Conservation Seminar II

IARC Seminar

May 8–10, 2014

Conservation Seminar IIConservation Seminar IIConservation seminar participants: (left to right, front row) Martina Dawley, Kelly McHugh, Jim Enote, Mina Thompson, Jennifer Himmelreich; (left to right, back row) Elysia Poon, Sylvanus Paul, Dominic Henry, Jae Anderson, Landis Smith, Nancy Odegaard, Amy Johnson, Marian Kaminitz, Laura Elliff, Tony Chavarria. Not pictured: Ellen Pearlstein who Skyped in on the seminar.

Photo courtesy Jennifer Day, School for Advanced Research
Conservation Seminar IIConservation seminar participants: (left to right, front row) Martina Dawley, Kelly McHugh, Jim Enote, Mina Thompson, Jennifer Himmelreich; (left to right, back row) Elysia Poon, Sylvanus Paul, Dominic Henry, Jae Anderson, Landis Smith, Nancy Odegaard, Amy Johnson, Marian Kaminitz, Laura Elliff, Tony Chavarria. Not pictured: Ellen Pearlstein who Skyped in on the seminar.

Photo courtesy Jennifer Day, School for Advanced Research

Organized and facilitated by Cynthia Chavez Lamar, former IARC director, School for Advanced Research; Landis Smith, research associate, National Museum of the American Indian Conservation Department and conservator, Museums of New Mexico; and Laura Elliff, IARC acting director, School for Advanced Research.

A second IARC seminar on the conservation of indigenous collections was organized in May 2014 to address major outcomes of the 2013 seminar. During the first seminar, discussions among conservators, tribal museum leaders, artists, curators, and collections managers centered on the deep changes in the field of conservation and other collections-based work over the past two decades. It was agreed that as conservation becomes increasingly collaborative with, or led by, source communities and individuals, the need for a resource that can help in the planning and implementation of this work has become critically important. As a result, 2014 seminar participants developed the first draft of a set of ethical and practical guidelines for collaborative conservation work including the documentation of collections, the conservation decision-making process and treatments. Work continues on the editing of the guidelines with the intention of a future publication.

The second outcome of the 2013 seminar addresses the need for more exposure to conservation and other collections-based museum work as a potential career path for Native students. This is particularly important at this point in time as museums holding Native collections are evolving an increasingly collaborative and inclusive working process. At the same time, numbers of tribal museums are on the rise. The idea of organizing community workshops about collaborative collections conservation and other collections-based museum work was discussed among the 2013 seminar participants and enthusiastically developed during the second seminar.

Planning for the pilot workshop will commence in fall 2014 with a third seminar.

Seminar Participants

Conservation Seminar IIConservation Seminar IIConservation seminar participants: (left to right, front row) Martina Dawley, Kelly McHugh, Jim Enote, Mina Thompson, Jennifer Himmelreich; (left to right, back row) Elysia Poon, Sylvanus Paul, Dominic Henry, Jae Anderson, Landis Smith, Nancy Odegaard, Amy Johnson, Marian Kaminitz, Laura Elliff, Tony Chavarria. Not pictured: Ellen Pearlstein who Skyped in on the seminar.

Photo courtesy Jennifer Day, School for Advanced Research
Conservation Seminar IIConservation seminar participants: (left to right, front row) Martina Dawley, Kelly McHugh, Jim Enote, Mina Thompson, Jennifer Himmelreich; (left to right, back row) Elysia Poon, Sylvanus Paul, Dominic Henry, Jae Anderson, Landis Smith, Nancy Odegaard, Amy Johnson, Marian Kaminitz, Laura Elliff, Tony Chavarria. Not pictured: Ellen Pearlstein who Skyped in on the seminar.

Photo courtesy Jennifer Day, School for Advanced Research

Jae R. Anderson is a materials science and engineering graduate student pursuing a graduate certificate in heritage conservation at the University of Arizona. He earned an Associates of Science degree in computer science in 2001 from Pima Community College followed by a Bachelor of Science in applied mathematics in 2006 from the University of Arizona. His research interest in cultural heritage conservation science, particularly nondestructive testing of cultural materials, has led to employment with the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian and the United States Library of Congress. Mr. Anderson desires to continue to make an impact in the field on heritage conservation science through awareness, collaboration, and pursuing an affiliated PhD program.

Tony Chavarria is the curator of ethnology at the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture/Laboratory of Anthropology in Santa Fe, New Mexico. A graduate of University of Colorado at Denver, he was the first Branigar Intern at the School of American Research in Santa Fe. Tony has served as secretary and board member for the Council for Museum Anthropology, and a board member for the Committee on Practicing, Applied and Public Interest Anthropology, both sections of the American Anthropological Association. He has contributed to the publications A River Apart: The Pottery of Cochiti and Santo Domingo Pueblos, Painting a Native World: Life, Land and Animals and Here, Now and Always: Voices of the Native Southwest. Among the exhibitions he has curated are the traveling exhibition Comic Art Indigene and Heartbeat: Music of the Native Southwest. He also served as a community liaison and curator for the inaugural Pueblo exhibition at the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington. DC. He resides and abides at Santa Clara Pueblo.

Martina Dawley (Hualapai/Navajo) is completing a PhD in American Indian studies, with a focus in museum studies at the University of Arizona. She was recently hired at the Arizona State Museum (ASM) to manage the American Indian Relations program. Upon completion of her dissertation she will advance to a faculty position at ASM. Her dissertation research specifically focuses on finding out how many American Indians are professional conservators and investigating the factors that determine this number. She was awarded scholarships from the Indigenous Material Institute and the Hualapai Department of Education. She earned her M.A. in American Indian studies (2009) and her B.A. in anthropology with a minor in geology (2006) at the University of Arizona. She became interested in museums, especially the field of conservation, while working at ASM as a McNair Scholar (2006-2008).

Laura Elliff (Seminar Co-Facilitator) has been the collections manager at the Indian Arts Research Center (IARC) of the School for Advanced Research (SAR) since 2008. Since May/2014, she has been acting director at the IARC. Originally from Oklahoma and a member of the Choctaw Nation, Laura has worked in the museum field since 2004 with passions in both collections care and working with local tribal communities on collaborative projects. Previously, she worked at the Center of Southwest Studies (CSWS) at Fort Lewis College in Durango, CO. She has a B.A. in Anthropology; a graduate certificate in "Museum Collections Management and Care," and an M.A. in American Studies.

Jim Enote
Zuni farmer and interrupted artist, Jim is a man of many interests, skills, endeavors and accomplishments.

Jim is the director of the A:shiwi A:wan Museum and Heritage Center in Zuni, New Mexico and the director of the Colorado Plateau Foundation. He serves on the boards of the Grand Canyon Trust and Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation and he is a senior advisor for Mountain Cultures at the Mountain Institute. He is a National Geographic Society Explorer; a New Mexico Community Luminaria; and an E.F. Shumacher Society Fellow.

In 2013 he received the Guardian of Culture and Lifeways Award from the Association of Tribal Archives, Libraries, and Museums, and in 2010 during the American Anthropological Association's annual meeting was awarded the first Michael Ames Prize for Innovative Museum Anthropology.

Born in Zuni, New Mexico, he is still camped out there at his work-in-progress home.

Dominic Henry is a citizen of the Navajo Nation his family is from New Mexico and Washington, D.C. He earned his second M.A. in Historic Preservation (2013) focus on architectural conservation and planning from Clarence Thomas Preservation Center- School of Building Arts + Architecture, Savannah College of Art + Design. While attending SCAD, he received a restoration certificate from the International Institute for Restoration and Preservation in San Gemini, Provincia di Terni- Italy, where he studied material science of frescoes and urban planning. He trained with various conservators, planners and architects. He was an architectural facilities fellow at Peabody Essex Museum and Fellow with the National Trust for Historic Preservation. He also worked with DMH Architecture Restoration Firm and Turner Construction. His work involves conservation for archaeological monuments, historic and modern buildings. He joined MIAC in 2014, and works at the institution’s two laboratories.

Jennifer Himmelreich is a graduate student at the School of Library and Information Science, IMLS Circle of Learning, San Jose State University, CA.

Amy G. Johnson is the Collections Management Specialist at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque. A graduate of the University of New Mexico with a BA in Fine Arts, she is from the Pueblo of Isleta. She has co-curated a number of exhibitions at the IPCC and continues to learn from various professionals in the museum field through collaborative projects.

Marian A. Kaminitz has served as the Head of Conservation at the National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution since 1991. Her main interests include conservation partnerships with Native American community artists. She was Assistant Conservator in the Anthropology Department at the American Museum of Natural History, New York from 1985 – 1991. From 1988 - 1998 she was an Adjunct Professor of Conservation at the New York University’s Conservation Center, teaching a course in the conservation of organic ethnographic and archaeological objects. She received a Masters of Science in the Conservation of Artistic and Historic Works from the University of Delaware/Winterthur Museum Program in Art Conservation in 1984. She was an Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship at the Pacific Regional Conservation Center, Bishop Museum in Honolulu, HI from 1984 to 1985. She served as the Coordinator for the Ethnographic Working Group of ICOM-CC from 1999-2005 and is currently an assistant coordinator.

Kelly McHugh is an objects conservator at the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI). She began working for the museum in 1996 in New York, based at the museum's former storage facility in the Bronx. There she participated in a survey of the over 800,000 objects in NMAI's collection, prior to the collections move to the Cultural Resources Center (CRC) in Maryland. She currently cares for the collection and works to prepare objects for exhibits at NMAI-DC and NMAI-NY at the CRC. She specializes in evolving the Conservation Department's collaborative conservation methodology and in caring for the museum's contemporary art collection.

Nancy Odegaard
Conservator of material culture and advocate for lifelong learning

Nancy is the Head of the Preservation Division at the Arizona State Museum on the campus of the University of Arizona and is a professor with the Department of Material Science & Engineering, the School of Anthropology, and the Drachman Institute (historic preservation). She leads the effort to preserve the collections of the museum through loans, exhibits, excavations, research, storage, and repatriation; she teaches students; provides outreach services; conducts research related to conservation; and has had major projects involving pottery, human remains, basketry, textiles, and pesticide residues.

Born in Minnesota, she was raised in Arizona, studied for a BA in California with a year abroad in Paris. After some work in museums she completed a MA at GWU and Smithsonian in Washington DC, and later a PhD in Australia. She gained early conservation experience at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Museo Ixchel in Guatemala, Smithsonian Museum of Natural History and the Peabody Museum at Harvard. She has been a Fulbright Scholar (1991, 2001), Winterthur Research Fellow (2000), and Getty GCI Scholar (2007). She is a Fellow of the AIC and IIC and received a US Department of Justice Commendation Award (2000), AIC Keck Award (2009) and the AIC Advocacy Award (2013).

Sylvanus Paul is the Collections Assistant at the Indian Arts Research Center (IARC) of the School for Advanced Research (SAR) in Santa Fe, NM. He is from Pine Hill, NM, of the Ramah Navajo Reservation. Sylvanus attended Diné College in Tsaile, AZ; his focus on Diné Studies. He is an alumni of Fort Lewis College in Durango, CO, with a major in American Indian Studies and a minor in Southwest History. Sylvanus has interned at Mesa Verde National Park, being trained on maintaining the longevity of their archaeological items. Sylvanus continued to work for the Park Service with collections care for Chaco Canyon Historical Park.

Ellen Pearlstein is an associate professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, teaching in Information Studies and in the UCLA/Getty Program in Archaeological and Ethnographic Conservation. In her latter capacity, Ellen is presently working with weavers in southern CA, the Agua Caliente Cultural Museum in CA and the Hibulb Cultural Center in WA, involving them in graduate conservation education. Her research interests include American Indian tribal museums and how museum staff defines cultural preservation; effects of environmental agents on ethnographic and natural history materials; introducing context into cultural materials’ conservation education; and curriculum development. She is co-director of the UCLA and Getty Conservation Institute feather research. project.

Elysia Poon is the program coordinator for the Indian Arts Research Center at the School for Advanced Research (SAR) in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Her responsibilities include public programming, education and outreach, and overseeing the Native artist, intern, and volunteer programs. Prior to SAR, Elysia worked for the Autry National Center in Los Angeles, Museum of Indian Arts and Culture in Santa Fe, and Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque. Throughout her career, she has curated and produced educational content for both online and traditional museum exhibits. She holds an MA in art history from the University of New Mexico

Landis Smith (Seminar Co-Facilitator) is currently Project Conservator, Museums of New Mexico Conservation Unit, Santa Fe, NM and Research Associate, National Museum of the American Indian Conservation Department. She was previously Anchorage Project Conservator at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History; Project Conservator at the Museums of New Mexico; and Conservator, Department of Anthropology, American Museum of Natural History, NY. Since 1989, much of her career has been focused on ways to carry out collaborative documentation and conservation work with indigenous artists, elders, tribal leaders, scientists and other experts. Her work includes the development and organization, in collaboration with NMAI, of a community-based educational program in New Mexico for NMAI Conservation fellows, interns and staff. Areas of collaborative research include Pueblo pottery, Southwest Native silver jewelry and Alaska Native material culture. Landis serves on several non-profit boards including the Board of Trustees for the Haak’u Museum at Acoma Pueblo.

Mina Thompson
Mina Thompson received her Masters of Arts and Certificate in Objects Conservation at Buffalo State College in 1998 and has been the Associate Conservator for the Museums of New Mexico since 1999. In New Mexico she has worked collaboratively on conserving Puebloan and ancestral Puebloan cultural material, as well as Spanish Colonial devotional material. She began a survey of archaeological ceramic vessels at the Laboratory of Anthropology along with Landis Smith, and will be assisting Ms. Smith on a pottery conservation project that is collaborative with potters, scholars and tribal representatives. Whenever possible, Ms. Thompson endeavors to work with the makers, cultural representatives, artists and scholars regarding the preservation of their cultural material.

Prior to the Museum of New Mexico, Ms. Thompson interned at the Brooklyn Museum of Art under the direction of Ellen Pearlstein, at the UCLA Fowler Museum of Cultural History, on the Poggio Colla Excavations in Italy, and at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Cynthia Chavez Lamar, Facilitator
Laura Elliff, Facilitator
Landis Smith, Facilitator
Jae R. Anderson
Tony Chavarria
Martina Dawley
Jim Enote
Dominic Henry
Jennifer Himmelreich
Amy G. Johnson
Marian A. Kaminitz
Kelly McHugh
Nancy Odegaard
Sylvanus Paul
Ellen Pearlstein
Elysia Poon
Mina Thompson

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