The Philadelphia Science Festival & National Preservation Week

Why do we use microscopes to examine artifacts? What is that funny thing that Lynn Grant is wearing on her head? Find out tonight at the Philadelphia Science Festival event, Long Live Our Treasures: The Science of Conservation and Preservation

You may look at the photos above and wonder, what are these women doing, and what are they wearing? We answer these sorts of questions every day in the Artifact Lab, but tonight, we won’t be the only ones talking about conservation here in the museum. The Philadelphia Science Festival is currently underway, and this evening, from 5:00- 8:00pm, we are hosting one of the festival’s Signature Events: Long Live Our Treasures: The Science of Conservation and Preservation. Not only will all of our museum’s conservators be available in the Artifact Lab, but we’ll be joined by conservation and preservation professionals from 17 different organizations, including The Barnes Foundation, the Conservation Center for Art & Historic Artifacts, the Franklin Institute, the University of Delaware, and the Free Library of Philadelphia, just to name a few.

What can you expect to see at this event? Essentially, the third floor of the museum will be taken over by booths from each of our partnering organizations. At each station, conservators and researchers will be demonstrating and discussing the preservation of cultural heritage, including photographs, films and home movies, books, paintings, herbarium sheets…oh, and mummies of course!

Curious about this mummy? Visit the Artifact Lab to find out more!!

Curious about this mummy and what we’re doing to preserve it? Visit the Artifact Lab to find out more!!

There will also be many hands-on activities, which everyone has been working hard to prepare.

Artifact Lab intern Melissa Miller prepping demo artifacts for the Science Festival. She is making them "dirty" so Science Festival attendees can try their hand at cleaning them.

Artifact Lab intern Melissa Miller prepping demo artifacts for the Science Festival. She is making them “dirty” so Science Festival attendees can try their hand at cleaning them.

Long Live Our Treasures is essentially an opportunity to learn from the experts about how science and art are combined in the unique field of conservation, and to find out what you can do to care for some of your most treasured possessions. In addition, there will be several presentations throughout the evening – for a full schedule follow this link.

This week is also National Preservation Week. If you’re in the Philly area, and you’re at all interested in museum conservation, our event this evening is the perfect way to celebrate, to connect with conservation experts and enthusiasts in our community, and to learn more about the important collections in the Philadelphia area and what is being done to preserve them. We’ll look forward to seeing you!

 

2013 Philadelphia Science Festival Preview

Our table at the Science Festival Press Preview night, featuring our portable XRF analyzer and a Proscope. At right, Lynn demos the Proscope, magnifying a piece of linen at 50X.

Our table at the Science Festival Press Preview night, featuring our portable XRF analyzer and a Proscope. At right, Lynn demos the Proscope, magnifying a piece of linen at 50X.

Last night, Lynn Grant, Penn Museum Public Relations Director Pam Kosty, and I went to the Franklin Institute for a Press Preview for the 2013 Philadelphia Science Festival. Our museum is hosting a signature event for the Science Festival this year, entitled: “Long Live Our Treasures: The Science of Conservation and Preservation.” We have partnered with 17 other organizations for this program, which will spotlight the typically “behind the scenes” work of conservation professionals through demonstrations, exhibits and short talks. All of this will be taking place on Wednesday April 24 from 5-8pm at the museum.

At the preview last night, we got a taste (literally) of some of the other programming that will be taking place at the Science Festival, including a chance to try fruit from a cacao pod, thanks to Mars Chocolate Research Fellow Ed Seguine (who tastes chocolate for a living – how envious am I?) and a sample of chocolate bourbon habanero ice cream made with liquid nitrogen (so delicious and creamy!) made by the evening’s host, the Franklin Institute.

A partially opened cacao pod (left) and the liquid nitrogen-prepared ice cream being served (right)

A partially opened cacao pod (left) and the liquid nitrogen-prepared ice cream being served (right)

At our event for the Science Festival on April 24, we are looking forward to sharing our work in the Artifact Lab – we will be open till 8pm that evening and visitors will have a chance to use our Proscopes (like the one in the image above) and learn about how we are conserving mummies and other Egyptian materials. This event also, appropriately, coincides with National Preservation Week. We’re excited to be hosting this program and highlighting the field of conservation, and we hope that those of you in the Philly area can join us for this!