Chemistry for Conservators – a four month course by correspondence
Chemical processes underlie many of the practices and techniques used in conservation. From environmental control to restoration, chemical interactions take place between the object and the outside world. They may be harmful or benign. If you are to apply chemical principles in practical treatments, you must understand the implications of chemical action.
This course provides an introduction for people with little (for instance lower school chemistry studied years ago) or no chemistry. All students are assessed initially by questionnaire. The syllabus is centred on major conservation issues, e.g. types of materials, the environment, cleaning and deterioration. Various types of material have been integrated to address the specific requirements of conservation; using a combination of course literature, relevant experiments and assessed study units, the chemical principles needed to understand conservation practice are explained. The course provides an excellent background to many training courses in conservation; indeed several conservation training establishments recommend this course to potential students with an insufficient chemistry background. Taking this course should enable students to gain greater insight into their everyday work.
The course is divided into four blocks. An "Introduction" to chemical explanations of the physical world uses materials of common experience, air and water. "First principles" carries this further and explains the new language of chemistry. "Chemistry in action" samples the chemistry of materials that are of use in conservation. The final block, "Chemistry and the conservator", applies the knowledge gained in the previous blocks to your work.
A modern, high quality, chemistry textbook has been chosen as the first source of information - Chemistry by Holman and Stone. This is complemented by a series of three booklets, Science for Conservators, which was developed for the Crafts Council using a more theoretical approach. There are fourteen units in all, two in "Introduction" and four in each of the other three blocks. A unit is designed as eight - fifteen hours of work spread over a week, incorporating a series of written questions.
The course will be conducted in English two or three times a year by correspondence. To enrol for this course, please make an enquiry here. You will then receive a questionnaire and an enrolment form.
Tutors: C.V. Horie (The Manchester Museum), Dr. D. Kenyon (Adult Education Lecturer)