In May 2018, Melissa and her classmates traveled to Central High School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to do an assessment of the school’s impressive art collection. Central High is a magnet school with a devoted group of alumnae who have generously donated artwork in hopes of offering teaching opportunities along with visually improving the school’s surroundings. The artwork includes works from Africa and Oceania, and prints and paintings from local modern and contemporary artists.
Melissa and her classmates examined the environmental conditions of the artwork in the school under the guidance of Dr. Joelle Wickens and Michael C. Henry. The work included creating diagrams of the rooms, taking light and humidity readings, watching for clues of any pest damage, examining the risks of physical forces on the objects, learning about the building envelope, and interviewing various stakeholders at the school.
The students recognized that ideal conditions for art materials were not attainable nor sustainable for the space. An assessment from the students with some short and long term goals was compiled to send to the school. Melissa will be in contact with the school during her second year of study. She has some ideas to involve the high school students in the preventive plan for the school through training on housekeeping and integrated pest management.