Summer Conservation Internships – Smithsonian Museum Conservation Institute

The Smithsonian’s Museum Conservation Institute (MCI) is offering short-term opportunities to work on conservation and conservation research projects with conservators of art and historic works. These internships are intended mainly for the summer of 2020, but consideration will be given to projects at other times during the year. Preference will be given to applicants interested in a career in conservation, those currently enrolled in conservation training programs, and graduate students in related subjects. A stipend may be offered for a period of up to 10 weeks. Successful applicants will contact the following potential supervisors in advance of application and specify them in the application:

  • Mary Ballard, Senior Textiles Conservator, 301-238-1210,
  • Shannon Brogdon-Grantham, Photo and Paper Conservator, 301-238-1241, brogdon-
  • Carol Grissom, Senior Objects Conservator, 301-238-1236,
  • Jessica S. Johnson, Head of Conservation, 301-238-1218,
  • Rebecca Kaczkowski, Preventive Conservator, 301-238-1242,
  • Dawn Rogala, Paintings Conservator, 301-238-1255,
  • Jia-Sun Tsang, Senior Paintings Conservator (modern and contemporary paintings treatment and research), 301-238-1231,

Applications must be made on line through SOLAA ( by February 10, 2020; select the option for the Smithsonian Museum Conservation Institute Conservation of Art and Historic Works Intern Program. Special skill sets and experience relevant to conservation should be indicated on the application, such as fiber art skills for an internship in textile conservation. Selected candidates will be interviewed by telephone, although MCI visits are welcome.

Those interested in working under the supervision of scientists at MCI may apply separately through SOLAA for a different MCI internship, 2020 Smithsonian Museum Conservation Institute Analytical Studies Intern Program, and should specify that program on the application.

Designing a Collection Plan | Recording and Resources

On Tuesday, October 22 at 3 PM (EST), the RAAMP Coffee Gathering focused on the process of creating Collection Plans in academic art museums.  This topic emerged from an inquiry on the AAMG listserv and revealed a curious lack of publicly available collection plan examples. In order to continue the conversation in real-time, we carved out time for colleagues embarking on this process — or those who have finished — to share their expertise and questions that arose at their own organizations.

Some of the questions that started the conversation included:

  • What sections should be included in a collection plan?
  • How does the collection plan integrate others, such as the university’s strategic plan, interpretive plan, and/or collections management policy?
  • Who should be involved in creating the document?
  • How might an academic art museum include their various communities in the process?
  • With colleagues in your museums, how do you successfully have conversations on how to limit or focus a collection, especially at an encyclopedic museum?
  • How might this document be helpful for donors?
  • Do you share your collection plan publicly?
  • How often do you revisit and revise your collection plan?

Questions for a Collection Plan Survey 

We would like to continue this discussion on Collection Plans through gathering additional information through a survey. We will to collect more information on what sections collections plans include, who is involved in their creation, who can access the finished (or abridged) product, and how frequently academic art museums revisit or edit them.

You may take the survey here. There are 33 questions, which will take about 20 minutes to complete. Thank you in advance for your assistance!

Example Collection Plans

AAM Collections Planning Resources (requires an AAM member login)

Augustana College Teaching Museum of Art Collections Management Policy (this includes language about gift of endowment funds in section 4 b iii 1)

Abridged Collections Plan: Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art at St. Petersberg College (Revised 2014)

Museum of Anthropology at Wake Forest University



A Collaborative Workshop in Photograph Conservation


Material Immaterial: Photographs in the 21st Century Symposium and Seminars
September 23-25, 2019, Yale University, New Haven, CT

Organized by Paul Messier and Monica Bravo

We are witnessing the historic transformation of photography from tangible objects—prints, plates, and negatives—to code: intangible bits, bytes, and pixels. As the tether between visual culture and the material world is recalibrated every day, a new form of literacy is required to draw meaning from physical media and its obsolescence. At the very moment when characterization and interpretation of the printed photograph is rapidly gaining ground, the momentum toward dematerialization raises the issue of the long-term relevance and sustainability of photography as a material fact. Does the physical photograph still matter today—as a source for teaching, learning, and scholarship—and will it matter into the future?

This symposium and elective seminars will provide insight into new tools for researching photographs with an emphasis on both the material and immaterial aspects of the medium. Conservation professionals will gain practical knowledge on new and existing techniques for characterizing prints and collections and how this information can be structured and visualized. Curators and art historians will benefit from exposure to the methods and techniques that underlie the contemporary approaches to material history. Together, the presentations and discussions are meant to demystify techniques adapted from seemingly exotic fields of artificial intelligence and data science and to cover some basic techniques for understanding and interpreting the physical and chemical makeup of a photographic print.

View the program for detailed a schedule and speaker list or visit the event website to register.

Support for this program comes from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Fund for Collaborative Workshops in Photograph Conservation, a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Foundation for Advancement in Conservation Endowment for Professional Development.

School Board in San Francisco Voted to Remove Victor Arnautoff’s “The Life of George Washington” Mural

In 1934, commissioned by the Works Progress Administration, Victor Arnautoff painted thirteen frescoes at George Washington High School. The images depict Washington as a slaveowner and his detriment to Indigenous populations and their land. The school board voted to remove the mural. [Hyperallergic]

Read the CAA’s response to the school board’s decision to destroy the mural. [CAA]