The Getty Trust and UCLA are creating a master's degree in the conservation of archaeological and ethnographic materials. Original in its focus among existing conservation training programs in this country, it will provide students with not only a cultural orientation to conservation but also a strong base in materials science, anthropology, and fieldwork. Getty Trust president and CEO Barry Munitz and UCLA chancellor Albert Carnesale officially announced the new degree program.
"Preserving both ancient and modern artifacts and understanding the contexts from which they come are critically important," said Richard M. Leventhal, director of the Institute of Archaeology at UCLA. "An emphasis on context is part of what will distinguish this program from others and is what makes it such a valuable addition to the UCLA Institute of Archaeology."
"Traditionally, conservators are trained to work on fine arts objects in museums or studio contexts," said Marion True, assistant director for planning at the Getty Villa in Malibu and curator of antiquities for the Getty Museum. "But in providing fieldwork and a deeper understanding of the materials from which objects are made, this program will raise the standard of professional conservation practice to a higher level, ensuring that the evidence of the past survives well into the future."
In the three-year graduate program set to begin in 2002, the first year's curriculum will be built around general courses in anthropology, archaeology, and conservation. The second will offer more technical training, in specially designed laboratories at the Villa, and the third will be devoted to internships on archaeological digs or in museums. The M.A. degree will be conferred by UCLA. Similar programs are currently offered at the University of London's Institute of Archaeology and at the National Center for Cultural Heritage Science Studies at the University of Canberra in Australia.
Three new faculty members, funded by UCLA, will be added to direct and teach in the program; and professional conservators, conservation scientists, archaeologists, and site preservationists on the Getty staff, as well as consultants, will serve as instructors and guest lecturers. The program's scientific faculty will work with resident scientists at the GCI and will have access to the Institute's state-of-the-art analytical laboratories.
Timothy P. Whalen, the newly appointed director of the GCI, commented, "Education and training are at the core of the Getty Conservation Institute's activities. The UCLA/Getty partnership perfectly complements both our mission and the skills of the Getty's experienced and internationally trained conservation professionals."
UCLA's Leventhal said the new program will prompt archaeologists to think more about the future and conservators to consider how objects were used and why they are important culturally. "The interplay between the two groups will create a new breed of practitioners and will professionalize a growing trend among archaeologists to preserve archaeological sites and objects for the future," he said. "It acknowledges that we are part of both the local and the world communities."
The specialized facilities being created at the Villa, which is closed for renovation, will include conservation laboratories, offices, a classroom, a library, and study areas. Scheduled to reopen to the public in 2002 as a center for the study of comparative archaeology and cultures, the Villa will remain the home of the Getty Museum's Greek and Roman antiquities collection and will offer programs to promote a broader understanding of ancient cultures from all parts of the world. As such, it will be a unique public institution in the U.S., dedicated solely to ancient art and related academic and scientific disciplines. "The Villa site is so conducive to this type of study. We have long envisioned it as a place of training in archaeology and ethnography," said True.