Lab 1: Making a Storage Mount

For the next few weeks, this blog will gain exclusive access to the lab sessions for a new course taught by Professor Astrid Lindenlauf and conservator Marianne Weldon up in special collections called: Introduction into Principles of Preservation and Conservation for Archaeologists (ARCH B137).

The first lab focused on creating mounts for objects when in storage.

While one mostly thinks about objects on display in exhibitions behind glass on black velvet with dramatic lighting, it is easy to forget that they spend a large amount of time in storage or in transport to and from exhibitions and study spaces. When in storage or transport, many objects need additional padding, support, or cradling to protect them from rolling around, bumping into one another, being crushed, squished, or other possible damages.


Objects in Storage within their mounts

Objects in Different Types of Storage Mounts

Storage mounts are created specifically to protect these objects and thus are an important part of storing an object safely for future use and study.

Choosing the materials from which to make a mount is the first step. One wants to ensure that the mount will not inadvertently damage the object through contact with reactive materials.

Examples of Storage Mount-Making Materials

Examples of New Biodegradable Materials

Marianne Weldon presented several tables of mount-making materials and tools: foams, tissue papers, boxes, silica gel, cloth-ribbon, glue-guns, paper labels, pillows, etc. She emphasized the archival properties of the materials (e.g. acid-free) and the new trend toward biodegradable materials.

She also demonstrated the Beilstein test in which one can test plastics for the presence of chloride by burning the plastic. If the flame burns green, the plastic is not safe for use.


Testing plastics for the presence of chloride.

There are a couple of different ways in which mounts can be made, but just like how every object is unique, every mount is unique to the object.  Marianne pointed out that what is most important is that the object can sit safely and can be removed from the mount easily and safely.

Students chose from a selection of objects that needed storage mounts for their lab project. Ceramic vessels and terracotta figurines were up for grabs. Over the course of the next several weeks, students will come in and create a mount for their object.



Behind the Scenes: Preservation of the Collection



The summer is off to a busy start in special collections.  This week the the 19th-century Japanese screen by Kanō Seisen’in Osanobu, previously discussed in this blog ( was packed and transported via specialized art couriers Nishio Conservation Studio where it will under conservation over the next two years.

Additionally, a Scroll Painting of Birds and flowers by Motonobu Kano has just been returned after receiving conservation treatment.









This 15th century scroll was mentioned briefly before in this blog, prior to it’s conservation (



College Receives Funding to Restore Major Japanese Artwork


With its golden pigments and delicately painted detail, the 19th-century Japanese screen in Bryn Mawr’s Special Collections illustrates the moment when the “shining prince” Genji first sees his future beloved, Murasaki.

Donated by Asian art historian Helen Burwell Chapin, Class of 1915, the screen is the work of Kanō Seisen’in Osanobu, the last great master of the Kanō School of painting, a four-century-long tradition central to the visual cultural and heritage of Japan.

A significant piece of Japan’s cultural heritage—scholars believe it was part of a Shogunal dowry—the screen is in need of restoration. And Bryn Mawr is on the job.

With support from a $20,000 grant from the Sumitomo Foundation of Japan, Collection Manager for Art and Artifacts Marianne Weldon will be overseeing conservation work to be undertaken by Nishio Conservation Studios in Washington, D.C., one of the leading conservators of Asian art in the United States. Over the past year, Weldon has been working with History of Art doctoral student Anna Moblard Meier M.A. ’14 to identify and evaluate the College’s Japanese art collections.

Moblard Meier played an especially critical role in identifying the potential importance of the screen, doing background research on the work and the artist, and determining that the previously unidentified screen depicts a key moment from The Tale of Genji, a classic work of Japanese literature.

An incredibly rare example of Osanobu’s adept homage and adaptation of classical conventions, the screen tempted curators from the Philadelphia Museum of Art when they reviewed it last summer as they prepared for the exhibition Ink and Gold: Art of the Kanō. But although the pigments and painting are intact, the work had been structurally damaged over time and too fragile to be displayed.

The restoration of the screen will take about two years, and when the work is completed, the screen will be displayed in Canaday Library.

Identification and Preservation of Prints

Location: Bryn Mawr College

Speaker: Samantha Sheesley, Paper Conservator, CCAHA

Date: June 2, 2015

Time: 9:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Fee: $60

Major funding for this program was generously provided by the William Penn Foundation, with additional support from The Pew Charitable Trusts, the Philadelphia Cultural Fund, the Independence Foundation, and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts.

For more information:


Bryn Mawr College to Host Protecting Collections: Disaster Prevention, Planning, & Response


PCRN_Banner - Copy
Only a few more days to register for Protecting Collections in Bryn Mawr, PA
Register by June 11th!
Protecting Collections: Disaster Prevention, Planning, & Response One of the most important steps any cultural institution can take to safeguard its collections is to be prepared in the event of an emergency or disaster.  This two-part program will guide participants in risk mitigation, emergency planning and preparedness, response, and recovery.  By the end of the second session, participants will develop and complete an emergency preparedness and response plan; learn how to train staff to implement the plan effectively; set pre-and post-disaster action priorities for collections; learn how to use practical decision-making skills during an emergency or disaster; and have information on salvaging a variety of materials, including books, documents, photos and objects.By registering for this program, attendees agree to participate in both the first and second sessions; the two sessions are scheduled several weeks apart in order to give attendees time to undertake several planning assignments.SPEAKERS

Laura Hortz Stanton, Director of Preservation Services, CCAHA
Dyani Feige, Preservation Specialist, CCAHA
Jessica Keister, Paper & Photograph Conservator, CCAHA


June 24 & August 5, 2014 – Registration Deadline is June 11th!
Bryn Mawr College Special Collections
Bryn Mawr, PA 19010

Times: 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.


Fee: $50
Registration Deadline: Register at least two weeks prior to the program date.

Registration, secure credit card payment, and additional program information are available at


  • Lunch will not be provided.
  • Refunds will be given until two weeks prior to the program date, minus a $10 cancellation fee.
  • If you have special needs, please contact CCAHA at least three weeks prior to the program date so that accommodations can be made.

Questions?  Call CCAHA’s Preservation Services department at 215.545.0613 or email us at

Protecting Collections: Disaster Prevention, Planning, & Response is a part of the Pennsylvania Cultural Resilience Network (PaCRN).  Funded through an Institute of Museum and Library Services National Leadership Grant, the goal of PaCRN is to create a strong network and provide resources for effective emergency response and recovery for cultural institutions in Pennsylvania.  Training, relationship-building, and Commonwealth-wide policy development will be the primary focus of this two-year initiative.

Recent Conservation of Peruvian Pottery Courtesy of The Conservation Center of the Institute of Fine Arts at NYU

During the Fall 2013 semester students at NYU’s Institute of Fine Arts conserved three Peruvian Vessels belonging to Bryn Mawr College Special Collections as part of a course: “The conservation treatment of inorganic archaeological & ethnographic objects”.  Below are before and after treatment photographs of one of the three vessels recently conserved: a Double Spout and Bridge Bottle Depicting Ears of Corn, Nazca, 100 BCE – 750 CE, 69.1.444.


Pre-Treatment Photograph of sherds from: Double Spout and Bridge Bottle Depicting Ears of Corn, Nazca, 100 BCE – 750 CE, 69.1.444.




After-Treatment Photograph: Double Spout and Bridge Bottle Depicting Ears of Corn, Nazca, 100 BCE – 750 CE, 69.1.444.







The Conservation Center of the Institute of Fine Arts is a graduate program within New York University for the study of the technology and conservation of works of art and historic artifacts. The Conservation Center prepares students for careers in art conservation through a four-year program that combines practical experience in conservation with historical, archaeological, curatorial, and scientific studies of the materials and construction of works of art. Students undertake research projects, laboratory work, seminars, and gain intensive conservation experience through advanced fieldwork and the fourth-year internship.



This course is designed to provide students with an introduction to the conservation of archaeological and ethnographic objects created from inorganic materials. Emphasis is placed on the acquisition of visual skills used in assessing condition and treatment problems. Each student examines a variety of objects, learning proper documentation and examination techniques, and then carries out treatment of those objects. The object materials may include ceramics, stone, glass, and metals. In addition to object stabilization and treatment, environmental concerns, storage mounts, and packing strategies, as well as appropriate ethics and standards for archaeological and ethnographic objects are discussed.


Samantha Alderson is a Conservator in the Anthropology Division of the American Museum of History, working with the museums archaeological and ethnographic collections.  In addition she is a lecturer at the Conservation Center of the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University teaching advanced courses in objects conservation.   She holds a BA from St. John’s College and a combined Master’s Degree in the History of Art & Archaeology and an Advanced Certificate in Conservation from the Conservation Center of the Institute of Fine Arts, NYU.  Her research interests include adhesives and consolidants in conservation, and the technology and conservation of Mesoamerican ceramics.

Endymion Recumbent (Sleeping Pan) Leaves Bryn Mawr College


EndymionToday Bryn Mawr College’s life-size marble sculpture of Endymion Recumbent by William Rinehart was safely packed for transit to New York by Atelier Art Services, Inc. (  There the sculpture will undergo conservation in the studio of Steve Tatti (

The marble was originally purchased in 1874 by Baltimore railroad tycoon John Garrett.  Later it came to Bryn Mawr with John Garrett’s daughter Mary Garrett and was on display at the Deanery as a garden sculpture.  After an encounter in which young men spending the night at the Deanery decorated the Endymion with a mustache, pink cheeks and clothing the sculpture was placed in storage where it has remained.  (For a history of the Deanery see:

Although there is no immediately obvious evidence of the pre-1947 grafitti, the sculpture has dirt engrained in its surface from many years in an outdoor environment.  The first part of the conservation treatment is to clean the surface.  At that point, we will re-examine the work and determine if additional surface re-finishing is necessary and make decisions about replacing broken elements.  Our goal is to exhibit the sculpture in Carpenter Library upon completion of its conservation treatment.

This conservation treatment was generously funded by an alumna of the college who wishes to remain anonymous.

Asian Scroll Conservation



Last Friday we took a Japanese Scroll Painting of Birds and Flowers by Motonobu Kano, a 15th century painter, to Nishio Conservation Studio for a condition report and treatment estimate.  Above is a detail image of the painting in it’s current condition. Below you see conservator Yoshi Nishio examining the scroll.

Nishio Conservation















The painting was donated to Bryn Mawr College by Elizabeth Gray Vining, Class of 1923.  Vining was the tutor for the Crown Prince of Japan from 1946-1950 and received this scroll as a gift from the royal family.

For an oral history interview with Elizabeth Gray Vining go to:

Renaissance Relief Reinstalled

Yesterday a reproduction plaster relief of the Tabernacle or Ciborium in the Medici
Chapel Church of Santa Croce in Florence was re-installed on the 2nd floor of Taylor Hall. It is a late 19th century reproduction after the original mid-15th century work by Mino da Fiesole (1429 – 1484).

To safely install the four-part plaster relief, a metal armature was constructed to support each section separately.  This insures that the weight of each piece is supported by the structure and not by the sections of the relief beneath.  The armature was installed first.

Then each section of the relief was installed one at a time, starting at the bottom, by professional art installers.