Current Events/Workshops


June 1 – 3, 2021

Materials Characterization for Objects of Art and Archaeology Workshop

Instructor: Nancy Odegaard
Hosted at the Georgia Archives in Morrow, GA

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 which 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 3 days of hands-on lab practice will 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 Art and Archaeology (2005) and will be included as part of the registration fee.

The Lab 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

This workshop will be limited to 12 participants.

Registration links and further details will be posted soon

Questions? Please contact: