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I work behind glass walls so that the public can learn more about art conservation and see conservators at work. I often give tours to the public, provide lectures, and give presentations on the work and research that conservators do in caring for our national treasures. I LOVE my job, as I am able to work with remarkable professionals who dedicate their careers to the care and preservation of artwork, and I am able to conserve amazing paintings in the collection of the American Art Museum. My professional skills draw upon three fields: Science, Art History, and Studio Art; making me a scientist, art historian, and artist—and employing all the skills and knowledge associated with those fields in the work that I do conserving art.
Part of my responsibilities are to check on the condition of paintings our museum has on loan to various government offices throughout Washington, DC. On one such occasion, I had the honor of examining paintings that were at the White House in the President’s private living areas and in the receiving room to the Oval Office! It was so exciting to be there and such a privilege to learn how important the artwork displayed in the White House is to our President.
My advice to anyone who is interested in becoming an art conservator is be inquisitive about the world around you by learning more about cultural heritage and the significance in preserving it for future generations. Embrace art as well as science with an open mind and you will discover the amazing qualities of the world around you in so many ways. I always considered myself an artist and never imaged that one day I would have a Masters of Science degree, but now I am a science geek as well as an artist, and I am proud of it!
Even if you don’t become an art conservator, understanding the importance of conserving cultural heritage is a responsibility we all have, and it is something we should all be proud of. If you are ever in Washington, DC I hope you can visit us at the Lunder Conservation Center to learn more about this remarkable profession, and who knows…maybe you’d see me working behind the glass on a painting or giving the tour!