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CCAHA Hosts Photograph Conservators from Russia's State Hermitage Museum

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Three conservators from the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia are visiting the Conservation Center for Art & Historic Artifacts (CCAHA) for two weeks, from February 23 through March 6, to advance their photograph conservation knowledge and skills.

The conservators will attend on-site lecture and lab sessions. CCAHA staff will conduct a variety of training seminars aimed at materials education and technique development.  These discussions will be augmented by hands-on treatment of examples from CCAHA's and others' study photograph collections.  Senior Photograph Conservator Barbara Lemmen, who has helped develop the training program at CCAHA, and several other CCAHA staff members will oversee the treatment projects.

Their visit is part of an initiative funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and managed by the Foundation of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works.  The project, which began in 2010, establishes a photograph conservation department at the Hermitage and provides educational and research opportunities to department staff. “The Foundation of the American Institute for Conservation is very proud of the achievements of the Hermitage Photograph Conservation Initiative. The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation-funded program has created a model for establishing a photograph conservation laboratory, from training to lab design and equipment. The initiative has succeeded due to partnerships with leading conservation laboratories such as CCAHA, which has shared its expertise so generously with our colleagues from the State Hermitage Museum,” says Eric Pourchot, Institutional Advancement Director of the Foundation of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works.

Founded in 1764 by Empress Catherine the Great, the Hermitage currently holds over 472,000 photographs, many of them rare and culturally significant.  Thousands of photographs were destroyed after the 1917 Russian Revolution, and there is now great interest in those that remain, kept safe in the Hermitage through several wars.  Holdings include elaborate 19th-century photo albums and family pictures belonging to Czars Alexander III and Nicholas II and gift albums to the royal family from around the world. 

CCAHA is a nonprofit conservation facility specializing in the treatment of works on paper, photographs, and books through conservation and state-of-the-art digital imaging services. Founded in 1977, CCAHA serves nonprofit cultural institutions, private individuals, and other collecting organizations. CCAHA’s preservation services staff present educational programs, conduct preservation assessments, and develop emergency preparedness plans. CCAHA also offers fellowships, fundraising support, and disaster assistance.

View and download the press release as a PDF.