Volume 10, Number 2, May 1988, pp.14-19

Regional News

Debra Evans, column editor
Rocky Mountain Region

In order to increase public perception of the conservation profession and to encourage talented individuals to consider a career in conservation, the Rocky Mountain Regional Conservation Center (RMRCC) routinely provides a number of educational opportunities. These include presentations on conservation issues and tours of the Center, a pre-conservation aide program for potential graduate students in conservation, lectures, and workshops. RMRCC is hosting six tours of the Center in April. Approximately 115 individuals will be visiting, representing college classes in related study groups, foreign conservators and cultural officials. Each tour includes an introductory presentation on conservation and an elaboration of services available through the Center.

On April 9th, RMRCC Director Carl Patterson presented a workshop on the care, handling and conservation of baskets to curators and other interested individuals at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. On April 11th, RMRCC Textile Conservator Jeanne Brako lectured on basic conservation principles to the Textile and Apparel Department at Colorado State University at Fort Collins. RMRCC Conservation Administrator David Shute is working with RMRCC conservators on a guide to collections care that should be ready for publication this summer.

All three of RMRCC's pre-conservation aides were interviewed, by American and Foreign programs. Paul Benson, Patricia Griffin and Cynthia Lawrence are awaiting decisions. Elizabeth Red Elk joined the RMRCC staff in February as a hand-sewing assistant in the Textiles Sub-department. Objects technician Nancy Mahaney left RMRCC at the end of March. She will work this summer at the Anasazi Heritage Center before starting her new studies at the Arizona State Museum in the Museum Studies Program.

Conservators at the Western Center for the Conservation of Fine Arts (WCCFA) and RMRCC are participating in a lecture series on "Aspects of Connoisseurship" for collectors. In October and November, WCCFA Director Carl Grimm presented lectures on "How to Spot a Treasure" and on "How To Be Your Own Best Conservator--The Care of Paintings." In January, Carl Patterson spoke on "Metals: Precious and Obscure". In February, RMRCC Paper Conservator Bob McCarroll lectured on "How to Assure Photographs A Long Life" and in March Jeanne Brako presented "Tactics for Textiles." In April WCCFA Associate Paintings Conservator David Bauer spoke on "Fakes and Forgeries" and in May RMRCC Assistant Objects Conservator Gina Laurin will talk about "Southwest Ceramics--Art and Utility."

Jude Southward, Conservation Coordinator at the Colorado Historical Society, and Bob McCarroll have been assisting Denver's Trinity Methodist Church in excavating and opening a time capsule placed in the Church's cornerstone 100 years ago. The capsule was badly rusted, and on opening, revealed great disintegration of the historic documents within and severe mold problems. Some of the material, however, will be displayed at least temporarily.

WCCFA and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art recently shared a conservator exchange. For two weeks in December, Carl Grimm worked as a paintings conservator at the Nelson-Atkins. Scott Hefley, paintings conservator at the Nelson-Atkins, then worked at WCCFA for two weeks during January. Carl Grimm has taken educational leave from WCCFA in Denver to enter the PhD art history program at the University of Delaware. He will be interrupting this program from July 1988 to July 1989 to accept a visiting scholar/conservator invitation from the J. Paul Getty Museum.

Chris Young, paper conservator, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, and Carmen Bria, Chief Paintings Conservator, WCCFA, will be panelists at the joint annual meeting of the Mountain-Plains Museums Association and the Midwest Museums Conference to be held October 4-7, 1988 in Kansas City. Connie Wanke, Colorado Conservation Center, Denver, is coordinating the sessions, which will address the topic "How to Choose a Conservator."

The Jefferson County Library Foundation, Lakewood, Colorado, hosted an "Exhibit to Celebrate the Book Arts" between April 4th and 30th. In conjunction with this, Silvia Rennie presented a hands-on workshop on design and production of fine binding at the Lakewood Library between April 22nd and 24th.

New Mexico

Bettina Raphael continues to serve as Acting Head of the Conservation Section of the Museum of New Mexico in Claire Munzenrider's absence. Besides these added administrative duties, Bettina is carrying out an NEA-funded survey of the Hispanic polychrome collections at the Museum of International Folk Art in preparation for the opening of the Hispanic Heritage Wing next Spring.

Landis Smith spoke about her role as conservator for the NEH-funded exhibit, "Behind the Mask in Mexico," to open at the Museum of International Folk Art in June, as part of a panel at the New Mexico Museum Association meetings between April 27th and 29th. Landis' other projects include the conservation of archaeological materials from a Museum of New Mexico Civil War site, treatment of the Kidder collection of archaeological pottery from Pecos National Monument for the National Park Service, and the conservation of ethnographic objects from the Laboratory of Anthropology under an NEH grant.

Bettina Raphael and Landis Smith will be on-site conservators/consultants for a Museum of New Mexico Anasazi site at La Plata, New Mexico, this spring. This will be the first planned collaborative effort between the Archaeology and Conservation Sections.

Patricia Morris is working on an NEA grant to conserve selected high priority watercolors from the Museum of Fine Arts, Santa Fe. Molly Mehaffey, Conservation technician at the Museums of New Mexico, is currently working with staff at the Museum of International Folk Art in efforts to eradicate a moth infestation in textile storage, including a freezing program for infested textiles.


In February, a brainstorming session was put together by Nancy Odegaard, Arizona State Museum, concerning archaeological conservation. The featured speaker was Claire Dean of the Getty; other participants were Jeff Maisch, Bettina Raphael, Landis Smith, Jim Roberts, Vicky Cassman, and Laurie Webster. As a result, a small group (Odegaard, Roberts, and Cassman) will be present in Phoenix for the annual meeting of the Society of American Archaeologists with a questionnaire that was developed at this conservation study group to try to determine what the needs for conservation are for the archaeologist.

Nancy Odegaard participated in a panel April 21st and 22nd for the Museum Association of Arizona with the topic "Discovery or Destroy." The issue discussed was using museum objects in educational programs - possible problems of adverse effects to the objects as well as to students from pesticides or preservatives in the objects. On May 11th, Odegaard and Lorraine Daley- Jones, Arizona Historical Society, will participate in an IMS panel in Phoenix. The panel meetings are to help Arizona museums in their funding requests. In June Odegaard will be on a pest control panel at the AAM's annual meeting in Pittsburgh. She will speak on the use of freezing as a method of pest control for ethnographic collections.

On March 24th and 25th, Gloria Fraser-Giffords participated as a conservator and Spanish colonial art expert in a panel of consultants to help determine collection goals and policies at the Tucson Museum of Art. Giffords will assist in surveying pieces for an upcoming installation and preparing condition and proposed treatment reports on Hispanic religious art at the Museum of International Folk Art, Santa Fe, from April 24th through June 7th. She has finished the replicated lions for the Mission San Xavier del Bac. They will be installed in early June and then publicly blessed.

Southern California

Betsy Court, Chief Conservator of Paintings at the Balboa Art Conservation Center (BACC) in San Diego, announced the birth of her second child, Elizabeth Glenn Court on January 22, 1988. Betsy will return to BACC from maternity leave following the AIC Convention in New Orleans in June, at which she is responsible, as Chair of the AIC Paintings Specialty Group, for organizing the program of the Thursday morning (June 2nd) "Update" portion of the General Session, as well as the Paintings Specialty Group meeting all day Saturday (June 4th).

Annette C. Rupprecht, third year intern in the BACC paintings conservation laboratory from the State University College at Buffalo, will spend her extramural study period working in May under Dr. Thomas Brachert at the Germanisches Nationalmuseum Restaurierungsabteilung in Nurnberg, F.R.G.

Two new institutions have joined the Balboa Art Conservation Center: The Gene Autry Western Heritage Museum, 5858 Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, and the California Capitol Historic Preservation Society, 1100 J Street, Sacramento. This brings BACC institutional membership to thirteen.

Louis M. Goldrich, Registrar of the San Diego Museum of Art, will share a panel session with Bruce Metro, Head of the Preparations Department at the J. Paul Getty Museum, at the Western Museums Conference in San Diego, November 2-5, 1988. The session, sponsored by the Registrars Committee - Western Region of the AAM, will stress the ethical and legal obligations which museum staff have to maintain and manage the collections entrusted to them. With slide illustrations of both simple and sophisticated methods, the panelists will show how collections in storage and on display can be protected from the daily hazards to which they are exposed.

Betty Engel and Gary Hulbert have left the BACC and set up a private practice for the conservation of paintings. Their new address is: Engel & Hulbert, Inc., 2120 Jimmy Durante Blvd., Suite L, Del Mar, CA 92014, (619)481-1098.

Greater Los Angeles/Santa Barbara

Caroline Black and her husband Jeffrey Blydenburgh are relocating to St. Louis. Jeffrey has taken the position of Project Architect with Hellmuth, Obata and Kassabaum (KOH). Caroline will be pursuing an MBA at Washington University. After June 30 their new address will be: 38 Broadview, St. Louis, MO 63105. Sharon Shore directed a one day workshop on the basic maintenance of costumes and textiles at the Phoenix Art Museum on March 22nd. The workshop was sponsored by the Arizona Costume Institute in cooperation with Jean Hildreth, Curator of Costumes and Textiles, at the Phoenix Art Museum. It was followed by a public lecture at the Museum on "Caring for Family Heirloom Textiles."

Chris Stavroudis presented a lecture at the Carnegie Art Museum in Oxnard, CA, on April 30th entitled "Painting Conservation for Collectors and Artists." The lecture was supported in part by the Ventura County Regrant Program in cooperation with the California Arts Council.

Aitchison and Watters, Inc., announces the hiring of Doug Orloff as Administrative Manager. This summer, the business will move to a new studio; the new address will be announced in the next WAAC Newsletter.

The Conservation Center at LACMA heartily congratulates David Rasch for being accepted into the Winterthur/University of Delaware Art Conservation Program.

On May 11th Pieter Meyers was the main speaker at the University of Delft, Holland, during the celebration of the 25th anniversary of their nuclear reactor. His lecture was entitled "Reactor and Art Museum: Nuclear Applications in the Study of Works of Art and Archaeological Materials."

Suzanne Petersen has just begun a four month internship in Textile Conservation at LACMA. The internship is part of her course work at the University of Alberta at Edmonton where she will receive a B.Sc. degree in Textile Conservation in conjunction with the Textile Science Department. Previously, she studied with conservator Tom Strang who is currently working at CCI.

For the past year James L. Greaves of Conservation Services has been conserving the collection of paintings at the Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel. In addition, Jim is performing a survey of the paintings in Palm Springs Desert Museum as part of their IMS Grant.

Ann Discenza has recently taken a position as Research Assistant within the Department of Conservation Processes at The Getty Conservation Institute. Ann received her masters degree from the Winterthur Program, and subsequently worked at the Balboa Art Conservation Center for two years. She will be performing research in microclimates and humidity buffering systems. The Getty Conservation Institute, in collaboration with the Egyptian Antiquities Organization, is developing hermetically sealed, oxygen free storage and display modules for the Royal Mummies in Egyptian Museums in Cairo. The first phase of the project will be the development of a prototype module, along with additional biological research. The biological studies are carried out by Nieves Valentin, Research Fellow at the GCI and staff member of the National Institute of Conservation in Madrid. Dr. Herman Born was a Visiting Conservator in the Antiquities Lab at the Getty from March 21 - 25. During this period he looked at the ancient bronzes with the staff conservators, and gave a seminar on Ancient Technology and Bronze Production.

Elizabeth Miller, Conservation Assistant in the Antiquities Lab at the Getty, is engaged to be married to Joe Lawlor on May 7, 1988.

Robert Keff, frame specialist in the Paintings Lab at The Getty, attended a seminar at Oberlin College, April 11-12 on "Frames in Museum Collections". The seminar covered both the connoisseurship and conservation of frames.

Funded by grants from the IMS and the Getty Conservation Trust, Fine Art Conservation Laboratories, directed by Scott M. Haskins recently completed a general survey of the collection of the Art Museum at the University of California at Santa Barbara. The survey utilized the energies of twenty-three students from the Art History and Studio Art programs who received class credit and valuable experience. Robert Schroeder, the Museum's Registrar, supervised photographic responsibilities and Scott directed the examination of objects, recording of information, and emergency treatments on works of art in danger of losing pieces, being damaged, etc. The information from the survey was organized on an IBM computer using dBaseIII+. Now that the general survey has been completed, future efforts will include more specific surveys which will focus on more detailed condition reports and conservation estimates for establishing future budgets.

Margaret Lecky 1907-1988

Margaret Lecky, the respected and beloved doyenne of Southern California bookbinders, died on April 21, 1988.

Margaret began bookbinding as a 15 year old high school student in Pittsburgh, PA. She continued her studies in New York at the Craft Students' League, and with Kathryn and Gerhard Gerlach, eventually becoming their assistant.

In 1938 she came to Los Angeles with her husband, Eleazer Lecky, an English professor at USC. In the ensuing years she designed many beautiful bindings for private collections; she restored rare works, such as the Hortus Siccus, a 17th century three volume set which belongs to the Botanical Garden of the University of Leiden; and she taught hundreds of bookbinding students in her classes at UCLA. She was a founding member of WAAC, the Southern California Designer Craftsmen, and Hand Bookbinders of California.

She leaves her family, and many friends and students, all of whom will miss her dearly.

Joanne Page

San Francisco Bay Area

Ann Marks-Korematsu, mounter of screens and scrolls, Berkeley, completed a one month internship at the British Museum in the Eastern Pictorial Art Conservation Section in July 1987. Following that she participated in a month long course at Camberwell College in England, An Intensive Introduction to Archival Conservation, that included a week at a national conference and three weeks at the Public Records Office. Her studies were funded in part by a 1987- 1988 Fellowship from the Kress Foundation. This spring Ann traveled to Amsterdam to complete a three week program in advanced conservation training for mid-career conservators. The program is offered every other year at the Amsterdam Academy for Restoration (SAAR) and is similar to the refresher courses offered through FAIC. SAAR is affiliated with the State Training School of Holland and is the only part of the school that accepts foreign students. Ann is enthusiastic about the SAAR program and reports the staff's willingness to offer the course in other locales.

The Asian Art Museum (AAM) is currently exhibiting most of its textile collection in the show "Asian Embroideries." This exhibit consists of textiles from the 14th to the 19th century, from China, Japan and Bhutan. Meg Geiss- Mooney, a textile conservator in private practice, and Laura Mau, a conservation apprentice, provided invaluable expertise and assistance to the staff conservators in preparing these objects for display. The treatments varied from cleaning, through attaching velcro for display, to couching the embroidered designs back in place. One of the more difficult treatments involved a "Square from a Taoist Robe," which was conserved by Richard Barden. An area of the border had frayed and separated from the ground, with a section of the gold wrapped thread, a "Greek Key" embroidered design, losing its gold wrapping as well as all form, shape, and stability. The treatment consisted of laying and couching the "Greek Key" design thread in place on the border, sewing a new silk support for the separated border area to the ground, and attaching the border section to the new support. Besides this in-house exhibition, the AAM has been involved in a number of traveling loans from the permanent collections; conservators have been using a computer to streamline and assist the condition reporting process required for these loans. Richard Barden and Laura Mau will enter conservation graduate training programs on the East Coast this summer.

AAM conservators Linda Scheifler and Robin Tichane participated in career information days for students at the University of California, Berkeley, and Mills College, addressing potential opportunities in art conservation. They have also given several public lectures recently. Linda and Debra Lehane, Registrar for the San Francisco Arts Commission, spoke with a local chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution on the preservation of outdoor public monuments. Their enthusiasm for the problems will probably lead to the inclusion of the subject in an upcoming national convention which is usually attended by thousands of members. In February, Robin spoke at the annual meeting of the College Art Association in Houston on a panel looking at how past restorations of artworks affects our present interpretations of those artworks. The specific subject, "Early 20th Century Restorations on a Damaged Liang Winged Unicorn," was a presentation on reconstructions of a 5th century Chinese stone lion sculpture. Doreen Stoneham, Oxford University thermoluminescence specialist, was a guest at the AAM's conservation lab for three days in January. In addition to reviewing principles for curatorial staff and sampling procedures for conservation staff, a public lecture was given for Bay Area conservators and collectors. The highlight of the visit for curators and conservators was the examination of problem pieces from a variety of cultures and periods and identification of peculiar anomalies in dating Asian ceramics. Linda Scheifler is continuing planning of a refresher course on "X-ray of Three Dimensional Objects." Funding is being sought; please keep your eye on this newsletter for updates.

John Burke reports that the Oakland Museum Conservation Center is now in operation. Moving of old conservation facilities at the Oakland Museum History Department and the Grove Street building to the new center began in January. The new center occupies 18,000 square feet and is primarily an objects conservation lab outfitted to continue the restoration and conservation efforts that the Oakland Museum History Department has become known for. The building is equipped with metalworking, woodworking, and spray painting equipment. One of their current projects is the conservation of a Myers Manufacturing Co. Pioneer automobile, which will be returned to operating condition. The Pioneer was built in 1893 and is the first automobile made in California. The Center employs about a dozen volunteers and pre-program interns and continues to rely on a pool of retired expert craftsmen such as the steam mechanics who enabled the restoration of the Best Manufacturing Co. steam traction engine. Therese O'Gorman, conservation technician, is concluding microclimate research with Steve Weintraub of the Getty Conservation Institute.

John also reports his involvement on a collections survey currently in progress at the National Maritime Museum and IMS funded surveys at the Chew Kee Historic Site in Fiddletown, CA, and the Clark Museum in Eureka In addition, he, Jim Bernstein and Chris Tahk (of the State University at Buffalo training program) are compiling information as the Education and Training Subcommittee of AIC.

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMMA) Conservation Lab will be hosting two summer interns: Debra Dyer, from the Queens University program, and Michele Muller from Switzerland. Inge- Lise Eckmann, director of the lab, spent several weeks in February at the Tate Gallery paintings conservation laboratory. Neil Cockerline will be spending a week in June at the Indianapolis Museum of Art consulting on treatment of contemporary paintings. Julie Goldman and Bob Rosner were married March 26th. Carl Grimm will be working at SFMMA for two weeks in June. Contemporary painter Ross Bleckner collaborated with staff on treatment of one of his paintings in a current exhibit at the museum.

From October through March, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco (FAMSF) conservators Lesley Bone, Elisabeth Cornu, Debra Evans and Lesley Smith led workshops organized by the Museums' education department entitled "Taking Care of the Family Treasures: The Conservation of Personal Collections."

Objects conservators at the FAMSF continue modifications on their new lab space. FAMSF conservators are outfitting an analytical lab with the aid of an NEA equipment grant. Elayne Grossbard is completing an IMS funded survey of the FAMSF's sculpture and decorative arts collection. Mark Fenn, volunteer in the objects lab, is leaving to attend the conservation training program at Winterthur/University of Delaware this summer. Madeline Hexter, from the Winterthur program, will be a summer intern under the supervision of Elisabeth Cornu. Caroline Jourdanne, a porcelain restorer from Paris, will be completing a ten month internship at the objects lab in July and will return to Paris for further museum conservation training.

Debra Evans is coordinator of a course entitled "Preventive Conservation" for the JFK University museum studies graduate program. Other instructors in the team taught course, which meets at various Bay Area labs, are Genevieve Baird, Lesley Bone, John Burke, Mark Harpainter, and Will Shank. Joan Wright, after completion of an IMS funded survey of the drawings collection at the FAMSF, has opened a private practice specializing in the conservation of paper and textiles. Peter Bornstein, volunteer in the paper lab, will begin the NYU conservation training program this fall.

For several years conservators in the paper conservation lab at the FAMSF have operated a data base program using Filemaker Plus and Microsoft Word 3.01 concurrently. This system controls client receipting, condition and treatment reporting (using stored standard phrases), and invoicing and provides convenient lists for inventory and registration purposes. Bob Futernick reports the development of a product he calls "Push Button Reporting" that works in the Apple Hypercard environment. With this, condition reporting is done by examining the artwork near the computer and checking appropriate boxes on the computer screen corresponding to the object's condition. The resulting product is a completed accurate individualized report. Conservation work on the WPA murals, woodwork and mosaics has been completed at the Beach Chalet, a San Francisco landmark located on Highway 1 across from Ocean Beach. The Beach Chalet is under San Francisco Parks and Recreation Department jurisdiction. Conservation, carried out under contract with the San Francisco Arts Commission, was supervised by Anne Rosenthal (murals) and Genevieve Baird (woodwork and mosaics).


As part of an ongoing project to better assess the needs of member institutions, conservators from all three labs at the Pacific Regional Conservation Center (PRCC) are in the process of carrying out conservation surveys on outer Hawaiian islands. These surveys have been funded by the State Foundation on Culture and the Arts and the IMS. In April conservators traveled to Maui Historical Society (a house museum in Wailuku, Maui) and the Kona Historical Society on the Island of Hawaii.

Objects conservators at PRCC are involved in designing permanent storage boxes for several large wooden objects. One is a 15-1/2 foot canoe from the Solomon Islands dating to the turn of the century. Others include a 17 foot surf board and a Hawaiian canoe. The boxes will serve the dual purpose of stabilizing the objects during their move to a new storage area and providing permanent storage containers for these fragile objects. The paper lab is developing a proposal for mounting a complete 20 panel set of Dufour scenic wallpaper titled "Sauvages de la Mer du Pacific" for installation at the Honolulu Academy of Art. The mounting materials must be stable in a gallery currently without climate control and must be resistant to biological activity. The paintings lab at PRCC has also been humming with activity. PRCC contracted with Roz Westmoreland in February and Denise Domergue in April, and reports that all have benefited from their expertise.

WAAC Regional Reporters

Regional News is gathered by the WAAC Regional Reporters listed below. Individual WAAC members are encouraged to contribute regional news items. Please contact a regional reporter or the Column Editor / WAAC vice-president, who coordinates this section of the newsletter.

Column Editor / WAAC V.P.
Debra Evans, Paper Conservator, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Legion of Honor, Lincoln Park, San Francisco, CA 94121, (415) 750-3680.

The WAAC Regional Reporters are: (listed East to West )

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