center, LACMA, 5905 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036, (213) 857-6169.
Glenn Wharton, Private Conservator, 549 Hot Springs Rd., Santa Barbara, CA 93108, (805) 969-4067 or (213) 451-0442.
Gary Wade Alden, BAAC, P.O. Box 3755, San Diego, CA 92103, (619) 236-9702.
Gloria Fraser Giffords, 2859 N. Soldier Trail, Tucson, AZ 85749, (602) 749-4070.
Connie Mohrman, WCCFA, 1225 Santa Fe Drive, Denver, CO 80204, (303) 573- 1973.
David A. Shute, RMRCC, University of Denver, 2420 South University Blvd., Denver, CO 80208, (303) 733-2712.