Andrew Mellon Post- Baccalaureate Fellow 2011-2012
My last semester of my senior year of college I enrolled in an in depth architectural seminar of the 1930s taught by Dr. Kostis Kourelis from the Art & Art History Department. By this time I had taken several classes with Dr. Kourelis and even worked on a summer Hackmann grant with him in Southern Greece. This particular class, however, proved to be quite an academic challenge because it demanded extensive primary research, archival work, visual analysis, and interdisciplinary scholarship.
As the semester progressed we divided up the 1930s art and architecture located on campus and we each honed in on one building or object, which would be the central focus of an original research project. I chose the 1937 mural in Franklin & Marshall’s Shadek-Fackenthal colonial revival library, Research Practical and Philosophical, Looks to the Past and Future Generations of Men. http://library2.fandm.edu/mural/mural.html
Beyond my final research project for this seminar, the mural spurred an interest in art conservation/historic preservation, I observed the mural was moved and damaged throughout the decades. For an art history student, this posed several critical questions, such as, why is this mural valuable for us as a community, what narrative does it produce about 1930s America, what makes it significant to us, is it important that we protect this object, and who is responsible for the upkeep and repair of the mural?
I brought my concerns and questions to the Phillips Museum staff, hoping to promote a dialogue that could produce a realistic preservation strategy that collaborated with both professional museum standards and art history. We discussed possible outcomes and tactics we could use to approach the situation of historic preservation around Franklin & Marshall and shortly there after, I was offered the 2011-2012 Andrew Mellon Post- Baccalaureate Fellowship to focus on conservation initiatives within the museum and art around the college.
Throughout the year I focused on generating condition reports of all incoming works, and cataloguing them into the Museum’s computer database. Under the direction of Dr. Phillip Zimmerman the Mellon Doctoral Fellow, I cleaned the collections valuable silver. I also monitored humidity controls as well as checked on artwork around the campus for damage or regular maintenance. In addition I was responsible for the condition photographs of incoming loan pieces and had a role in documenting and reporting on the Zorach’s work for the Zorach: Paint and Spirit exhibition http://phillipsmuseumofart.wix.com/zorachs/paint-and-spirit#!__paint-and-spirit that took place in the Fall of 2011. I was also responsible for cleaning and waxing all the bronze work by William Zorach in the exhibition.
Finally I worked on condition reporting and photography for Dr. Kostis Kourelis’ exhibition Colors of Greece: The Art and Archaeology of Georg von Peschke, continuing my work and research I began in the summer of 2010 during my Hackmann scholarship. http://articles.philly.com/2012-03-30/news/31261543_1_greece-thessaloniki-peschke My time spent at the Museum was diverse and jam packed with valuable experiences. From here I plan to focus on applying to graduate school to pursue preservation and conservation of the built environment in the Middle East.