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Hannelore Roemich

(on sabbatical fall 2017, on leave spring 2018)

Chairman of the Conservation Center, Professor of Conservation Science

PhD 1987 Universitaet Heidelberg (Germany), Chemie Diplom 1984 University of Dortmund (Germany)

My PhD in Organic Chemistry (from the University in Heidelberg, Germany) gave me a solid foundation for my career in conservation science. During my time at the Fraunhofer Gesellschaft, the leading organization for applied research in Germany, my interests focused on glass and ceramics conservation in general and on conservation material testing and development in particular. National and European Commission-funded international research projects encouraged me to work across disciplines and made me climb the scaffoldings on Gothic Cathedrals all over Europe. I am particularly interested in the alteration of material with time in various environments, which includes outdoor weathering and degradation of objects in the soil, as well as studies on the impact of indoor climate.

Over the past years, I have broadened my interest in the museum environment after introducing “Preventive Conservation” as a stand-alone course in the newly restructured curriculum at the Center. Together with my co-instructor Steve Weintraub I am working with the students on term projects ranging from show case refurbishment to museum lighting, evaluating the building envelope and special enclosures. As a chemist I am interested in color and art on a molecular level, but also in issues related to our visual perception and the visitor experience in relation to museum lighting.

I am still deeply committed to my glass and ceramics community, serving as coordinator of the Working Group “Glass and Ceramics” within the International Council of Museums – Committee for Conservation (ICOM-CC). In this role I am currently organizing the conference “Recent Advances in Glass and Ceramics Conservation - ICOM-CC Glass and Ceramics Working Group Interim Meeting” 25-29 May 2016, in Wrocław, Poland. I will be the editor of the conference publication, following my editorial work for the proceedings from the conferences in Amsterdam (2013) and Corning (2010).

While still being a firm believer in laboratory experiments, I always challenge myself with reality checks in the outside world, for example at archaeological excavations and in cathedral workshops. Most recently I worked with one of my former students, Eman Zidan, on monitoring the environment in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, leading to a publication in the American research Center in Egypt (ARCE) Bulletin (206/2015). The last three summers I have spent time in a Rococo Castle near Salzburg, Austria, assessing the condition of an amazing collection together with NYU students and a group from our project partner, the Winterthur / University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation. Results from this research will be presented at the annual meeting of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic & Artistic Works (AIC) in May 2016.

In my role as Chairman of the Conservation Center I am dedicated to facilitate the highest level of teaching for our students and to explore new areas of interest in the ever changing field of conservation. During the next two years we will establish a new specialization in time-based media (TBM) art conservation as part of our MA/MS dual degree at the IFA, which will be the first of its kind in the United States. This program will require students – and faculty – to cross the disciplinary boundaries of computer science, material science, media technology, engineering, art history, and conservation.

Research Interests

Non-destructive testing of art objects, including CT (computed tomography) and other imaging techniques
Indoor environment, evaluation of pollutants and lighting conditions in museums
Glass and enamels, active and preventive conservation issues

Sample Courses

Materials of Art and Archaeology I and II: Organic and Inorganic Materials
Preventive Conservation
Advanced Science, such as Light and Color and Advanced Cellulose Science

Selected Works

Hannelore Roemich Book Cover Recent Advances in Glass and Ceramics Conservation 2016, ed. Hannelore Roemich and Lauren Fair. Paris: International Council of Museums - Committee for Conservation (ICOM-CC). ISBN 978-83-64419-80-5

Hannelore Roemich, Eman H. Zidan: “Long-term Preservation of the Collection at the Egyptian Museum – Pilot Project on Environmental Monitoring,” ARCE Bulletin 206 (2015), pp. 28-34

Hannelore Roemich and Kate van Lookeren Campagne: Recent Advances in Glass, Stained Glass, and Ceramics Conservation 2013, Spa Uitgevers, Zwolle, NL (2013) (361 pages)

Hannelore Roemich: Glass & Ceramics Conservation 2010. ICOM Committee for Conservation, in association with The Corning Museum of Glass, Corning, NY (2010) (240 pages)

Bellendorf P., Roemich H., Gerlach S., Mottner P., López E., Wittstadt K.: “Archaeological Glass: the Surface and Beyond”. In: Glass and Ceramics Conservation 2010 (Editor: H. Roemich), Interim Meeting of the ICOM-CC Working Group, October 3–6, 2010, Corning, New York, Preprints, ICOM Committee for Conservation, Corning Museum of Glass (2010), 137-144.

Roemich H. and Weintraub S.: “Teaching Preventive Conservation: Preparing Conservators for the Complex World of Interdisciplinary Decision Making”. Proceedings of the Final Meeting of COST Action D42, published by Trinity College Dublin, Ireland and COST, Brussels, Belgium (2010).

Mees F., Cornelis E., Jacobs P., Doménech Cárbo M. T., Römich H.: “Microfocus X-ray computed tomography analysis of corroded glass objects.” Engineering Geology 103 (2009) 93-99.

Carmona N., Nawroth K., Römich H.: “New sol-gel based consolidants for paint on stained glass windows”. Journal of Cultural Heritage 10 (2009) 403-409.

Roemich H., Zanini F., Wittstadt K., Mueller-Weinitschke C., Sodini N.: “Degradation phenomena on historic glass: non-destructive characterization by Synchrotron radiation.” Proceedings from ART2008, 9th international conference on non-destructive investigation and microanalysis for the diagnostics and conservation of cultural and environmental heritage, Jerusalem, Israel, 2008.

Römich, H.: “Glass and Ceramics.” In: Conservation Science - Heritage Materials, edited by E. May and M. Jones. Cambridge: The Royal Society of Chemistry Publishing UK, 2006.

Bacci, M., Cucci, C., Dupont, A.-L., Lavedrine, Loisel, L., Gerlach, S., Römich, H., B., Martin, G.“LightCheck: new disposable indicators for monitoring lighting conditions in museums.” In Proc. 14th Triennial Meeting of ICOM in The Hague, 569-573.2005.

Roemich, H.; Lopez, E.; Mees, F.; Jacobs, P.; Cornelis, E.; Van Dyck, D.; Domenech Carbo, T.: “Microfocus x-ray computed tomography (mCT) for archaeological glasses.” In Cultural Heritage Conservation and Environmental Impact Assessment by Non-Destructive Testing and Micro-Analysis, Taylor & Francis Group, 37-47.London, 2005.

Römich, H.; Mottner, P.; Hildenhagen, J.; Dickmann, K.; Hettinger, G.; Bornschein, F. “Comparison of Cleaning Methods for Stained Glass Windows.” LACONA V Proceedings, Lasers in the Conservation of Artworks, edited by K. Dickmann, C. Fotakis, J. Asmus, 157-161. Berlin: Springer-Verlag (2005).

Römich, H, Martin, G., Lavedrine, B., Bacci, M. “LightCheck - a new tool in preventive conservation.”V&A Conservation Journal, 47 (2004) 18-19.

Römich, H: “Evaluation of protective glazing systems. A Review.” E-preservation science 1 (2004): 1-8.

“Studies of Ancient Glass and Their Application to Nuclear-Waste Management.” MRS Bulletin 28, no. 7 (July 2003): 500-504.

Römich, H., Dickmann, K., Mottner, P., Hildenhagen, J., Müller, E.“Laser cleaning of stained glass windows - Final results of a research project.” Journal of Cultural Heritage 4 (2003): 112-117.

Römich, H., Gerlach, S., Mottner, P., Mees, F., Jacobs, P., van Dyck, D. and Domenech Carbó, T.“Results from burial experiments with simulated medieval glasses.” Proceedings of the MRS Fall Meeting, Symposium II, Boston, December 2002, 1-12.

Römich, H., Jägers, E., Torge, M., Müller, W. und Adam, K. “Cleaning: A Balancing Act.” In Restaurierung und Konservierung historischer Glasmalereien, edited by Arnold Wolff, 65-99.Mainz: P. von Zabern, 2000.Printed version in German, available electronically in English.

Jägers, E., Römich, H. und Mueller-Weinitschke, C. “Conservation: Materials and Methods.” In Restaurierung und Konservierung historischer Glasmalereien, edited by Arnold Wolff, 101-128.Mainz: P. von Zabern, 2000.Printed version in German, available electronically in English.

Oidtmann, S., Leissner, J. und Römich, H.“Protective Glazing.” In Restaurierung und Konservierung historischer Glasmalereien, edited by Arnold Wolff, 129-166.Mainz: P. von Zabern, 2000.Printed version in German, available electronically in English.

Römich, H., Leissner, J. and Böhm, T.“Monitoring of environmental effects with glass sensors.” In Quantification of Effects of Air Pollutants on Materials: proceeding of the UN/ECE workshop on quantification of effects of air pollutants on materials, Berlin, May 14-27, 1998, 165-171. Berlin: Umweltbundesamt, 1999.

“Historic Glass and its interaction with the environment” and “Laboratory experiments to simulate corrosion on stained glass windows.” In The conservation of Glass and Ceramics, edited by N. Tennent, 5-14 and 57-65.London: James & James, 1999.

Selected Honors

1987/1988 CNRS post-doctoral research grant, University of Montpellier, France
2003 Pan-European Grand Prix of Innovation
2004 ICCROM Fellowship, Rome

Elected positions in professional organizations

International Council of Museums – Committee for Conservation (ICOM-CC): Coordinator of the WG Glass and Ceramics (2011-2017), websiteOpen link in new window

Video Spotlight

Hanne Roemich and Brooklyn-based conservator Mary Clerkin Higgins discuss the science behind glass conservation in this Science FridayOpen link in new window video.