In late 2013 the GCI and the Yale Institute for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage (IPCH) launched the XRF Boot Camp for Conservators workshop series to provide training and resources to improve the use of handheld XRF instruments for the study of cultural heritage—a priority, given the use of these instruments by a growing number of cultural institutions and the relative lack of training opportunities tailored to cultural heritage and the arts.

The four-day workshop provides in-depth training in the principles of X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy and the collection and interpretation of data, and it focuses on qualitative analysis and the use of handheld instrumentation. Boot Camp participants explore the application of handheld XRF instruments to cultural heritage collections through interactive lectures combined with hands-on analysis, data processing, and data interpretation. The first three days of the Boot Camp focus on the principles of the technique, its application, and the interpretation of data, and the final day explores the practical application to a different kind of material and set of problems.

The first XRF Boot Camp was held in 2013 at Yale's Center for Conservation and Preservation and the Yale University Art Gallery. It addressed the analysis of painted surfaces found on paintings, objects, and works of art on paper.

This November the GCI and IPCH will welcome eighteen conservators, conservation scientists, and archaeologists to the Getty Villa for the second XRF Boot Camp. For this second workshop, objects from the collections of the Getty Museum and the Fowler Museum at UCLA will be used to illustrate best practices for the study of museum objects. Participants will also explore particular challenges encountered with the analysis of ethnographic and archaeological objects.

The XRF Boot Camp for Conservators is part of the GCI's Research into Practice Initiative, which develops education activities and resources to facilitate the practical application of new scientific research to conservation problems.