Mellon Library and Archive Conservation

Unlike most applicants to the conservation program, students wishing to specialize in library and archive conservation must declare their interest in this specialty at time of application and/or during their interview. Students may focus their studies on books and manuscript conservation, on works of art on paper, photographs, or other paper-based materials found in special collections. Once admitted, students then follow a targeted degree path that begins from day one and is slightly altered from our general program curriculum. This allows the student to focus on developing the necessary skills particular to a library and archive conservator as early as possible in their graduate education.

Advanced treatment coursework begins in the second year with The Conservation Treatment of Prints and Drawings I, where students are trained in a wide variety of paper conservation treatments. They will then choose to specialize in paper materials—bound and unbound—as well as digital or electronic media that are typically found in libraries and archive collections. This collaborative program involves a number of partner institutions, including the Columbia University Libraries, Long Island University’s Palmer School of Library and Information Science, and the Morgan Library & Museum. Students in this track have a wealth of practical training opportunities in collections around the country and internationally, including winter intersessions and summer workshops in historic bookbinding, paleography, book illustration processes, and descriptive bibliography.

The development of the library and archive curriculum is generously supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Mellon Library & Archive Conservation Program Outline

Dual M.S. in the Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works and M.A. in the History of Art and Archaeology

This is only a generalization of the four-year program. Individual student registrations may vary according to specialization.

22 courses are taken over three years: 15 in conservation and 7 in art history.

First Year

Fall Semester

  1. Technology & Structure of Works of Art I
  2. Material Science of Works of Art I
  3. Foundations I in Art History
  4. Art History Elective (Lecture) 

Spring Semester

  1. Technology & Structure of Works of Art II
  2. Material Science of Works of Art II
  3. Principles of Conservation
  4. Art History Elective (Seminar)

Summer 1

  • Internship(s), participation in an IFA-sponsored or co-sponsored archaeological dig, conservation projects at Villa La Pietra, Florence, Italy

Second Year

Fall Semester

  1. Instrumental Analysis I
  2. Advanced Conservation or Art History Elective
  3. Advanced Conservat
  4. Advanced Conservation or Art History Elective

Spring Semester

  1. Instrumental Analysis II
  2. Preventive Conservation
  3. Advanced Conservation or Art History Elective
  4. Advanced Conservation or Art History Elective

Summer 2

  • Internship(s), participation in an IFA-sponsored or co-sponsored archaeological dig, conservation projects at Villa La Pietra, Florence, Italy

Third Year

Fall Semester

  1. Advanced Conservation or Art History Elective
  2. Advanced Conservation or Art History Elective
  3. Advanced Conservation or Art History Elective

Spring Semester

  1. Advanced Conservation or Art History Elective
  2. Advanced Conservation or Art History Elective
  3. Directed Research Towards the MA Thesis

Summer 3

  • Internship(s), participation in an IFA-sponsored or co-sponsored archaeological dig, conservation projects at Villa La Pietra, Florence, Italy

Fourth Year

Fall Semester

  • Internship Placement

Spring Semester

  • Internship Placement (continued)