Gregory Smith Appointed to Mellon Conservation Science Professorship

Posted: January 31, 2005
Gregory D. Smith, Ph.D., has been appointed to Buffalo State College’s newly established Andrew W. Mellon Professorship in Conservation Science. The post was created from funds received by Buffalo State College’s Art Conservation Department from a six-year, $995,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The award reflects the Mellon Foundation’s recognition of the importance of continuing advances of science in conservation to the efforts of conservators in providing optimum care for the nation’s art and historic objects.

Smith, formerly Samuel Golden Research Fellow at the National Gallery of Art, will provide instruction on the application of science to the study and protection of material culture to students in the college’s graduate art conservation program. He began this semester.

In addition to his post at the National Gallery of Art, Smith has held research positions at the National Synchrotron Light Source, University College London and the British Library. He is a recipient of a Marshall-Sherfield Postdoctoral Fellowship, a Howard Hughes Undergraduate Research Fellowship and a National Science Foundation Fellowship.

Widely published, Smith’s research interests include the identification and study of historical pigments and their degradation processes and the investigation of modern artists’ materials, primarily acrylic emulsion paints and the effects of cleaning treatments on paintings executed in that medium.

Smith earned his bachelor of science degree in chemistry and anthropology/

sociology from Centre College, Danville, Ky., and his doctorate in analytical/physical chemistry from Duke University.

Buffalo State’s Art Conservation Department’s graduate program, which opened in 1970, is one of four degree-granting art conservation programs in North America. During their program years, students first study the traditional areas of objects, paper and paintings conservation. They later either specialize in one of the three areas or in a more recently established one such as photograph, book or ethnographic and archeological material conservation. Their program years conclude with a final 12-month internship in their chosen specialty.

The majority of the department’s 300 graduates are employed in museum conservation laboratories in this country and abroad, many of them holding senior posts. Employers include the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the National Gallery of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago and the J. Paul Getty Museum.

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