Summer Conservation @ the UMFA

Guest blogger: Stephanie Hufford

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Hi there! My name is Stephanie, and I’m an NEA pre-program conservation intern at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts this summer. I’m from New Jersey, and I just graduated with an A.S. in chemistry last month. I also have a B.A. in studio art with a minor in art history from Rowan University. I’ve been interning and volunteering at conservation labs in museums and private practices for the last two years in preparation for entering a graduate-level conservation program. I heard about this opportunity through the Emerging Conservation Professionals Network group on Facebook, and I’m very excited to be part of the team at the UMFA!

For my internship this summer, I’ll be helping to conduct a survey of the museum’s collection of European paintings. I will be working with the UMFA’s conservator, Robyn Haynie, along with a painting conservator from the Western Center for the Conservation of Fine Art, Carmen Bria, to assess the collection and determine what action needs to be taken for each individual painting. This survey will help plan future conservation treatments for the collection, and may also help us plan similar surveys for other collections as well.

Before the survey begins, we’ll have to prepare for it; this includes making sure we know where every painting in the collection is, setting up an examination area to work in, and making sure everything is documented. When the survey begins in a few weeks, the three of us will be inspecting every single painting for damage, aging, and any changes in its condition since the last time it was examined. Afterwards, we’ll collect all our findings and determine what actions need to be taken and which works should be prioritized–which we’ll discuss with Leslie Anderson-Perkins, UMFA’s new curator of European, American, and regional art.

For now, I’m hard at work down in the basement getting ready for the survey. I’ll be checking back in a few weeks to let you know what interesting things we’ve found… Stay tuned!

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