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Upcoming Professional Programs

Conserving and Curating Media Art
Wednesday, June 3, 6 p.m.

Objects Conservator L.H. (Hugh) Shockey, Jr., and Curator of Film and Media Arts Michael Mansfield discuss the challenges and triumphs of conserving and exhibiting media arts in the twenty-first century.
McEvoy Auditorium

Framing American Art
Tuesday, June 16, 12 p.m.

Martin Kotler, the museum's conservator of frames, will lead a gallery tour showcasing the variety of frames in our collection. Kotler will discuss the historical background of these works and his expertise in their ongoing care.
Meet at the Information Desk in the G Street Lobby

Conservation of our Collection: Mingering Mike's Supersonic Greatest Hits
Tuesday, July 7, 5:30 PM

Join Catherine Maynor, our art on paper conservator, for a gallery talk that features an inside look into the techniques used to treat and preserve the artist's LP albums, original album art, liner notes, 45 rpm singles, and more pertaining to the artist's youthful fantasy of being a famous soul singer/songwriter.
Meet at the Information Desk in the G Street Lobby

Behind the Scenes
Wednesdays, 3 p.m.
Learn how museum conservators use science, art history, and skilled hands to preserve objects from our collections in the Lunder Conservation Center. Group size is limited. Program repeats weekly.
Meet at the Luce Foundation Center Information Desk, Third-floor Mezzanine

Conservation and Exhibition Planning: Material Testing for Design, Display, and Packing Conference
Smithsonian American Art Museum & National Portrait Gallery
McEvoy Auditorium | 8th and G Streets NW | Washington DC, 20001
November 19 – 20, 2015


This two-day conference is an opportunity for exhibition designers, mount makers, registrars, collection managers, conservators, and scientists to explore the challenges of how materials are selected for use with art objects.

The planning for appropriate collection care before, during, and after display is dependent on accessing reliable information about the materials we use. The production of fabrics, painted surfaces, mounts, foams, and board materials facilitate the creative display of art objects. Understanding how these materials will react with artworks over time is a fundamentally challenging, but necessary, undertaking.

This conference will convey practical considerations that facilitate and benefit collection care in museum exhibition workflows, and how they impact staff across departments. Presentations will focus on designing exhibitions and fabricating display furniture; strategic approaches to collection care during the exhibition implementation process; designing storage environments; conservation work spaces; interpretation and sharing of analytical results from Oddy testing and alternatives to the Oddy test; and monitoring how materials change over time.

To register please visit the education tab of the American Institute for Conservation's website.
Additional information and registration guidelines are listed under the current courses section.





    Past Programs

    Caring for Public Art: A 21st Century Approach
    A Special Lecture with Richard McCoy


    Thursday, September 11, 2014 6:00 PM in the McEvoy Auditorium
    Smithsonian American Art Museum & National Portrait Gallery

    Experiencing and understanding public art in America may be the best way to learn what makes your community different than any other, and helping to document it is one of the best ways you can do to insure that it will be around for future generations. McCoy will talk about his innovative methods for engaging broad publics in documenting and caring for public art using 21st century technologies and methods.

    This program is free and open to the public. No pre-registration or ticketing is required.
    The McEvoy Auditorium is located inside the museum’s entrance at 8th and G Street NW.

    April 7 – 9, 2014
    Aluminum: History, Technology, and Conservation!
    A three day international conference
    Smithsonian American Art Museum, McEvoy Auditorium, 8th and G Streets, NW, Washington, DC


    This three day conference brought together international specialists to facilitate the exchange and dissemination of knowledge, experiences, and expertise in the deterioration and conservation of aluminum alloys. The preservation of objects made from aluminum alloys is an issue of high priority in the materials conservation field. Artifacts as diverse as domestic objects, modern sculpture, scientific and technological objects, outdoor architectural structures, airplanes and spacecraft, constructed in whole or in part from this material, can suffer severe deterioration. Little technical information is readily available to the conservation community about how to effectively conserve these artifacts. The recent invention of many of these alloys and their ever-increasing prevalence in museum collections adds to the severity of the problem.

    Download the program announcement (PDF)

    Monday, March 3, 2014
    Seeing Through Paintings: An Insider's View
    McEvoy Auditorium, Lower Level


    Authors and painting conservators, Andrea Kirsh and Rustin Levenson, presented a lecture on the study of paintings as physical objects. The authors showed how the physical attributes of an artwork can illuminate important critical, historical, and social issues. Our speakers focused on their award-winning book, Seeing Through Paintings: Physical Examinations in Art Historical Studies.

    February 20 and 21, 2014
    The Non-Invasive Analysis of Painted Surfaces: Scientific Impact and Conservation Practice
    A two-day international symposium
    Smithsonian American Art Museum, McEvoy Auditorium, 8th and G Streets, NW, Washington, DC


    Presented in partnership with the Lunder Conservation Center, ICOM-CC Paintings Working Group, ICOM-CC Scientific Research Working Group, and FAIC.

    This two-day event focused on recent advances in technology and instrumentation for the analysis of painted surfaces.

    While non-destructive and micro-destructive analytical methods are often essential for the study and understanding of paintings, recent developments in portable and non-invasive instrumentation have led to growing interest in the applicability of techniques to the study of paintings. Further, as new instrumentation becomes commercially available and more affordable, conservators and scientists are able to use non-invasive techniques for monitoring and analysis in new ways.

    A particular focus of the conference was the interpretation of analytical results from portable instrumentation including colorimetry, imaging and X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy. The format of the conference included papers and panel discussions.

    View the archived presentations on YouTube

    Tuesday, February 18, 2014
    Caring for Your Collection: Contemporary Photography
    McEvoy Auditorium, Lower Level


    Sylvie Penichon, photograph conservator and author, presented a lecture for collectors of contemporary photographs and photographers. Technical information and tips for what to look for when acquiring artworks and preserving your collection were discussed.

    June 26, 2013
    Conserving and Exhibiting the Works of Nam June Paik

    This all-day symposium examined the conservation and restoration of works by Nam June Paik. Talks will focused on the exhibition, "Nam June Paik: Global Visionary." Presenters discussed their experiences with conserving and exhibiting Paik's works in a series of lectures and panel discussions. Specific artworks were addressed in relation to broader issues of time-based media art conservation.

    Download the program announcement (PDF)


    May 1, 2013
    Updates from the Getty Conservation Institute project Cleaning of Acrylic Painted Surfaces

    This evening lecture is open to all museum professionals with an interest in acrylic painted surfaces. Presentations will provide a brief summary of the research and latest developments in the study and treatment of acrylic painted surfaces. Speakers include Tom Learner, Senior Scientist, Getty Conservation Institute; Bronwyn Ormsby, Senior Conservation Scientist, Tate; Richard Wolbers, Professor at the Winterthur/University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation and Chris Stavroudis, Conservator in Private Practice.

    Download the program announcement (PDF)


    March 1, 2013
    Gallery Illumination: LED Lighting in Today's Museums

    The Lunder Conservation Center held a one day symposium on March 1, 2013 on the use of LED lighting in museum collections. The symposium included a series of presentations from museum and lighting specialists.

    Download the program announcement (PDF)

    View the schedule (PDF)

    Download the summary report from the AIC committee (PDF)

    View the archived presentations on YouTube





      Other Conservation Resources

      Want to learn more about art conservation? Visit these links to get information about other conservation departments and training programs, or leisurely explore the many resources this field has to offer.



      Institutions





      Educational Programs



      Additional Resources




      Sardines (detail), 1955, Michael Goldberg, Oil and adhesive tape on canvas, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. David K. Anderson, Martha Jackson Memorial Collection, 1981.109.9

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