Paper Conservation

The paper curriculum covers a wide variety of sub-specialties, including photographs, books, manuscripts and other bound materials. Under the supervision of faculty member, Margaret Holben Ellis, students enroll in a series of object-based seminars beginning with The Conservation Treatment of Prints and Drawings I. In this course, the materials and techniques of works of art on paper are reviewed with attention given to those characteristics vulnerable to inappropriate conservation treatments. Basic conservation treatments are introduced, such as surface cleaning, washing, drying, tear repair, and flattening, with emphasis on examination and documentation. In The Conservation Treatment of Prints and Drawings II, students undertake more complex treatments, and each student is expected to complete several partial exercises and at least three full conservation treatments per semester, including all testing, research, treatment, and documentation. Students are also encouraged to take Readings in Paper Conservation, a widely popular course where seminal texts in paper conservation are discussed according to a series of topics ranging from the history of paper restoration, ethics and aesthetics, to current and outmoded treatment procedures. After these practical courses are completed, students participate in advanced projects that can embrace their individual interests in modern materials, books and manuscripts, photographic materials, or other specialized areas of study under the umbrella of paper conservation in numerous departments and laboratories located in and around New York City.