Iraqi Institute

Iraqi students monitor light levels to track damage to museum artifacts at the Iraqi Institute for the Conservation of Antiquities and Heritage. (credit: Jessica Johnson)

Melissa is working with a group of conservation graduate fellows at Winterthur to come up with visual teaching didactics for the Iraqi Institute for the Conservation of Antiques and Heritage (IICAH). The IICAH was created as a way to assist in the preservation of cultural heritage in Iraq through education in conservation by inviting professionals from around the world to share their expertise.

The group of graduate fellows will be making two sets of didactics:

  • One that provides cost effective alternatives to packing and storage materials (e.g. volara, ethafoam). This will be done with sample kits and iconographic handouts to minimize any needs for translation.
  • One that focuses on the preventive care of historical materials, specifically unfired clay (e.g. cuneiform tablets and mud-bricks).

The project was initiated by and is being lead by her classmates, Natalya Swanson and Joanna Hurd under the guidance of Jessica Johnson (Head of Conservation at the Smithsonian Museum Conservation Institute), Debra Hess Norris (Chair and Professor of Photograph Conservation at the University of Delaware, Unidel Henry Francis du Pont Chair, Director of the Winterthur/University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation), and Terry Drayman-Weisser (former Director of Conservation at the Walters Art Museum). Funding for the project is provided by the U.S. State Department.