XRF Boot Camp for Conservators was a series of focused workshops on the fundamentals of X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy and data interpretation, developed and carried out in partnership with the Institute for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage at Yale University. Its aim is to provide training and resources to improve the use of handheld XRF instruments for the study of cultural heritage.


The ability to employ noninvasive and nondestructive analytical methods that can be used in situ is essential in the study of works of art and other cultural heritage materials, as the removal of samples for analysis is generally severely limited, or in many cases forbidden.

As such, X-ray fluorescence (XRF) spectroscopy has arguably become the most widely employed analytical technique in the scientific examination of works of art. The recent proliferation of relatively inexpensive and easy-to-use handheld spectrometers has resulted in this technique being adopted by an increasingly large number of institutions.

However, in many cases the responsibility for operating the instrument – and interpreting the data – falls to conservation professionals, who may or may not have sufficient scientific background or access to training to enable them to correctly apply the technique or accurately interpret the results.

Boot Camps

XRF Boot Camps for Conservators were held in 2013, 2014, and 2016.

Page updated: May 2022