This post is a follow-up to the 2017 Annual Symposium by Alexandra Wysopal, a first-time attendee and MRCG Emerging Professionals Scholarship recipient. Welcome to the fold, and many happy returns, Alexandra!
This past October, I had the fantastic opportunity to attend the Midwest Regional Conservation Guild’s annual symposium held in Cincinnati, Ohio. As a first time attendee and scholarship recipient, I was delighted to find a welcoming community happy to support those entering the field of art conservation. The conference was filled with interesting lectures, conservation lab tours, and social events. Beginning with Friday night’s welcoming reception at the Cincinnati Observatory, the weekend highlighted the great work being done in conservation as well as the history of Cincinnati.
Located on top of Mt. Lookout, the Cincinnati Observatory has a long connection both to the study of astronomy in the United States and the local community. The Observatory’s first telescope was purchased in 1842, with a second acquired in 1904 following the center’s move to Mt. Adams in 1873. Today, both telescopes have been restored, offering visitors the chance to experience an entirely operable, historic observatory. Apart from learning about the mechanisms and methods behind these large devices, it was interesting to see the results of such a large restoration project. The tour guide demonstrated how the telescopes and sliding roof would have originally operated, and are still being used for educational purposes today. In addition to exploring a historic landmark, the welcoming reception also allowed me to meet and talk with other emerging and established professionals.
As a pre-program student looking to attend graduate school in the U.S. for art conservation, I appreciated the opportunity to connect with established professionals, seek information, and further my understanding of the field. The guidance that was offered in terms of resources for pre-program internships and advice for preparing graduate school applications has been invaluable, especially as program deadline’s approach. Besides these recommendations, I also got to witness the passion and curiosity that drives every conservator’s work. Being able to see examples of conservation projects, scientific research, and the development of techniques others have accomplished was a great reminder as to what I am working towards. For these reasons and many more, I am grateful to MRCG. Their encouragement and generosity, which allowed me to attend their 2017 conference, are greatly appreciated and I look forward to participating in more events in the future.