The Conservation Center at New York University’s Institute for Fine Arts (IFA) has announced that it has received a $1 million grant from The Levy Foundation to advance graduate training in archaeological conservation. The grant creates 15 Leon Levy Fellowships at the Institute to support promising students enrolled in the Center’s four-year training program. It also establishes five Leon Levy Visiting Fellowships, which will be awarded over five years to one individual each year who specializes in the conservation of archaeological materials of the ancient world-western Mediterranean to China.

Michele Marincola, interim director at the IFA and Sherman Fairchild Chairman of the Conservation Center, said “The material heritage of the ancient world is vast, as are the conservation needs of archaeological artifacts and sites. To properly care for this tangible part of our history requires highly skilled and educated archaeological conservators, both in the U.S. and internationally. The need for qualified experts is made more urgent by the serious risk posed to archaeological material by the rapid economic development we’ve witnessed in many countries over the past decade. With the additional resources that The Levy Foundation gift provides, NYU hopes to make a global impact by training conservators who are prepared to deal with the complex challenges posed by archaeological sites and artifacts.”

Shelby White, founding trustee of the Leon Levy Foundation, said, “Leon was a long- time supporter of the Conservation Center and he realized the importance of properly preserving our past. Conservation initiatives, such as this one to train skilled conservators, are critical in preserving history’s most important treasures. In that context, we are delighted to support the Institute of Fine Arts in training the next generation of archaeological conservators.”

The IFA believes it is uniquely positioned to advance training in this field. It has a premier graduate program in conservation; distinguished faculty in art history and archaeology-professors David O’Connor, Katherine Welch, Clemente Marconi, and the recently appointed Hsueh-man Shen, to name a few; and numerous opportunities for training and research in the field, including IFA-sponsored excavation at Samothrace in Greece, Selinunte in Italy, Aphrodisias in Turkey, and Abydos in Egypt.

As Hannelore Roemich, acting chairman of the Conservation Center, explained, “This grant presents us with a tremendous opportunity. We can draw on the Levy Fellowships to help attract the top talent to our program in archaeological conservation and to promote educational outreach in countries with limited training options that have some of the greatest need. We are truly grateful to The Levy Foundation for its decision to partner with us to establish this wonderful program.”

Founded in 1960, the Conservation Center of the Institute of Fine Arts is dedicated to the study of the technology and conservation of works of art and historic artifacts. It prepares students for careers in conservation through a four-year program that combines practical experience in conservation with art historical, archaeological, curatorial, and scientific studies of the materials and construction of works of art. Students complete a Master’s degree in art history at the Institute of Fine Arts, one of the premier centers of graduate education in art history in the United States, and receive an Advanced Certificate in conservation.

The Institute of Fine Arts is one of the world’s leading graduate schools and research centers in art history, archaeology, and conservation. The Institute has a permanent faculty unrivalled in the breadth and depth of its expertise and unparalleled in the range of its adjunct lecturers from top museums, research institutes, and conservation studios. Since the Institute awarded its first PhD in 1933, more than 1600 degrees have been conferred. A high proportion of alumni hold international leadership roles as professors, curators, museum directors, archaeologists, conservators, critics, and institutional administrators.

The Leon Levy Foundation, founded in 2004, is a private, not-for-profit foundation created from the estate of Leon Levy, an investor with a longstanding commitment to philanthropy. The Foundation’s overarching goal is to support scholarship at the highest level, ultimately advancing knowledge and improving the lives of individuals and society at large.

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