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Art Bio Matters is a rapidly growing conclave of scientists, curators/cultural historians, and conservators who bring to the community different research methods, modes of seeing, and desired outcomes in the investigation of biological materials in cultural heritage collections. Your perspective is valued, regardless of whether your goals are better preservation, analysis,

or interpretation. While the core disciplines of ABM are science, curatorial/cultural history, and conservation, ABM welcomes

all stakeholders in cultural heritage studies. 


Art Bio Matters proactively engages and supports a community of scientists, curators/cultural historians, and conservators through a dedicated website, Slack workspace, and biannual meetings. At, you have free access to educational resources, opportunities, descriptions of advanced scientific approaches (e.g., DNA, mass spectrometry, and antibody-based techniques), open-ended research questions, emerging ethical issues, and more. You are invited to join, explore, learn, and contribute your expertise.

Overlooked Organics in Decorative Arts: Cataloging Skin-Based, Skeletal, and Hard Keratinous Animal Tissues
About ABM


We believe that identifying and understanding biological materials in collections is best achieved through active education and collaboration.

To further this mission, ABM’s foundational principles are: 

Inclusive participation of specialists from all three disciplines – science, conservation, and curatorship/cultural history.​​





Candid evaluation of the logistical and aspirational aspects of past projects to prioritize vital areas of study and better allocate resources.

Curiosity, respect, and acknowledgement for the contribution of all disciplines to cultural

heritage studies.

Willingness to openly share and debate the real value to non-scientists of the data produced by scientific analysis.


Thanks to funding provided by the Richard Lounsbery Foundation, ABM organized the first meeting of its kind to purposefully bring together a balanced group of science, conservation, and curatorial/cultural history representatives for open discussion and debate about the contributions of advanced DNA, proteomic, and antibody‐based techniques to the study of biological materials found in cultural heritage collections. This innovative, by-invitation-only meeting, which brought together 40 international specialists was co-hosted by the Metropolitan Museum of Art and New York University. ​

The ABM 2018 meeting was inaugurated by a public plenary session, Biological Material Matters in Works of Art, presented by Dr. Barbara Berrie, Head of

Scientific Research, National Gallery of Art, Washington. Eight speakers were selected by a nine-person ABM 2018 Steering Committee to address pre-determined topics, including instrumentation, sampling techniques, and relevance to the information desired by conservators, historians, and curators. ABM 2018 resulted in the emergence of a cohesive and enthusiastic community, as well as the original website. It also accentuated the essential role of collaborative deliberations to maximize efforts to study, interpret, present, and preserve material cultural heritage. Advancements since 2018 have only reinforced the need for communication and continued discourse among all stakeholders.

Why join the Art Bio Matters community?

Members of the ABM community enjoy many benefits, regardless of their area of interest. Our website and Slack workspace have something for everyone:

Access ABM 2018, 2021, and 2023 conference recordings and background materials.

Connect with colleagues, discuss research questions, and network in the ABM Slack community. Visit our Join the Community tab for more information.

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ABM has biannual conferences sharing ongoing research through a dynamic forum of exchange. Visit the ABM Meetings tab for more information.

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Build the ABM website

We need you to develop new content for the ABM website. Please email or message in Slack if you are interested to do any of the following:

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Provide a link to your publications, projects, or Opportunities to share with potential partners.

Present an update on current projects through ABM's webinar lecture series.

Provide a link to a case study or video that applies to our Materials, Instrumentation, Ethics, and Sampling pages.

Join and Help Build Art Bio Matters!

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