For Melissa’s final year at the Winterthur/University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation, she decided to spend 11 months at the Smithsonian Institution (SI). Her primary location for this placement was at the Museum Conservation Institute (MCI) at the Museum Support Center (MSC) in Suitland , Maryland (see figure 1). MCI is a Smithsonian unit that specializes in research, technical analysis, and conservation to support Smithsonian’s collections. This work is carried out independently and through collaborations both internal and external to the Smithsonian. MCI reports to the Under Secretary for Science and Research who in turn reports to the Deputy Secretary and the Secretary (click here to see the organizational chart).
The staff is largely composed of scientists and conservators, and MCI consistently hosts interns and fellows to promote cultural heritage research. Melissa’s primary supervisor for this work is Rebecca (Becky) Kaczkowski, the preventive conservator at MCI. Becky has many years of experience working for the Smithsonian, with a majority of her time within NMNH under the guidance of Cathy Hawks. She received her M.S. in Objects Conservation from WUDPAC, and prior to that, her M.A. in Museum Studies with a concentration in collections management and preventive conservation from The George Washington University.
Melissa’s major projects for the 2019-2020 academic appointment were designed to address both practical preventive research strategies and outreach skills that befit a practicing preventive conservator. Many of these projects reflect the type of work her supervisor and preventive conservator, Becky Kaczkowski, completes in her role at MCI. Here is a list of Melissa’s major projects working within this unit (click on the buttons below to learn more about each project):