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  • HOME | Art Bio Matters

    Welcome to ABM A Cross-Disciplinary Hub for Biological Materials Research in Cultural Heritage About ABM Education Community Meetings Resources Members Opportunities MISSION STATEMENT ART BIO MATTERS (ABM) provides a stimulating forum in which to explore current and new directions in the study of biological materials found in cultural heritage collections. Communication and partnerships are facilitated by a robust website, dedicated Slack channel, and interactive Art Bio Matters Meetings. While the core disciplines of ABM are science, curatorial/cultural history, and conservation, ABM welcomes other stakeholders involved in cultural heritage studies. A key aspect of the forum is the opportunity to discuss research at any stage of completion among a balanced community of experts in a format designed to promote collegial dialogue and debate. Read more about ABM ONSITE EVENT ABM 2023 ABM 2023 was an in-person meeting in NYC, continuing as a platform for open dialogue and debate between specialists interested in biological materials investigations of cultural heritage. Meetings EXPLORE ABM Projects Discover projects from the ABM community Explore Opportunities Explore opportunities for education, professional development, employment, funding, and more. Show more Events Stay connected to the most recent events with bimonthly ABM virtual presentations by ABM Members and other events of interest. Show more Join us and become a part of the ABM c ommunity

  • Christine Sciacca

    Christine Sciacca Associate Curator of European Art, 300-1400 CE The Walters Art Museum Previous Next Baltimore, MD, USA MEMBER INFORMATION Steering Committee 2018 Dr. Christine Sciacca received her Ph.D. in Art History from Columbia University. Her book publications include, Florence at the Dawn of the Renaissance: Painting and Illumination, 1300-1350, Building the Medieval World, and Illuminating Women in the Medieval World. Her current exhibition project at the Walters Art Museum focuses on Ethiopian art. ​ ​ All members

  • Clara Granzotto

    Clara Granzotto Associate Conservation Scientist Scientific Research, Department of Conservation and Science The Art Institute of Chicago Previous Next Chicago, IL, USA MEMBER INFORMATION Participant 2018, Team Presenter 2021, 2023 Clara Granzotto is associate conservation scientist in the Conservation and Science department at the Art Institute of Chicago. She received her Ph.D. in chemical sciences from the University of Venice, Italy, and the University of Lille, France. Clara conducted post-doctoral research at the Center for Scientific Studies in the Arts at Northwestern University in Evanston (IL), at the scientific department of The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark. She specializes in the analysis of traditional binding media in works of art by mass spectrometry, with a focus on polysaccharides and proteins, to understand artists’ technique, artworks appearance and condition. Accretion, accumulation, encrustation? Reconciling scientific and curatorial perspectives when reporting on surface materials on African sculptures Read Abstract Big Data from Tiny Samples: unveiling the use of organic materials in the Visconti-Sforza Read Abstract All members

  • Ahmed Tarek

    Ahmed Tarek Head of Human remains Laboratory Conservation Specialist The Grand Egyptian Museum Previous Next Giza District, Giza Governorate, Egypt MEMBER INFORMATION Participant 2021 Ahmed Tarek has Ph.D. & M.S. from Conservation Department, Cairo University. He is Head of the Human Remains Laboratory & Conservation Specialist of Organic Materials at the Grand Egyptian Museum Conservation Center (GEM CC). He is interested in materials & conservation science; manufacturing techniques of archaeological objects; analysis of deterioration and documentation. Currently, he has started a postdoctoral (Andrew W. Mellon Conservation Fellowship, Objects Conservation) from The Metropolitan Museum of Art. ​ ​ All members

  • Isabel Schneider

    Isabel Schneider Project Conservator Brooklyn Museum Previous Next New York, NY, USA MEMBER INFORMATION Poster Presenter 2023, Graduate student assistant 2023 Isabel Schneider is a recent graduate of the UCLA/ Getty Conservation of Cultural Heritage MA program who recently accepted a project conservator position at the Brooklyn Museum. Previously, she has held conservation internships with the Brooklyn Museum, Arizona State Museum, Michael C. Carlos Museum, Florissant National Monument, and the Israel Antiquities Authority. She has participated in archaeological excavations in Greece and Israel. Previously, she has worked as an artist, teacher, curator, and museum development officer. “Like” for Provenance Research and Conservation Treatment Read Abstract ​ All members

  • Manu Frederickx

    Manu Frederickx Associate Conservator Metropolitan Museum of Art Previous Next New York, NY, USA MEMBER INFORMATION Participant 2021 Manu Frederickx is an Associate Conservator at The Met’s Objects Conservation Department, where he is responsible for the conservation and technical study of musical instruments. Previously he was a lecturer and head of the Musical Instrument Making program at University College Ghent and worked as a conservator at the Musical Instrument Museum in Brussels. He is currently conducting a PhD study at Ghent University, focusing on the construction of virginals in 16th- and 17th-century Antwerp. ​ ​ All members

  • Alister Sutherland

    Alister Sutherland Postdoctoral Researcher The GLOBE Institute University of Copenhagen Previous Next Copenhagen, Denmark MEMBER INFORMATION Team Presenter 2021 Cultural Heritage Initiatives (2014-2019), Stefan Simon prioritized the advancement of sustainable conservation strategies triggered by global climate change and the green museum debate, and questions of conservation documentation, authenticity and access in the digital age. Between 2001 and 2005 he led the Building Materials Section at the Getty Conservation Institute, Los Angeles. Simon is a corresponding member of the German Archaeological Institute, and has been recognized with Honorary Professorships at X ́ian Jiaotong University, China, and the Technical University Berlin. He has co-authored and published more than 150 articles on the preservation of cultural heritage. ArcHives: Beeswax as a Biomolecular Archive (an exploratory investigation) ​ All members

  • Christopher Mason

    Christopher Mason Professor of Genomics, Physiology, and Biophysics Weill Cornell Medicine Director of the WorldQuant Initiative for Quantitative Prediction Previous Next New York, NY, USA MEMBER INFORMATION Team Presenter 2021, Steering Committee 2021 The Mason laboratory develops and deploys new biochemical and computational methods in functional genomics to elucidate the genetic basis of human disease and physiology. We create and deploy novel techniques in genomics and algorithms for: tumor evolution, genome evolution, DNA and RNA modifications, and genome/epigenome engineering. Illuminating Genetic Mysteries of the Dead Sea Scrolls Read Abstract ​ All members

  • Events

    EVENTS Expand you network and have some fun! Back to Categories Silk and Science: Collaborative research into a knitted waistcoat associated with Charles I Jane Malcolm-Davies (Project Leader, Knitting in Early Modern Europe), Beatrice Behlen (Senior Curator, Fashion and Decorative Arts, Museum of London), and Paula Nabais (Junior Researcher at LAQV-REQUIMTE Research unit) May 18th, 2023 11AM EDT/3PM GMT Since 1924, the Museum of London has had an undergarment, knitted of fine silk, said to have been worn by King Charles I at his execution in 1649. Several attempts have been made to analyse stains on the front of what would then have been called a waistcoat, and to fill gaps in its provenance. A new research project has brought together a curator, a knitting historian, a conservator, scientists, and expert craftspeople, including knitters. Different methods have been used to broaden knowledge of this rare garment: detailed object examination and description, comparison with other extant garments, radiocarbon dating, various dye analysis techniques, and silk sample knitting. In this talk, the challenges and advantages of this work will be discussed: from discoveries that can be made by looking at objects together to the difficulties of grappling with science for those unfamiliar with laboratory techniques. Click "Explore" below to learn more about the project! Explore Compound Specific Radiocarbon (14C) Dating of Our Colorful Past: from Theory to Practice Laura Hendriks, Branco Weiss Fellow at the School of Engineering and Architecture of Fribourg (HEIA-FR), Switzerland April 20th, 2023 11AM EDT/3PM GMT Join us for a 20-minute presentation by ABM member Laura Hendriks, Branco Weiss Fellow at the School of Engineering and Architecture of Fribourg (HEIA-FR), Switzerland. Laura’s presentation will be followed by a discussion/Q&A with current ABM members. For more information, click “Explore” below to view her abstract. Explore “Non-invasive” techniques: X-ray tomography of Congolese Wooden objects Sofie Dierickx, Research Assistant at Royal Museum for Central Africa March 16th, 2023 11AM EST/3PM GMT In an effort to research the wealth of tropical wood species present in the Congolese art collection, the conservation team of the Royal Museum for Central Africa in Belgium set up the TOCOWO project (Tomography of Congolese Wooden Objects). In collaboration with the University of Ghent, X-ray micro-computer tomography could be used on the objects to obtain wood identifications non-destructively. Over the past two years, over a hundred objects have been scanned at very high resolutions. These scans provide an unprecedented insight into the objects in our care, helping us better understand their material and history. On the other hand, this unrestricted insight into every inch of the objects demands we ask ourselves whether possible privileged or sacred knowledge, kept hidden by the objects all these years, is really ours to uncover. In this short talk, both the possibilities and challenges of scanning African heritage objects will be illustrated by the uniquely large dataset of their 3D renderings. Explore Characterization of an unusual coating on Egyptian funerary portraits Dan Kirby, Conservation Scientist, MFA, Boston and Private Practice January 19th, 2023 11AM EST/4PM GMT An unusual, never before seen coating on 1st – 3rd CE Romano-Egyptian funerary portraits has been characterized by Peptide Mass Fingerprinting and Liquid Chromatography-Tandem Mass Spectrometry, as well as other techniques. Radiocarbon dating of the coating from two of the portraits indicated that the coating is approximately 2,000 years old--it is not a modern conservation intervention! Most interesting, however, is not discovering what the coating is, but trying to discover why it is there. This talk will briefly introduce the materials and practices of funerary portraits, summarize the examination and analytical characterization of this unusual coating, and offer speculation as to its original purpose. Explore Archaeological Perspectives on Worked Animal Materials in the Greek World Adam DiBattista, PhD, Archeology Hirsch Fellow at American School of Classical Studies, Athens, Greece December 17th, 2022 11AM EST/4PM GMT Join us for a 20-minute presentation by ABM member Adam DiBattista, Hirsch Fellow at American School of Classical Studies. Adam is an archaeologist researching the creation and use of objects made from animal materials (e.g., bone, antler, ivory) in the Iron Age Mediterranean. His presentation will be followed by a discussion/Q&A with current ABM members. A recording of this talk is available exclusively for ABM members, which can be accessed via Slack. Explore Validating a Novel Lipid Extraction Method for Historic Parchments Sam Johns, Doctoral Student at University of Bristol November 17th, 2022 11AM EST/4PM GMT Join us for a 20-minute presentation by ABM member Sam Johns, Doctoral Student at University of Bristol. Sam’s presentation will be followed by a discussion/Q&A with current ABM members. For more information, click “Explore” below to view his abstract. Explore Minimally invasive analysis, what can it tell us? The application of proteomics to ivory Catherine Gilbert, Doctoral Student at Université de Bordeaux October 20th, 2022 11AM EST/3PM GMT Join us for a 20-minute presentation by ABM member Catherine Gilbert, Doctoral Student at Université de Bordeaux. Catherine’s presentation will be followed by a discussion/Q&A with current ABM members. For more information, click “Explore” below to view her abstract. Explore

  • Vanessa Jones

    Vanessa Jones Assistant curator of dress and textiles Leeds Museums and Galleries Previous Next ​ MEMBER INFORMATION Team Presenter 2023 Vanessa Jones is a curator and lecturer of dress and textile histories and theories. She has worked within the heritage sector for a decade and has taught in higher education for the last two years. She is an expert in curatorial practice around diversifying narratives of eighteenth-century dress, with broader specialisms including sustainable practices of dress consumption and production, global networks of trade, decolonisation and women’s history. Victorian Parasols: Scientists, Artisans, Historians and Curators in Conversation Co-authored with Cordula van Wyhe. Read Abstract ​ All members

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