Anne Getts: Philadelphia Museum of Art
Anne Getts, right, UD graduate student in art conservation, works on a pin mount in the Costume and Textile Conservation lab at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Getts assists in wet cleaning a pair of breeches that are part of a Philadelphia City Cavalry uniform for an upcoming show on male fashions.
Getts gently vacuums an object of clothing for a future exhibit.


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11:56 a.m., July 28, 2010----This summer, I am interning in the Costume and Textile Conservation lab at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, under the direction of textile conservator Sara Reiter. During my time here, I am fortunate to be getting a taste of the varied activities that occur in the conservation lab of a large museum -- a new and exciting opportunity for me.

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Much of the work in the lab this summer is centered on preparation for and changing of museum exhibits which feature costumes and textiles. I have been assisting in work for multiple exhibitions, allowing me to experience a diverse range of conservation activities. For example, in the newly installed “Threaded Adornment: Four Centuries of English Embroidery” exhibit, I learned about the construction of mounts and the various methods by which an object can be secured to a mount while on display.

For an upcoming show on male fashions, I am researching, assessing and doing minor treatment on a pair of embroidered and beaded slippers, as well as assisting in wet cleaning a pair of breeches that are part of a Philadelphia City Cavalry uniform. For an exhibition on tailored men's wear, I have prepared condition reports and performed minor treatments in order to ready the objects for display.

The upcoming “Desert Jewels” show, featuring African jewelry as well as a few textiles, has given me an opportunity to learn about the work required for a hanging wall display. Another big part of the summer will focus on the de-installation of the “Kantha: The Embroidered Quilts of Bengal” exhibit.

In addition to exposure to such a varied array of costumes and textiles, I am working with Sara and conservation scientists to investigate the possible deterioration of hook-and-loop tape mounts of textiles currently on display in the museum. As well, I get to spend one day a week in the storage area.

The costume and textile collection recently moved into new facilities at the Perelman Building, and many of the objects were re-housed in preparation for the move. What we have been doing each week is re-assessing each object to ensure that it is being stored in the most appropriate and space-effective manner; engendering proper storage conditions maximizes the long-term preservation of a collection.

Overall, this has been, and promises to continue to be, a wonderful experience, broadening my horizons and exposing me to an array of conservation activities.