Current Events/Workshops

Materials Characterization Tests for Objects of Art and Archaeology Workshop

June 1 – 3, 2021

Hosted at the Georgia Archives in Morrow, GA
Instructor: Nancy Odegaard
Course Cost: $690

Conservators and preservationists of every specialty are often in need of methods to identify the substances that make up the artworks, artifacts, and associated contextual materials that they are called upon to examine, preserve and treat. Traditional methods such as experienced observation allow gaps in knowledge and a lack of scientific basis to undermine the purpose of examination: to gain a better understanding of the object and its needs. More involved scientific testing, on the other hand, too often requires invasive removal of material from the object and physical destruction of the samples. Such testing also may require expensive laboratory equipment and consultation with experienced scientists who may not be available.

The workshop will consist of 3 days of lab practice to provide experience and knowledge for a “tool kit” of practical tests for materials characterization, useful for research and examination of artifacts, historic structures, and monuments. The text is Materials Characterization Tests for Objects of Art and Archaeology (2005) and a copy will be provided for each participant to keep as part of the course. Please note that you will still be provided a copy of the text even if you already have one.

The workshop takes a hands-on approach and time will be spent by the participants preparing and executing characterization tests in a lab setting. Curriculum will include:

  • micro-sampling techniques such as electrolysis of minute amounts of artifact material onto filter paper
  • testing organic artifact materials such as proteins, cellulosics, and plastics
  • testing inorganic artifact materials such as metals and minerals
  • testing of contextual materials such as surface deposits, stains, and soils
  • background in the chemical processes and reaction stages used in each test
  • interpretation of test results

By the end of the course each participant will have met the following learning objectives: 

  • experience in setting up and performing micro-chemical tests (@20 tests)
  • understanding of the chemical processes and reaction stages of each test
  • experience in various micro-sampling techniques
  • understanding and experience with interpretation of micro-chemical test results
  • experience in using the text instructions from Materials Characterization Tests for Art and Archaeology.

The cost of registration includes a copy of Materials Characterization Tests for Objects of Art and Archaeology and lunches for all three days. If you have any dietary restrictions please indicate them on the registration form and we will do our best to accommodate you.


The Georgia Archives is located at 5800 Jonesboro Rd, Morrow, GA 30260. If you are inputting the address into GPS, please use 5780 Jonesboro Rd, Morrow, GA 30260 to be directed to the front parking lot closest to the entrance.

For more information about how to get to the Georgia Archives, please view their visitor’s page at

A block of rooms is reserved at the Drury Inn located at 6520 S Lee St, Morrow, GA 30260. It is approximately 1.5 mi or about a 5-minute drive from the archive. Please book by Friday May 7th, 2021 to receive a discounted rate.

Reservations can be made by reserving online, go to, then enter Group number of 2436557. Reservations may also be made by calling 1-800-325-0720 and refer to the Group number of 2436557.

You can also click here, SERCA Hotel Block, to be brought directly to the hotel’s site with the code already applied.

Concerned about Covid-19?

The Georgia Archives will continue the following additional health and safety measures to protect the workshop attendees and staff: 

  • Reducing the maximum workshop capacity to 12 people plus 1 archive staff member to ensure a 6-foot distance between individual work areas and that protocols are followed. 
  • Increasing cleaning and disinfection of all the workshop spaces and surfaces. 
  • Limiting sharing of work areas to an absolute minimum and cleaning the surfaces between use. 
  • Requesting attendees to bring and require that they wear face masks for the duration of the workshop. If you do not bring a mask, one will be given to you.
  • Requiring all workshop staff and assistants to follow CDC hygiene and social distancing guidelines
  • Including video projection for lab demonstrations to prevent crowded spaces.  
  • Prohibiting non-workshop persons access to the workshop areas. 
  • As food and drinks aren’t allowed in the lab, lunches and breaks will be in a separate classroom where social distancing can be maintained.
  • Require all attendees to complete a Covid-19 screening form.

We kindly request that you please do not attend the workshop if you begin to exhibit the following symptoms:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

If you believe you have been exposed to Covid-19 within 48hrs of the start of the workshop and need to cancel your registration, please contact Brittany Dinneen, SERCA Treasurer, at to let her know.