UCLA/Getty Conservation Program

A graduate conservation training program focusing on the conservation of archaeological and ethnographic materials

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Class of 2018 Summer Internships

The quarter is coming to an end and as our students are working to finish up object treatments and projects, they’re also getting ready to head out on their summer internships.  Here’s a list of the great places our students will be going to this summer:

We hope they enjoy their time at their internship sites and we look forward to hearing about the work they did when they come back this fall!

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Beantown or Bust – the 2016 ANAGPIC Conference

It’s that time of the year again….No, not when we sit back in LA enjoying the 85° weather and work on our tans, while the Midwest and Northeast deals with freezing temperatures and 1-3 inches of snow in April (too soon?)….But that time when students from North American conservation graduate programs gather for the annual ANAGPIC conference.

This year the conference is being hosted by the Straus Center for Conservation and Technical Studies, Harvard Art Museums and will take place April 14th-16th.  In addition to the great papers that will be presented highlighting student work from many conservation specialties, this year includes a poster lightning round.  The conference also coincides with the Joint Interim Meeting of ICOM-CC’s Scientific Research and Education and Training in Conservation Working Groups.  That meeting will be held at the same location, on April 13-14th, prior to the start of ANAGPIC .

This year we have a few presentations from UCLA/Getty students.  3rd year student Colette Badmagharian will present the results of her research on an Armenian prayer scroll that she conducted as part of their MA thesis project.  We also have two 1st year students, Marci Burton and Lindsay Ocal, who will be presenting in the lightning round session.  You can find presentation titles and abstracts below.

For more information on the ANAGPIC 2016 conference, to access the conference schedule or read the abstracts of the papers that will be presented, please visit site: http://harvardanagpic16.com/  Information about the ICOM-CC Joint Interim Meeting can be found here: http://icom-ccharvard.com/

Good luck to all those presenting and we hope all the students have a great time at this year’s ANAGPIC Conference!

18th-century Armenian Prayer Scroll: The Study of Cultural Context and the Characterization of Manufacturing Techniques 
Colette Badmagharian
For centuries, prayer scrolls and illuminated Gospels have played a crucial role in Armenian history and culture. Relatively little is known about the materials and techniques used to construct such Armenian texts and potential risks for their survival. To bridge this gap in our knowledge, a severely damaged 18th-century Armenian prayer scroll was investigated, using a holistic and integrated approach that combined both cultural and historical context with scientific research. Selected texts and illustrations were translated and thoroughly examined with members of the Armenian community and further investigated with comparative examples from various institutions. This examination led to an appropriate preventive conservation measure that was taken to ensure the preservation of the fragile prayer scrolls.  Pigments, colorants, and ink, were characterized with the use of non-invasive and non-destructive techniques including analytical photography, ultraviolet, visible and near infrared (UV-Vis-NIR) fiber optic reflectance spectroscopy (FORS), X-ray fluorescence (XRF) and Raman spectromicroscopy (mRS). This study provided an overall understanding of the constituent materials, printing techniques, religious significance, use and function, as well as traditional practices of the Armenian culture in the 18th-century.

Poster Lightning Round
3D Computed Tomographic Analysis of a Pre-Columbian Chilean Child Mummy Bundle
Marci Burton

Analysis and Retreatment of an Archaeological Polychrome Ceramic Bowl from Amapa, Mexico
 Lindsay Ocal

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UCLA/Getty Program Welcomes Mellon Fellow in Conservation Education Laleña Vellanoweth

The UCLA/Getty Program is pleased to welcome Laleña Vellanoweth as the Andrew W. Mellon Fellow in Conservation Education for the 2015-16 academic year.

Laleña is a Costume and Textile Conservator. She received her B.S. in Biochemistry and B.A. in Art from California State University, Los Angeles and her M.A. in Art History and Certificate in Conservation from the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University. She has worked at the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Autry National Center, and Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

As part of her Mellon Fellowship, she will be researching diversity in art conservation and surveying parallel diversity programs for other museum fields. She will also be working on a research project on Californio costume, focusing on a technical study of three charro suits from the early nineteenth century, one of which was worn by Don Vincente Lugo, a member of one of the founding families of Los Angeles. Laleña will also give lectures on textiles and costume, including fiber identification and costume mounting.


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Welcome Class of 2018!

Today we welcomed the start of fall (despite the warm LA weather), and the new incoming class of the UCLA/Getty Program!

The class of 2018 will begin their first day of instruction tomorrow with a course focusing on documentation and imaging techniques.  They’ll also have the opportunity to take classes this quarter that cover the technology and deterioration of ceramics and glass, principles and ethics in conservation, and science fundamentals in conservation. Two of their courses include object-based projects where they will examine, document and assess the condition of a group of pre-Columbian ceramics from the collection of the Fowler Museum at UCLA.  Between their course and lab work, it looks like we will be keeping them pretty busy this quarter!

We wish the class of 2018 good luck with their coursework and lots of success in the conservation program!

From L to R: Marci Burton, Lindsay Ocal, Hayley Monroe, Michaela Paulson, Morgan Burgess, Mari Hagemeyer

The class of 2018! From L to R: Marci Burton, Lindsay Ocal, Hayley Monroe, Michaela Paulson, Morgan Burgess, Mari Hagemeyer


And so they begin…Welcome to the class of 2016!

It’s Week 2 of the fall quarter and members of this year’s incoming class are excited to begin their work in the UCLA/Getty Conservation Program. They’ve dived right into this quarter’s classes which cover the technology and deterioration of ceramics and glass, principles and ethics in conservation, documentation and imaging techniques and science fundamentals in conservation. They will also have the opportunity to undertake two object based projects as part of their coursework: the examination and documentation of painted plaster and ceramic Oaxacan figurines from the Fowler Museum at UCLA and the documentation and condition assessment of ceramic vessels and figurines from the Southwest Museum-Autry National Center.  They certainly have a busy quarter ahead (and a busy next 2 years). We wish them luck with their coursework and lots of success in the conservation program!

The class of 2016. From L to R: Colette Khanaferov, William Shelley, Tom McClintock, Heather White, Betsy Burr, Lesley Day

The class of 2016. From L to R: Colette Khanaferov, William Shelley, Tom McClintock, Heather White, Betsy Burr, and Lesley Day

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UNESCO mission to assess the condition of wall paintings at Sigiriya (Sri Lanka)

Drs. Ioanna Kakoulli and Christian Fischer were invited as foreign experts on a UNESCO mission to assess the state of preservation of wall paintings at Sigiriya (the Lion Rock), Sri Lanka, a world heritage site. The goal of the mission was to inspect and assess the condition of the 5th century rock paintings and to make recommendations for the appropriate conservation methods and environmental monitoring. Worked focused on examination of the paintings as well as trying to identify the current causes of deterioration. Additionally the history of past treatments and scientific investigations were researched to help assess how effective the treatments were and how they could inform on the present condition and future conservation treatments.

The site of Sigiriya

Area of wall paintings on the site

During this mission, Drs. Kakoulli and Fischer met with experts from the National Fund, the Ministry of National Heritage, the Department of Archaeology and the University of Kelaniya. They visited many important sites that were part of the Cultural Triangle initiative and collaborated closely with local experts, Prof. Jagath Weerasinghe and Dr. Arjuna Thanthilage from the Postgraduate Institute of Archaeology (PGIAR) University of Kelaniya, Colombo. They also worked with other conservators from the Department of Archaeology Sri Lanka on issues pertaining to the preservation of the wall paintings at Sigiriya. The trip ended with foreign and local experts presenting their findings to the Minister of National Heritage in the presence of the local press and conservation professionals from Sri Lanka.

Future initiatives have already been planned for a long-term collaboration between UCLA (Material Science and Engineering (MS&E) department and the UCLA/Getty Conservation Program) and the PGIAR on a multidisciplinary platform that will include scientific research and sustainable conservation, archaeology, conservation education, and training. During the mission a pilot project was proposed that would include the following:

  • Non-invasive diagnostic investigations and documentation of the paintings (better understanding of the original technique, physical and conservation history of the paintings)
  • Environmental monitoring and visitors management (RH, temp. and surface temp., continuously for at least a calendar year/monitor flow of visitors)
  • Microanalysis in the Laboratory: Minimally invasive study of the paintings and their condition (analysis of selected microsamples in the laboratory to (1) address questions related to the original constituent materials; (2) environmental causes of deterioration, e.g. salts; (3) effects of previous conservation treatments)
  • Conservation education and management (protocol development for assessment, testing, conservation decisions, preventive, passive and remedial treatments)

This proposed pilot project at Sigiriya will be used as a model for an iterative approach to conservation and can be applied to address conservation challenges in other archaeological and historic places in Sri Lanka for long-term sustainable preservation.