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NYU's Institute of Fine Arts Conservation Center Awarded National Endowment for the Humanities Grant


The Conservation Center of the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, has received a $75,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) that will bolster the Center's mission to provide premier graduate-level training and education for future conservators.

The Conservation Center
Katherine Parks working on a Gut Skin Doll, Ruthelle Kingeekuk (1941-2007), mixed media, late 20th century, Yup'ik culture, Conservation Center, Institute of Fine Arts, NYU. Image courtesy: Amelia Catalano.

The 2018 grant, Educating Future Preservation Professionals to Steward Humanities Collections, provides financial aid for students and supports adjunct faculty and specialist lecturers. This award will be increased to $100,000 if the Conservation Center can secure $25,000 in private funding.

The Conservation Center trains students in core conservation competencies and, at the same time, responds to emerging needs of the field and incorporates them into a rigorous four-year program. Recently augmented offerings include a closer evaluation of conservation ethics, the integration of sustainable and preventive conservation into routine preservation practices, and the delivery of specialized training in currently understaffed areas, such as time-based media art conservation. Unique among peer programs, the Conservation Center requires its students to earn a Master of Arts degree in art history in addition to a Master of Science. These dual degrees facilitate collaboration among conservators, scholars, and library and museum professionals.

As dedicated stewards of collections, conservators play a critical role in the preservation of and continued access to cultural property. Their expertise, skills, and knowledge help to ensure the short- and long-term viability of material heritage. Upholding its tradition of excellence in education, the Conservation Center, with support from the NEH, continues to educate today’s conservators through its time-tested, and constantly evolving, course of studies.

“We are deeply honored to be the recipients of this NEH grant which provides transformative support for our students, allowing them to carry out their studies at the highest possible level,” said Christine Poggi, Judy and Michael Steinhardt Director of the Institute. “The NEH’s commitment to the Conservation Center ensures specialized training for students that will play a critical role in preserving our global cultural legacies.”

Margaret Holben Ellis, Chair of the Conservation Center and Eugene Thaw Professor of Paper Conservation, commented, “Our humanities collections are in better hands, thanks to NEH’s steadfast support of our students for over two decades. Our graduates have joined the ranks of dedicated conservation professionals responsible for preserving our artistic and historic heritage.”

About the Conservation Center of the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University
The Institute of Fine Arts is an international leader in research and graduate teaching, and committed to global engagement and advancing the fields of art history, archaeology, and the theory and practice of conservation. New York City, with its incomparable resources and vitality, provides a backdrop and extended campus for the Institute’s activities. Founded in 1960, the Conservation Center is the oldest degree-granting graduate program in art conservation in the United States. The Conservation Center offers a four-year, dual MA/MS graduate program combining training in art conservation with historical, archaeological, curatorial, and scientific studies.

About the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH)

Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at: www.neh.gov.


For more information please contact: Margaret Holben Ellis, Chair and Eugene Thaw Professor of Paper Conservation at mhe1@nyu.edu.