Blogs & Videos: Object Conservation

Field Museum Women in Science (FMWIS) Internships 2014 -- Madeleine Farris

Learn more about FMWIS intern Madeleine Farris, and her work with Emily Baca and Ryan Patrick Williams.  Madeleine's project, "Archaeological Study of Peruvian Materials in the South American Laboratory" involved working with ceremanics and pottery to learn more about Inca economy and society. 

Field Museum Women in Science (FMWIS) Internships 2014 -- Jessica Mohlman

Learn about Jessica Mohlman and her FMWIS project, “Southern Mexican Economic Botany”. Within the state of Oaxaca in southern Mexico, there is an excavation site by the name of El Palmillo, a hilltop terrace community which once held the residence of the Zapotec people. While this area was one of the driest in the Valley of Oaxaca, it had some of the largest populations after the Classic Period. The communities were able to survive due to drought resistant plants. These drought resistant plants were used for food, alcohol, medicine, and sources of fiber within this region.

Video: The Team

Meet the other members of this inaugural team and learn about what skills are needed for the upkeep of this important collection. Check back in on Monday for the final video in the series for a first-hand look at the backbone for the whole collection – the infrastructure. See what goes into installing the collection’s compactor units and see how these nuts and bolts do more than hold everything together.

Rehousing Sulka Masks

As a graduate student from the Buffalo State College Art Conservation Department, I am completing my summer internship at the Field Museum. I’m working in the Regenstein Conservation Lab with J.P. Brown, the Regenstein Conservator for Pacific Anthropology.  Our main project for the summer has been rehousing the Field Museum’s collection of Sulka dance masks from New Britain, Papua New Guinea

Video: Conserving Sticky

J. P. Brown is the Regenstein Conservator for Pacific Anthropology at The Field Museum and his job is to maintain and preserve the objects housed in our Anthropology collections. In this case, JP is using CT Scan technology to understand how the figure of a seated man from the Pacific island of Malekula (Republic of Vanuatu) was constructed. By revealing the different layers that make this fascinating handcraft, JP will be able to make decisions on how to store it properly so future generations can also enjoy it and keep preserving it.

Video: Dear Benjamin Walsh

On the shelves of the Mary W. Runnells Rare Book Room at The Field Museum's library, there are 18 original letters written by Charles Darwin. They are part of Darwin's extensive correspondence and in 1948 the Museum received them as part of Benjamin D. Walsh's entomology library. Walsh, a British immigrant based in Illinois, was a self taught scientist who admired Darwin's theory of evolution. During his last five years of life, Walsh exchanged several letters with Darwin in which they shared personal stories as well as scientific findings. Thanks to the Library's efforts, these letters are now part of the Darwin Correspondence Project's digital archive.

18 July 2011 - CT Scanning

This past week, we got a glimpse inside some of The Field Museum’s mummies and a few other artifacts.  Because we can’t physically unwrap the mummies without damaging them, we used a CT scanner to make three dimensional x-ray images of the objects.  Using software, we can then take a look at the 3D image to see what’s inside.  Inside we found grave goods such as a pot filled with what appears to be grain or residue from an evaporated liquid and what could be a necklace in addition to human remains, of course.  Although in one case, we found no remains where we expected to see a full skeleton.

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