Scientific Analysis and Materials Research in the Conservation of Photographs
Dr. Christopher Maines, Conservation Scientist, Scientific Research
Department National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.
November 30, 2005
About the Lecture:
Scientific analysis of photographs yields information about the processes used to produce them and gives insight into the mechanisms of degradation that can endanger their survivability. Recent studies of historic coating techniques have added to the understanding of how early photographs were created and have important implications about how these objects should be conserved. Examples of analyses performed on photographs in the collection of the National Gallery of Art, the importance of recreation of historic processes, as well as the forthcoming book Coatings on Photographs: Materials, Techniques, and Conservation will be discussed.
About the Speaker:
Dr. Christopher Maines, conservation scientist in the Scientific Research Department of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., earned a PhD in physical chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley, and then worked as a Mellon Fellow at the National Gallery of Art on the physical and chemical stability of synthetic inpainting media. He then moved to the Smithsonian Institution’s Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery where his research focused on the analysis of traditional Asian binding media. In 1997, he returned to the National Gallery of Art to focus his research on the stability and working properties of synthetic binding media and on developing methods for testing the suitability of exhibition and storage materials. The analytical techniques used in his research include pyrolysis – gas chromatography – mass spectrometry, solid phase microextraction, gel permeation chromatography, differential scanning calorimetry, and rheometry.