2002 Courses

Microscopy of Protective and Decorative Coatings (Mel Wachowiak)
March 11-15, 2002 $500.00
This course will focus on the practical techniques for characterization of paint and varnish systems. While the equipment and techniques will be discussed extensively, a large portion of the course will be spent in practical laboratory exercises. Topics will include:

  1. sample preparation: this is the most critical factor influencing the quality of microscopy, therefore, materials and methods of preparation for reproducible, high-quality, cost- and time-efficient mounts will be covered. Attendees will receive molds, resins and other supplies.
  2. the stereomicroscope: this under-utilized tool will be profiled as a critical part of microanalysis and documentation schemes; common and novel uses of this tool will be covered.
  3. light microscopy techniques: brightfield, darkfield, fluorescence, transmitted light, and combined methods will be discussed and used.
  4. documentation: photographic techniques, including film formats and selection criteria, video, and digital techniques will be covered.
  5. design of studio space for microscopy, ergonomics, specifying and purchasing microscope, and other topics will be addressed as time permits

The course is intended for the conservator, museum scientist, or other professional with some experience in this area. Attendees will be encouraged to participate fully in dialog during lecture, and discuss their experiences in microscopy. Attendees are encouraged to bring samples from their practice, and consider bringing their own microscopes to the course. Advice on maximizing, or modifying, your microscope can be given during the course. There will be ample time for open lab to prepare and examine your samples.

Equipment available: a range of stereomicroscopes and laboratory-grade microscopes will be available, including those equipped for brightfield, darkfield, and fluorescence.

Identification and Care of Film-Based Materials (Dianne van der Reyden
March 20, 2002 
Instructor: Andrew Robb 
This class focuses on the problematic modern medium of film-based materials, including cellulose nitrate and cellulose acetate negatives. Proper identification of film-based materials is critical to the care and protection of collections, since some of these materials can be extremely volatile, leading not only to their self destruction, but to contamination of other collections or worse. This half-day course will offer collection managers, librarians, archivists, conservators, and others charged with the care of these materials, the change to learn and use tools helpful in the identification of these materials, as well as preservation techniques to safeguard them.  This course is sponsored by the Research, Libraries and Archives Collections Conservation Task Force (RELACT).  (Target audience: 20-50 photographers, collections managers, archivists, librarians, anthropologists, historians, artists, general public, etc.)

Practical Wood Anatomy in a Museum Environment (Harry A. Alden)
April 8-12, 2002 $500.00
This course provides an introduction to wood anatomy of temperate and tropical species and to their macroscopic and microscopic identification. Emphasis is placed on real-life applications of analysis of samples from wooden artifacts in museum and archaeological collections in order to identify the materials used and their cultural contexts. Areas covered include sampling, microtechniques, character identification and identification of unknown woods (including charcoal) using reference sets, dichotomous keys and computer applications. Participants are welcome to bring an object for analysis.

Keeping in Step: Prioritizing for Archival Preservation (Dianne van der Reyden and others) 
April 19, 2002 
This panel discussion, organized by the Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference (MARAC) in Towson, Maryland, will address issues of concern to archives large and small that are often compelled to organize preservation of their collections into phases due to the variety of media comprising them, varying conditions of those media, limited funds, etc. Taking into account the vast array of archival media, this panel will explore how an archivist can set a best foot forward on the path to overall preservation of collections. Issues covered include defining what preservation encompasses, prioritization of collections, determining steps to follow, and scheduling preservation for the long-term, among other things. (Target audience: 40-50 archivists, collectors and historians, primarily from the East Coast)

Technology of Furniture Making: Structure (Donald C. Williams)
May 6-10, 2002 (Half-days)
This course provides the attendees with a general knowledge of the materials and processes employed in making furniture in both pre- and mechanized eras. Particularly important is the review of tools and their uses, so that an observer can identify their "fingerprints" on an object, and thus provide clues as to the means by which the object was made. Through demonstration and "hands-on" exercises the attendees will be compiling a reference collection of tool marks and techniques to use for the remainder of their careers.  This course is offered through the George Washington University's Appraisal Studies in Fine and Decorative Arts Program.  For registration information contact GWU Appraisal Studies Program at 202-973-1178 (phone) or 202-973-1165 (fax).  SCMRE will not process registration for this course.

History, Technology, and Preservation of Specialty Papers, Archives Materials, and Ephemera (Dianne van der Reyden) 
May 6-10, 2002 (Half-days) 
Many collections found in libraries, archives, museums and private collections contain unique specialty papers. Specialty papers (such as dyed, coated or tracing papers) are used for many types of objects (including letters, deeds, maps, sketches, illustrations, architectural drawings, posters, and greeting cards). These papers have specific formulations developed to impart unique properties of color, gloss, opacity or translucency that enhance the use and value of the papers. Unfortunately, specialty papers can also be particularly vulnerable to deterioration, making their accurate identification and assessment especially important. This course is designed to familiarize professionals with the nature and diversity of specialty papers, training participants, through lectures and laboratory demonstrations, in techniques use to
identify the composition and condition of these types of collections. The course will cover case studies about traditional and specialty papers researched and analyzed at the Smithsonian. Laboratory experiences will focus on examination and documentation techniques used for identifying and assessing paper-based objects. Information used to appraise collections will also be discussed. The course is intended to inform prospective caretakers and appraisers on the nature of these materials. It is offered through the George Washington University. To register contact: Dianne van der Reyden at 301-238-3700x147 or GWU Appraisal Studies Program at 202-973-1178. SCMRE will not process registration for this course. The course will be held each afternoon at SCMRE. (Target audience: 5-20 appraisers, librarians, archivists, historians, collectors, teachers, graduate students, artists, etc.)

Technology and Preservation of Furniture Coatings (Donald C. Williams)
May 31-June 1, 2002 (tentative)
The Smithsonian Center for Materials Research and Education (SCMRE) and the Wood Finishing Program of the Dakota County Technical College (DCTC) in Rosemount, MN, are co-sponsoring this week-long intensive course that will introduce the history, technology, chemistry, properties, deterioration, and treatment of coating materials and colorants, along with color theory, finishing techniques, and treatment and manipulation of existing coatings.  The course will be organized along three major themes: 1) The History of Coatings - What Was It?; 2) Technology of Materials and Processes - What Is It, and How Do We Know?; and, 3) What Will We Do About It? - Treatment Decisions and Processes.  The course is in suburban Minneapolis, MN, and registration is only through the DCTC, which may be contacted at 615-423-8362 or 1-800-548-4402, or e-mail mitchell.kohanek@dctc.mnscu.edu. SCMRE will not process registration for this course.

Polarized Light Microscopy - Fundamentals and Applications (Jan Hinsch [Leica Microsystems, Inc.], Harry A. Alden, Mel Wachowiak)
July 8-12, 2002 $500.00
This course furnishes an in-depth look at the fundamentals of polarized light microscopy and applications for those in museum and/or archaeological fields. It includes principles (wave nature of light, isotropy, anisotropy and optical activity), mechanics and use of polarizing microscopes, sample preparation, orthoscopy and special methods. This course will provide the practical application of polarized light microscopy towards the identification of natural fibers and artist’s pigments.

Enzymes and their Use in Conservation: A Lecture and Workshop Series for Mid-Career Conservators (Hal Erickson [Scientist, University of Texas at Austin])
July 23-25, 2002
Lecture series only (July 23, 9:45 am - 4:15 pm; July 24 and 25, 9:45 am - 12:30 pm): AIC Members: $150 Non-members: $180, Lecture series registration includes lunch on July 23.
Lecture series and laboratory sessions (9:45 am - 4:15 pm, July 23, 24, 25): AIC Members: $300 Non-members: $360, Lecture/laboratory registration includes lunches on all three days.

This course is sponsored by the American Institute for Conservation in partnership with the Smithsonian Center for Materials Research and Education and the Preservation and Conservation Studies Program, Graduate School of Library and Information Science, The University of Texas at Austin. The course will focus on one of the most intransigent problems in the stabilization and treatment of book and paper collections is the removal of adhesives that have become insoluble because of cross-linking. This three-day course is designed to update mid-career conservators on the nature, properties, and use of enzymes used to breakdown such adhesives. This course consists of an introductory day of lectures on enzymes, including overviews of prerequisite concepts, followed by two days of morning lectures on specific classes of enzymes, capped by afternoon workshops focused on testing enzyme activity on cross-linked adhesives. Participants will gain an understanding of amylase, protease, lipsase, and chitinase enzymes that will aid them in evaluating adhesive residues and matching enzymes to types of adhesives requiring removal, as well as how to select, order, test and use enzymes in treatment. The lectures are open to up to 50 conservators, while the workshops can accommodate 12 conservators.

The program is part of AIC’s new "Current Issues" series of workshops for mid-career conservators. The program is supported by an endowment grant by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and by the Foundation of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic & Artistic Works.

Registration forms are available at http://aic.stanford.edu. For further information, please contact: Eric Pourchot, Program Officer for Professional Development, American Institute for Conservation of Historic & Artistic Works, 1717 K Street, NW Suite 200, Washington, DC 20006, or phone 202-452-9545, ext. 12, or E-mail epourchot@aic-faic.org.

Preservation of Polychrome Furniture: Craft, Cleaning, & Consolidation (Donald C. Williams)
August 5-9, 2002 (tentative)
The Smithsonian Center for Materials Research and Education (SCMRE) and the Wood Finishing Program of the Dakota County Technical College (DCTC) in Rosemount, MN, are co-sponsoring this week-long intensive course that will introduce the history, properties, deterioration, and conservation treatment of polychrome coatings.  The course will emphasize these major themes: 1) The historical craft of polychrome finishes including faux finishing; 2) Deterioration and consolidation of degraded finishes; 3) Selective removal of over-coatings; and, 4) Compensation for missing or damaged coatings.  Participants are encouraged to bring polychrome wood artifacts with them to use during studio and teaching exercises.  The course is in suburban Minneapolis, MN, and registration is only through the DCTC, which may be contacted at 615-423-8362 or 1-800-548-4402, or e-mail mitchell.kohanek@dctc.mnscu.edu. SCMRE will not process registration for this course.

Disaster Mitigation for Document Collections (Dianne van der Reyden, Sarah Stauderman, Susan Frampton)
August 7, 2002
This class is designed to provide a timely overview of issues involved in mitigation of disasters, whether from negligence, natural catastrophes or terrorism.  Exercises will focus on assessing risk and preparing, implementing and evaluating disaster plans for collections.  A workshop, featuring demonstrations and practical sessions, will provide participants with the opportunity to learn ways of handling and salvaging damaged materials.  This course is sponsored by the Research, Libraries and Archives Collections Conservation Task Force (RELACT). (Target audience: 10-20 SI staff members: collection managers, librarians, archivists, conservators, volunteers, etc.)

Preservation Workshop (Dianne van der Reyden, Margaret Hutto, and John Franklin)
August 21, 2002
Held in conjunction with the Association of African American Museums, this workshop will cover the elements inherent in a comprehensive preservation program within museums. (Target audience: directors and staffs of African American Museums)

Technology of Furniture Making: Decoration (Donald C. Williams)
October 21-25, 2002 (Half-days) CANCELLED
This course provides the attendees with a general knowledge of the materials and processes employed in decorating furniture in both pre- and mechanized eras.  Particularly important is the review of tools and materials, so that an observer can identify the process by which an object was decorated.  Primarily through "hands-on" exercises the attendees will be compiling a reference collection of materials and techniques to use for the remainder of their careers.  This course is offered through the George Washington University's Appraisal Studies in Fine and Decorative Arts Program.  For registration information contact GWU Appraisal Studies Program at 202-973-1178 (phone) or 202-973-1165 (fax).  SCMRE will not process registration for this course.

History, Technology, and Preservation of Paper-Based Artifacts (Dianne van der Reyden) 
October 21-25, 2002 (Half-days) CANCELLED
From earliest times to the present day, paper has been used to make objects, ranging from papier-mache artifacts to puppets, folding-screens, globes, lanterns, fans, pop-up counter pieces and chromolithographic cards, and furniture. Paper is manipulated in many ways to make these objects, depending on the properties of strength, weight, flexibility and durability required for these objects to function. But because they are functional objects of composite materials, they are extremely susceptible to damage, making appropriate identification, care and handling especially important if they are to maintain their integrity despite occasional use. This course is designed to familiarize professionals with the nature and diversity of paper objects, training participants, through lectures and laboratory demonstrations, in techniques use to identify the composition and condition of these types of collections. The course will cover case studies researched and analyzed at the Smithsonian. Laboratory experiences will focus on examination and documentation techniques used for identifying and assessing paper-based objects. Information used to appraise collections will also be discussed.  The course is intended to inform prospective caretakers and appraisers on the nature of these materials. It is offered through the George Washington University. To register contact: Dianne van der Reyden at 301-238-3700x147 or GWU Appraisal Studies Program at 202-973-1178. SCMRE will not process registration for this course. The course will be held each afternoon at SCMRE.  (Target audience: 5-20 appraisers, librarians, archivists, historians, collectors, teachers, graduate students, artists, etc.)

Inpainting Workshop (Jim Bernstein and Deborah Evans)
November 5-8, 2002
Course Fee: $550 AIC members; $750 non-members (includes $50 materials fee)
Enrollment Limit: 14

This course, sponsored by the American Institute for Conservation and hosted by SCMRE, will be a four-day hands-on workshop focusing on various techniques and materials used for inpainting a variety of objects, ranging from ethnographic materials to art on paper. The course is designed as mid-career training for conservators in diverse specialties.

The program is part of AIC's new "Current Issues" series of workshops for mid-career conservators. The program is supported by an endowment grant by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and by the Foundation of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic & Artistic Works.

Registration forms are available at http://aic.stanford.edu. For further information, please contact: Eric Pourchot, Program Officer for Professional Development, American Institute for Conservation of Historic & Artistic Works, 1717 K Street, NW Suite 200, Washington, DC 20006, or phone 202-452-9545, ext. 12, or E-mail epourchot@aic-faic.org.

Other topics or courses will be incorporated as the SCMRE Education programming evolves.  All SCMRE programs and facilities are accessible to individuals with disabilities.  Please let us know at least two weeks in advance if a sign language interpreter will be needed.  For further information on these or other SCMRE Education programming, contact:

SCMRE Education Program
Museum Support Center
4210 Silver Hill Road
Suitland, MD 20746

(301) 238-1240 PHONE
(301) 238-3709 FAX