The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston will present three symposia this season, each focusing on advances in conservation technology and treatments used to restore and preserve works of art.
From 1-6 p.m. Oct. 18, the museum will present “X-Ray Flourescence : What is it? And What is it Doing in an Art Museum?”
With the new X-Ray Fluorescence analyzer, conservators can probe below the surface of a photograph to identify elements that comprise the supporting layers and final image materials. This nondestructive “chemical fingerprinting” allows them to determine the best treatment process. Many of the museum’s vintage prints from the late-19th and early 20th centuries whose compositions previously could not be completely identified are now undergoing systematic treatment to restore them for the future.
This symposium explores the initial development of the XRF for the space shuttle, its subsequent adaptation for industrial and photographic use, the science of photo conservation, and the implications of XRF for the continuing evolution of the museum’s photography collection.
Presenters are Bruce Kaiser, chief scientist and art conservation expert, Bruker AXS, Inc., in Salt Lake City; Ralph Wiegandt, assistant director for conservation education, George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film; Dr. Aniko Bezur, Andrew W. Mellon Research Scientist, MFAH; Toshiaki Koseki, The Carol Crow Conservator of Photography, MFAH; and Anne Wilkes Tucker, the Gus and Lyndall Wortham Curator of Photography, MFAH.
From 6:30-8:30 p.m. Jan. 19, the museum will present “Art Unfolded – Japan’s Gift of Conservation,” and from 1-6 p.m. Feb. 21, the museum will host “A Blue More Precious than Gold.”
All three will take place in the Brown Auditorium Theater, Law Building, 1001 Bissonnet St., and are free with general museum admission.