Art Conservation

Conserving American art with WACC’s 2022–23 Lenett Fellows

Two MA students from the Class of 2023—Delaney Keenan and So Jeong “SJ” Lim—were Lenett Fellows at the Williamstown Art Conservation Center (WACC) in the 2022–23 academic year. The fellowship culminated in a public presentation at the Lunder Center at Stone Hill on May 15, 2023.

SJ worked with the Paper and Furniture+Frames departments to look closely at garments and objects from the American Revolutionary Period. She presented military design’s influence on emerging material culture in early New England through her explorations and treatments of objects ranging from eighteenth-century evening coats to a grocery list folded inside a leather pocketbook.

Delaney worked on portraits from the Albany Institute of History & Art made in the early eighteenth century by artists Nehemiah Partridge and John Heaton, and launched an inquiry into their techniques and ground structures. This project involved surface cleaning, filling, and retouching the portraits while integrating scientific analysis such as microscopy, technical imaging, SEM-EDS, and cross-section stratigraphy to understand the preparatory grounds and pigments used by Nehemiah Partridge and his circle of contemporaries in early 18th century America (c.1700–1740).

“The Judith M. Lenett Memorial Fellowship offers a unique opportunity for art history students to complete a deep, cross-disciplinary experience with art and material culture through the lens of art conservation. SJ’s and Delaney’s 2023 Fellowship presentations chronicled their wonderful journeys to reveal innately embedded knowledge from their objects through careful examination, deeper understanding of material and technique, and in-depth scientific analysis,” said Julie Reilly, Executive Director of WACC. Read more about the Lenett fellowship here.

Featured image: View of Delaney Keenan’s presentation slide on May 15, 2023, at the Lunder Center at Stone Hill. 
Photo: Tucker Bair.