Intl Studies & Global Outreach Collaborative
Title: Spirituality and Travel Writing: Delving into the Camino de Santiago
The Shiley School of Engineering, College of Arts and Sciences and Collaborative for International Studies and Global Outreach
Title:The Art, Ethics and Science of Art Conservation
Speaker: Dr. Bill Wei
Date: October 23, 2013
Time: 4:15 – 5:15
Place: BC 314
Dr. Wei is a senior conservation scientist in the Research Department of the Cultural Heritage Agency of The Netherlands (RCE-Rijksdienst voor het Cultureel Erfgoed). He conducts research into the effects of cleaning and treatments of objects on their appearance, including:
- The use of non-contact roughness measurements to study surface changes, as well as for the identification of objects using “fingerprints”
- The effect of aging and cleaning on the surface and appearance of face-mounted photographs, daguerreotypes, paints, and outdoor (metal) sculpture
- Effect of dust on the condition and perception of objects.
- The effect of vibrations and mechanical stresses on the condition of fragile works of art and cultural heritage.
A major area of interest is how conservation decisions are influenced by the differing perception of “moveable cultural heritage” objects by art historians, conservation scientists, conservators, curators, directors, and other collections staff. This will be expanded into the area of “immovable cultural heritage”, as part of his new position as program manager for the RCE program “Sustainable Heritage”. The objective of this program is to help the cultural heritage field in The Netherlands with questions related to how the application of new energy saving regulations and technology affect historic monuments and landscapes.
At some point, conservation decisions must be made. While the ethical debate can never be resolved – there is, in principle, no such thing as the “correct” decision for the treatment of an object – the various parties to the discussion can be brought closer together through better mutual understanding of the “objective” and “subjective” sides of the field. This talk will present examples of research conducted at the Cultural Heritage Agency of The Netherlands and will discuss the interplay between conservation science, art history and conservation ethics in restoring works of art.
Director, Center for Women's Intercultural Leadership
St. Mary's College, Notre Dame, Indiana
Director of Academic Programs
Fundacion Jose Ortega y Gasset-Gregorio Maranon, Madrid and Toledo, Spain