Smithsonian American Art Museum Appoints Tiarna Doherty New Chief Conservator

The Smithsonian American Art Museum has announced Tiarna Doherty as its new chief conservator. Doherty will be responsible for overseeing the staff and programming at the Lunder Conservation Center. She begins work Nov. 7.

“It is my pleasure to welcome Tiarna Doherty to the Smithsonian American Art Museum, where her superb experience and intellect will bring creative new energy to the program,” said Elizabeth Broun, The Margaret and Terry Stent Director of the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

Doherty comes to the museum from the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, where she has been a paintings conservator since 2002 following a post-graduate internship. She earned a master’s degree in painting conservation from the Winterthur/University of Delaware art conservation program in 2000. Doherty has published numerous articles in international and U.S-based publications, including those of the International Institute for Conservation and the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works. She was a Kress Fellow at the Hamilton Kerr Institute at the University of Cambridge, and has taught workshops and lectured widely about conservation issues and techniques in the United States and Europe.

The innovative Lunder Conservation Center—state-of-the-art labs with glass walls—is the first art conservation facility to allow the public permanent behind-the-scenes views of the preservation work of the museums. In addition to providing expanded space for conservation projects, the center is a destination for learning about conservation and modern techniques that conservators use to examine and treat artworks. Public outreach and interpretive programs, including weekly behind-the-scenes tours and monthly conservation clinics, are offered. In 2008, the International Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works awarded the prestigious Keck Award to the Lunder Conservation Center. This facility is shared by the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery.

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