New Beginnings

November 3, 2014

Figure 1 Conservator Nina Owczarek – left, and Conservation Technicians Cassia Balogh – center and Stephanie Carrato, already hard at work in the new Conservation Treatment Studio while ductwork is being welded in the background.

In September 2014, the Penn Museum’s Conservation Department was able to move into our long-awaited new spaces. Funded by generous donors, including lead donors A. Bruce and Margaret Mainwaring, Charles K. Williams II, and Frederick J. Manning, the spaces were designed by Samuel Anderson Architects. In the newly renovated West Wing Conservation and Teaching Labs, we’ve come back to the space where the labs were first set up in 1966…but oh how we’ve grown and improved!

It’s taken us a while to get unpacked and organized and we still have some final details to finish up but we’re ready to show off the results.

Figure 2. Moving in. Conservator Julie Lawson and Technician Stephanie Carrato unpack boxes – left; Leon Levy Project Conservator Tessa de Alarcon loads one of our new taborets (portable work supply stations) – center; Stephanie cleans our new cabinets – right

Samuel Anderson Architects designed Conservation spaces that have many new features with which we’re already in love. Our facilities include:

  • A fabulous new treatment studio with snorkel ventilation; an enormous fume hood that we can roll a whole cart into; vented solvent cabinets (no more being knocked over by fumes when opening the door); wonderful light; great workspaces; and a beautiful setting.
Figure 3 Three views of the Conservation Treatment Studio
  • A Prep Studio with lots of space for storage supplies, a large board cutter, and more workspace.
Figure 4 Three views of the Prep Studio
  • A dedicated space for record photography with snazzy pantograph lights, light rails for simulating gallery lighting conditions, and neutral grey walls. This can also be used for multispectral examination and imaging with our new Mini Crimescope.

    Figure 5 Our new photo space – left, and our Crimescope set up for action – right
  • A Seminar Room which houses our conservation library, treatment records, and has a large interactive screen for classes, meetings, and research sessions.
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    Figure 6 Two views of the library/seminar room

Soon we’ll have our new Digital X-radiography Suite and our laser cleaning stations up and running.  Stay tuned!