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The “Peculiar Problems” of Preservation: Life, Death, and the Afterlife in the Museum Harvard Art Museums
32 Quincy Street
Cambridge, MA
April 30, 2019
Start Time: 6:00 PM
End Time: 7:30 PM
Price: Free admission, but seating is limited.
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In 1933, Rutherford John Gettens, conservation scientist at the Fogg Art Museum, wrote a letter to his colleague Dr. S. Paramasivan to ask about the “peculiar problems” he faced in the conservation of archaeological objects at the Madras Government Museum, in India. Who, he wondered, has the right to preserve museum collections, and why? Whose histories are preserved and whose are erased or omitted through the preservation process?

Though nearly 90 years have passed since this correspondence, some of these same issues continue to trouble museums around the world. In this lecture, Sanchita Balachandran, associate director of the Johns Hopkins Archaeological Museum, will consider what role the scientific, physical, and cultural practices of preservation play in what (and who) lives, dies, or is brought back to life in the museum.  

The lecture will take place in Menschel Hall, Lower Level. Please enter the museums via the entrance on Broadway. Doors will open at 5:30pm.

Complimentary parking available in the Broadway Garage, 7 Felton Street, Cambridge.

The “Peculiar Problems” of Preservation: Life, Death, and the Afterlife in the Museum