The objects conservators of the Midwest Art Conservation Center have 30 years of professional experience providing examinations, treatments and care for the full range of archaeological, contemporary, ethnographic and historic art and artifacts. MACC object conservators are highly qualified to identify and treat the wide range of ancient, historic and contemporary artwork, indoor and outdoor sculpture, decorative art, and other 3-dimensional works. In addition to performing in-laboratory conservation treatments, the conservators also conduct object-by-object condition surveys of museum collections.
The needs of such a variety of artifacts are diverse, but the agents of deterioration are the same as in other conservation specialties: fluctuating temperature and relative humidity levels, stress caused by handling or other direct physical forces, exposure to radiation in the form of ultra violet and visible light, pests, and vandals all contribute to the degradation of materials over time. MACC conservators are adept at a wide range of treatments to combat these effects and to safeguard objects into the future.
Whether ancient or contemporary, objects can be made from a single material or a combination of materials such as wood, metal, ivory, bone, shell, ceramics, glass, plaster, or leather. Contemporary pieces can be made of plastic, living organisms, food, and modern synthetic materials. MACC objects conservators are also experienced in the treatment of frames, furniture, gilding lacquerware, weapons, and basketry. The conservation of objects requires a comprehensive knowledge of the chemistry and physics of organic and inorganic materials. Recognizing the causes of structural and cosmetic problems is an important part in determining the proper course of treatment for objects. It is essential to identify and understand the historical context through careful examination and research into materials, techniques, artist’s intent, and any prior interventions. MACC conservators understand these variables and are committed to providing treatments that are tailored specifically to each individual piece and adhere to the AIC Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice.
Meet the Conservators
Megan Emery, Chief Conservator and Senior Objects Conservator
Ms. Emery joined MACC in 2013, coming from the Cincinnati Art Museum where she was responsible for the care and preservation of all three-dimensional objects. Ms. Emery has extensive experience with ethnographic and archaeological materials, ceramics, lacquer, plasters, and the conservation of large scale contemporary sculpture. She holds a Master of Arts with a Certificate of Advanced Study in Conservation specializing in Objects from the State University College of New York at Buffalo and a Bachelor of Fine Arts cum laude from the University of St. Thomas, St. Paul. Ms. Emery is a Fellow of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic & Artistic Works, Objects Specialty Group and Electronic Media. She is also a member of the International Institute for Conservation.
Nicole Grabow, Senior Objects Conservator and Preservation Conservator
Ms. Grabow joined MACC in 2006, coming from the Smithsonian Center for Materials Research and Education at the Smithsonian Museum, Washington, DC. Prior to that, Nicole was a Mellon Fellow at the Smithsonian’s new National Museum of the American Indian, located on the Washington DC Mall, and an intern at the Smithsonian’s Freer and Sackler Galleries. She holds a Master of Science from the Winterthur/University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation, specializing in Objects Conservation, and a Bachelor of Arts from Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York. Ms. Grabow has particular interest in working with Native American communities and on public art projects. Ms. Grabow is a Fellow of The American Institute for Conservation of Historic & Artistic Works.
Courtney Murray, Associate Objects Conservator
Ms. Murray joined MACC in 2017, coming from the Denver Art Museum where she worked with an encyclopedic collection of three-dimensional objects. Prior, she completed a Samuel H. Kress Foundation post-graduate fellowship and graduate internship at the Denver Art Museum, and graduate internships at the Royal British Columbia Museum in Victoria, British Columbia and the Toledo Museum of Art. Ms. Murray has extensive experience with a wide range of structures and materials, ranging from archaeological artifacts to contemporary art. Courtney holds a Master of Science in Conservation from the Winterthur/University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation and a Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry from Emory University. She is an Associate member of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic & Artistic Works, Objects Specialty group.