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). As part of her graduate fellowship, she spent a portion of my time at the National Museum of Asian Art (The Freer Gallery of Art and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery) (FS) within the Department of Conservation and Scientific Research. FS is overseen by the Under Secretary for Museums and Culture who in turn reports to the Deputy Secretary and the Secretary (see the organizational structure here).
The Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, the Smithsonian’s national museum of Asian art, are located on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Committed to preserving, exhibiting and interpreting exemplary works of art, the Freer and Sackler address broad questions about culture, identity and the contemporary world. Together, the Freer and Sackler care for exceptional collections of Asian art, with more than 40,000 objects dating from the Neolithic period to today and originating from the ancient Near East to China, Japan, Korea, South and Southeast Asia, and the Islamic world. Nearly a century old, the Freer Gallery of Art also holds a significant group of American works of art largely dating to the late 19th century. It houses the world’s largest collection of diverse works by James McNeill Whistler, including the famed Peacock Room.National Museum of Asian Art website
Melissa had the great benefit of working closely with Exhibition Conservator, Jenifer (Jen) Bosworth. Jen has many years of experience working in exhibitions and is often the primary advocate for preventive conservation in important exhibition planning and management committee meetings. She plays a crucial role in the preservation of the museum’s collections and works closely with preparators, designers, security, and facilities.