Indianapolis Museum of Art Conservation and Conservation Science Departments
The Museum’s professional conservation efforts started in the 1940s with the then John Herron Art Museum contracting well-known first generation American conservators such as Sheldon Keck, James Roth, and Louis Pomerantz to preserve some of the Museum’s finest paintings. The Museum became a charter member of the Intermuseum Laboratory (Oberlin, Ohio) in 1952, and incorporated a small conservation laboratory into the newly renamed Indianapolis Museum of Art in its new building in 1970. In 1975, the appointment of Martin J. Radecki as Chief Conservator led to the implementation of the American Institute for the Conservation of Artistic and Historic Works ethics and standards for practice and established a preventative program for collections care. Beginning in 1977, graduate program-trained conservators were hired, and in the same year, the IMA established a Regional Services Program to assist institutions (primarily in Indiana) with their conservation needs. Regional Services conservators have provided conservation work for over 220 institutions or public collections and over 300 individual collectors, including conservation survey assessments throughout Indiana, as well as Illinois and Kentucky as part of the Conservation Assessment Program or Institute of Museum Services programs, and on-site mural conservation such as the enormous Thomas Hart Benton mural cycle at Indiana University. The IMA Conservation Department is staffed by conservators with specializations in paintings, works on paper, textiles & fashion, and objects & variable art, as well as conservation technicians, a part-time photographer/imaging specialist, and an administrative assistant in a 7,700-square-foot laboratory housed in the museum’s main building.