On May 17 and 18, 2009, over 230 attendees from twenty-three countries gathered at the Getty Center for the symposium "Facing the Challenges of Panel Paintings Conservation: Trends, Treatments, and Training."

The symposium was the public launch of the multiyear Panel Paintings Initiative, a collaboration of the Getty Conservation Institute, the Getty Foundation, and the J. Paul Getty Museum. The initiative aims to increase specialized training opportunities in the structural conservation of panel paintings, as well as to provide greater access to information and teaching resources—creating these resources, when necessary—for the field of conservation

During this two-day event, presentations by conservators, curators, scientists, and specialists in the structural treatment of panel paintings highlighted recent developments in the conservation of panel paintings as well as the pressing need for more training opportunities for panel conservators. In addition, the symposium featured several periods for discussion, which yielded many insightful contributions from both speakers and attendees.

As the initiative moves forward to address the training needs of this rich and complex field, it will be informed by the results of a needs assessment survey expected to be completed by the end of 2009 and guided by an expert advisory committee, as well as by input from practitioners and professionals in the field. Formal residencies at a number of leading museums and conservation studios, and short courses in specialized subjects for both panel paintings conservators and conservators from related disciplines will also be developed. In addition, work is under way to produce educational resources for the field, beginning with an online, searchable bibliography.

Video footage from the symposium is available on the Conference Videos page of the Videos and Audio section of the GCI Web site. Proceedings of the conference will be published by the GCI in both print and electronic formats.