By Kasey Hamilton and Austin Anderson
In April of this year, over 160 people travelled to Los Angeles to attend the 45th annual meeting of the Association of North American Graduate Programs in Conservation of Cultural Property (ANAGPIC). Students, faculty, and staff of the UCLA/Getty Interdepartmental Program in the Conservation of Archaeological and Ethnographic Materials had the pleasure of not only attending the three-day conference, but hosting it as well.
Students, faculty, and staff from North American conservation training programs gather annually for the ANAGPIC student conference, which provides a venue for graduate students in conservation and historic preservation to present on current work and research. ANAGPIC, originally founded in 1984 by six member institutions, has evolved alongside the field of conservation training to reflect its changing programs. At present, ANAGPIC is comprised of the following eight institutions:
· Patricia H. and Richard E. Garman Art Conservation Department, Buffalo State College
· Historic Preservation Program, GSAPP, Columbia University
· Straus Center for Conservation and Technical Studies, Harvard Art Museums
· The Conservation Center, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University
· Queen's University Art Conservation Program
· UCLA/Getty Interdepartmental Program in the Conservation of Archaeological and
· Winterthur / University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation
· University of Pennsylvania Graduate Program in Historic Preservation/School of Design
The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), campus and the J. Paul Getty Villa Museum, home to the training labs of the host program, acted as the venues for the first day of the conference. After tours on the UCLA campus, the conference began with the Angelica Zander Rudenstine keynote lecture, an honorary lecture traditionally given at each ANAGPIC conference. Sanchita Balachandran, associate director of the Johns Hopkins Archaeological Museum, was invited to present and gave a moving talk titled “Reconsidering Collections Care: Reflections on Conserving People’s Things.” The focus of her talk centered on reconnecting objects to the people who have been associated with them throughout the entire life of the object. In a poignant thought, she speculated on whether or not these connections might help to better understand what objects ask of us as conservators.
The following two days consisted of a total of 15 student talks, 14 three-minute “lightning round” presentations, and two special guest lectures. Talks were given at the Harold Williams Auditorium within the J. Paul Getty Museum with topics ranging from scientific analysis of textile dyes, archaeological mortars, lacquer and polychromy remains, to innovative treatments of works on paper, historic dioramas, and books with movable parts. Other student talks focused on evaluation of new materials for ceramic reconstruction, utilization of 3-dimensional imaging and printing techniques for documentation of architectural surfaces as well as production of custom housing for objects, and research in preventive conservation strategies. The broad range of student topics resulted in a fulfilling experience which instilled a sense of pride in colleagues and inspired future study.
Throughout the conference, attendees also had the opportunity to participate in a variety of lab and gallery tours including conservation and research facilities at the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Getty Villa, the UCLA/Getty training labs, the Fowler Museum at UCLA, and the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology at UCLA.
Attendance at ANAGPIC conferences is typically limited to those currently affiliated with the eight member institutions. The 2019 conference aimed to promote inclusion by extending invitations to regional conservators and interested parties (including emerging and pre-program conservation students) to attend student talks. Conference organizers also sought to address the lack of representation of Mexican conservation colleagues in this North American conference by inviting and securing travel funding for faculty from the National School of Conservation, Restoration and Museography (ENCRyM) in Mexico City to not only attend, but present as well. The ENCRyM faculty gave a thorough overview of their program and helped to bridge the gap of understanding between US and Canadian conservation programs and the practices of those of Mexico. In the coming years, the inclusion of Mexican conservation programs in ANAGPIC will hopefully continue to grow, allowing this conference to be truly North American.
In addition to ENCRyM, Chinese Paintings Scholars, who have attended ANAGPIC for the past three years through a grant funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, were offered their first opportunity to present this year. Their talk, which concerned the treatment and remounting of a 16th-century oversize silk painting, Marshal Xin, allowed for a detailed view into the special skill set of these colleagues. They discussed triumphs and challenges related to the painting’s large size, ultimately leading them to treating it in a public gallery at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. This allowed for the public to observe this impressive treatment and opened up the opportunity for conversation between conservators and museum visitors.
Between the brilliant talks, tours of the various Los Angeles-based labs, receptions at both the Getty Villa and Getty Center, stimulating discussion with colleagues, and the LA sunshine, the 2019 ANAGPIC annual meeting will be one to remember. The UCLA/Getty Program is extremely grateful to all of those who contributed to the success of this conference, including the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, Tru Vue, the Getty Conservation Institute, the Getty Villa Antiquities Conservation Department, and the UCLA Cotsen Institute of Archaeology. We look forward to the ANAGPIC 2020 meeting, which will be hosted by the Patricia H. and Richard E. Garman Art Conservation Department at Buffalo State College.
More information regarding the ANAGPIC conference can be found at the following address: http://resources.conservation-us.org/anagpic-student-papers/. The site will soon be updated to include presentations and speaker notes from the 2019 conference.
Kasey Hamilton is an objects conservation student at the UCLA/Getty Conservation Program (class of 2020). She has held conservation internships at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Brooklyn Museum, and the National Museum of Cambodia in Phnom Penh.
Austin Anderson is a graduate student in the class of 2020 at the UCLA/Getty Conservation Program. He has interned at Texas A&M’s Conservation Research Lab, The Africa Museum in Tervuren, Belgium, and looks forward to a third-year internship at the Walters Art Museum.