UCLA/Getty Conservation Program

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


Video features UCLA/Getty Program exhibition

Check out this video made during the opening of the UCLA/Getty Conservation Program’s exhibition this spring. The exhibit, which was held at UCLA’s Young Research Library, featured Native American objects from the collection of the Agua Caliente Cultural Museum. Students from the class of 2010 worked on the objects as part of the course entitled “Ethnography and Conservation” taught by Prof. Ellen Pearlstein. In the video, Prof. Pearlstein and several of the students discuss the exhibit and the work undertaken researching and treating the objects, as well as preparing the exhibit itself.

UCLA/Getty Program Exhibit
Objects courtesy of the Agua Caliente Cultural Museum

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Conservation Program news in the latest issue of Backdirt

The latest issue of Backdirt, the annual magazine of the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology, highlights some of the projects undertaken in 2009 by students and faculty of the UCLA/Getty Conservation Program.


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Project News: The application of cyclododecane (CDD) for lifting fragile lacquer fragments from burial environments

Research for this poster was conducted as part of the course “Science of Conservation Materials and Methods I” (CAEM M216) and presented at the Annual Conference of the Association of North American Graduate Programs in Conservation (ANAGPIC), Buffalo State College, April 24-25, 2009

The production of lacquer varnishes has a long history in Chinese arts and crafts that dates to the Qin (221-206 BCE) and Han (206 BCE-220 AD) Dynasties. Unfortunately, lacquer wares (commonly made with a wooden substrate) from burial sites especially in northern China were seldom preserved, owing to underground water, seasonal fluctuations and other unfavorable conditions such as soil chemistry. What archaeologists usually find on excavation sites are pieces of lacquer stuck on wet soil; the wooden substrate having completely deteriorated.

This project explores different approaches and materials that would enable conservators and archaeologists to safely lift fragile lacquer fragments without causing further mechanical damage, while keeping humidity constant, thus preventing the shrinkage of the lacquer. A series of experiments were therefore formulated simulating burial conditions containing lacquer fragments and different conservation materials and methods were tested to determine how best to lift the fragile lacquer. The best results were obtained by facing the lacquer with molten cyclododecane (CDD), a waxy cyclic hydrocarbon that sublimes at room temperature, over pre-wet, loose-woven cotton cloth. By utilizing the versatile properties of CDD and the pre-wet cloth, the lacquer fragments were successfully lifted from the experimental setting without further observable damages and without causing any chemical or physical alteration.

Poster-The use of cyclododecane (CDD) for lifting fragile lacquer from burial environments


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UCLA/Getty Program 3rd Year Placements-Class of 2010

The following are the 3rd year internship placements for the class of 2010:

  • Siska Genbrugge – Los Angeles County Museum of Art (Los Angeles, CA); Museu Nacional de Arqueologia (Lisbon, Portugal); Luxor Temple, Epigraphic Survey, University of Chicago (Luxor, Egypt); Organics Conservation Laboratory, British Museum (London, UK)
  • Lauren Horelick – Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County (Los Angeles, CA); Alaska State Museum (Juneau, AK); American Museum of Natural History (New York, NY)
  • Jiafang Liang – Qin Terracotta Warriors and Horses Museum (China); Nelson Atkins Museum (Kansas City, MO)
  • Linda Lin – Agora Excavations, American School of Classical Studies (Athens, Greece); Seattle Art Museum (Seattle, WA)
  • Suzanne Morris – Santa Teresa Monastery Museum (Arequipa, Peru); UCLA/RUG Fayum Project (Fayum, Egypt); Aneta Zebala Conservation Studio (Los Angeles, CA)