Steve O'Banion: Smithsonian American Art Museum, Lunder Conservation Center
As shown in this series of photos, Steve O'Banion, UD graduate student in art conservation, is working on a variety of fascinating projects while interning this summer at the Smithsonian American Art Museum's Lunder Conservation Center.
O'Banion works on an object for an upcoming show focusing on turned and carved wood.
O'Banion is shown with his "most thought-provoking project" -- Richard Hollander’s Mirror, a steel sculpture that is plagued by corrosion.


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12:07 p.m., July 28, 2010----I was thrilled to attend the University of Delaware's Public Engagement in Material Culture Institute (PEMCI). The intensive, two-week institute provided me with guidance in ways to reach out to the public about my research on plastics and their degradation. Activities included writing press releases, giving practice television interviews, visiting museums and learning the latest about social media.

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I have been able to put everything I learned at PEMCI into practice at the Smithsonian American Art Museum's (SAAM) Lunder Conservation Center. Lunder has floor-to-ceiling glass walls, designed to allow the public to view all aspects of conservation work. In addition, tours are given to teach museum visitors about the importance of conservation. I have particularly enjoyed going out into the hall to talk to interested visitors about my projects.

The projects I have been working on at SAAM have been varied and challenging. Laura Kubick, a third-year graduate student in the Winterthur/University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation, and I have been conducting a climate survey. In addition to looking at temperature and relative humidity data from the past three years, we have been identifying the works in the collection that are most sensitive to environmental changes. An upcoming show of turned and carved wood has kept me busy inpainting and making custom weights. Perhaps my most thought-provoking project is Richard Hollander's Mirror, a steel sculpture that is plagued by corrosion. The key will be finding a way to remove the corrosion without disturbing the milled finish underneath.