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A Note from the Director

Surface Cleaning and Conservation
The cleaning of works of art and historic monuments—as an evolving idea and in practice—has had a long history. Since ancient times, the condition of cleanliness has been understood as a symbol of purity and integrity. In later periods, when decay and patina were appreciated as testimony of genuine origin and true age, cleaning was less favored by many. Today, with cooperation between conservators, art historians, and scientists, a balanced understanding of the problems of cleaning seems to have been reached, one that relies on a common agreement of the historical uniqueness of every artistic or cultural relic.

Finding a Certain Balance: A Discussion about Surface Cleaning
Three conservators that head up Getty Museum conservation departments—Brian Considine of decorative arts and sculpture, Mark Leonard of paintings, and Jerry Podany of antiquities—discuss some of the philosophical and technical issues related to the surface cleaning of objects in museum collections.

The Gels Cleaning Research Project
In the early 1980s, Richard Wolbers of the University of Delaware introduced gels cleaning systems to the conservation community. Because of important advantages, these cleaning systems are now widely used in conservation lab practice. The GCI—in collaboration with colleagues at the Winterthur Museum, Gardens, and Library, the Winterthur—University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation, the Chemistry Department of California State University, Northridge, and the Getty Museum—has been carrying out in-depth research on the gels cleaning systems and their long-term effects on painted surfaces.

Preservation in St. Petersburg
As St. Petersburg prepares for its 300th birthday in 2003, the St. Petersburg International Center for Preservation is assuming a vital role as the only noncommercial organization devoted exclusively to cultural heritage preservation in this World Heritage City. The mission of the Center—an independent organization backed by a coalition of institutions in St. Petersburg, the United States, and Europe—is to encourage and facilitate modern conservation strategies through professional programs in education and training, information services, collaborative scientific research, and heritage advocacy.

GCI News: Projects, Events, Publications and Staff
Updates on Getty Conservation Institute projects, events, publications, and staff.

The GCI Newsletter Staff Box