William S. Ginell

Head, Architecture and Monument Conservation Research, Scientific Program

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Today, Bill Ginell's professional life is dedicated to preservation. But it began with a very different kind of endeavor. Following his 1943 graduation from the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn with a bachelor's degree in chemistry, he was part of the secret research team at Columbia University working to develop the atomic bomb.

After receiving his Ph.D. in physical chemistry from the University of Wisconsin, Dr. Ginell spent nine years at the Brookhaven National Laboratory on Long Island, New York, followed by twenty-six years working for aerospace firms in California. There his research ranged from energy conversion technologies and nuclear radiation effects on materials to developing the means to distinguish decoy nuclear missiles from real ones.

A chance visit by his wife and daughter-in-law to the J. Paul Getty Museum lead to a meeting with the Museum's antiquities conservation department and shortly thereafter a year of consulting on conservation issues. In 1984, Dr. Ginell joined the then embryonic Conservation Institute on a full-time basis, and helped design the laboratories at the Institute's Marina del Rey facility. During his first years with the Institute he worked on a variety of projects including researching the use of parylene as a protective coating for textiles, identifying minimally abrasive materials for removal of tarnish from silver, and developing a non-destructive method for determining sub-surface defects in stone.

As a materials scientist with lengthy experience in industry, Dr. Ginell sees his mandate at the Institute as facilitating the transfer of industrial techniques to conservation, and carefully evaluating their effectiveness. Because of the tremendous variation of materials used in the creation of art, he finds himself involved in a greater diversity of scientific issues than ever before in his career. At present his projects range from seismic studies of adobe and stone structures to helping determine an acceptable storage environment for the Dead Sea Scrolls.

 

Jessica S. Brown

Managing Editor, AATA, Documentation Program

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Born and raised in California, Jessica Brown attended college in her home state as well. She did, however, spend her junior year abroad, studying European history and refining her Italian language skills at the University of Padua. After graduating with a degree in history from the University of California, Santa Barbara, Ms. Brown was hired by ABC-Clio Information Services, a Santa Barbara-based publishing house. There she worked on Historical Abstracts, becoming managing editor of the publication in 1982.

Three years later she joined the Getty Conservation Institute, becoming the original member—and, for a brief time, the only member—of the Institute's Documentation Program. Since arriving at the Institute she has served as managing editor of Art and Archaeology Technical Abstracts (AATA) which is published semiannually in association with the International Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works.

When Ms. Brown first took over its editorship, AATA was produced using "cut and paste" technology. During her first year on the job, she put to work her experience creating on-line databases, and by 1986 AATA had become a database publication with computerized data entry. Today Ms. Brown and her staff of three, assisted by over 150 volunteers around the world, compile and edit approximately 3,500 abstracts yearly. She also directs the publication's promotion and distribution. She is presently at work developing a new and more streamlined production system for the publication.

Her work on AATA has been gratifying not only because of her long-held interest in history, but also because of her working relationship with the twelve-member AATA Board of Editors, a diverse and energetic group from whose knowledge of conservation and organization she feels she has greatly benefited. A wordsmith professionally and personally, Ms. Brown is an avid Scrabble player who manages to complete the Los Angeles Times and New York Times crossword puzzles every day.