Modern & Contemporary Materials Conference

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Meant to Last? Preserving the Modern & Contemporary

  • Presented by the Conservation Center for Art & Historic Artifacts
  • Funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities
  • Hosted and co-sponsored by The College of Physicians of Philadelphia

Save The Date

October 27 – 28, 2014

8:30 – 9:00am  Registration & Refreshments

9:00 – 5:00pm    Program

Interested in receiving more information more about Meant to LastComplete this form and we'll send you an update when registration opens!

About the Program:

The twentieth and twenty-first centuries introduced a bewildering array of new materials, used to design a broad range of objects now collected in museums, libraries, and archives.   Many artifacts were designed to last the centuries, while others that were once innovative show signs of deterioration.  Colors change and fade, structures lose their integrity in unanticipated ways, or material components become obsolete.  Cultural institutions must understand the long-term preservation needs of these items in order to determine appropriate priorities for conservation, storage, exhibition, documentation, and digitization.  This two day conference will explore the guiding principles of collecting and caring for artifacts of key historic importance from the recent past. Participants will attend general sessions in the morning and then have the option to select from concurrent sessions in the afternoon.

This program is intended for collections care staff responsible for documenting, curating, conserving, and archiving modern and contemporary materials. 

Topics to be covered include:

  • Thinking about Collecting
  • Working with Living Artists: The Artist/Conservator Relationship
  • Collecting Materials with Inherent Vice
  • Interpreting Collections from the Recent Past
  • Legal and Copyright Issues
  • Collecting the Controversial
  • Where Do We Go From Here?

Speakers to date include:

Barbara Fahs Charles, Staples & Charles, Ltd.

Anna Dhody, Curator, Mütter Museum 

Jon-Paul C. Dyson, PhD, DirectorInternational Center for the History of Electronic Games, The Strong National Museum of Play

Charles Hardy, Professor of History, West Chester University

William Davies King, author, Collections of Nothing, University of California, Santa Barbara

Amber Morgan, Collections Manager, The Andy Warhol Museum

Linda Norris, author, The Uncatalogued Museum, Norris Museum Consulting

Sarah Pharaon, Program Director for North America, International Coalition of Sites of Conscience

Gwynne Ryan, Sculpture Conservator, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

Samantha Sheesley, Paper Conservator, Conservation Center for Art & Historic Artifacts

Gregory Dale Smith PhD, Otto N. Frenzel III Senior Conservation Scientist, Indianapolis Museum of Art

Interested in receiving more information more about Meant to LastComplete this form and we'll send you an update when registration opens!

Major funding for this program was generously provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities, with additional funding from The Pew Charitable Trusts, the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, The Philadelphia Cultural Fund, and the Independence Foundation

Questions?  Call Preservation Services at 215-545-0613 or email us at