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Art conservation in an unexpected place

Guest post from Celia Arnaud, a senior editor with C&EN

Today and tomorrow, I’m in Somerset, N.J., home of the Garden State Exhibition Center and the Eastern Analytical Symposium. Not a place that you’d expect to read about on a blog about conservation science. What people might not realize is that EAS hosts New York Conservation Foundation’s Conservation
Science Annual, a symposium–as the name might suggest–on the science of art and cultural heritage conservation. If the conference that Sarah attended in Lisbon in September is the largest art conservation conference, then this is surely one of the smallest.

The symposium has been a fixture of the EAS conference program since 1994, but I attended my first one in 2006, when I got the chance to report one of my favorite stories, a look at how electrochemical and spectroscopic methods are being used to save shipwrecks. In my years of attending the symposium, I’ve found that no matter how interesting the talks the audience tends to be me, the speakers, and maybe a handful of other folks.

This year’s lineup is a bit scattershot, with everything grouped together under the general heading of “Analysis for Cultural Heritage.” Rather
than try to shoehorn very different talks into one post, I’m going to share in separate posts over the next few weeks the ones that pique my interest.

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