Art, Science, Invention: Conservation and the Peale-Sellers Family
Free and open to the public.
Reception 5:30 p.m., lecture 6:00 p.m.
Benjamin Franklin Hall
427 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106
Thursday, July 18 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Join APS Conservator Renée Wolcott for the launch of her new book from the APS Press, Art, Science, Invention: Conservation and the Peale-Sellers Family. She will be discussing the conservation treatment of items from the Peale-Sellers Family Collection, the world's largest collection of materials related to Charles Willson Peale and his many relations.
This collection served as the basis for two APS exhibitions in 2017: the Museum's Curious Revolutionaries: The Peales of Philadelphia and the Library's Conservation and the Peale-Sellers Family Collection. In preparation for these exhibits, the current APS conservation staff repaired 53 of the 75 Library items selected for display in the Museum, and 14 of 43 items selected for display in the Library.
Wolcott, who curated the Library's exhibition, will discuss her new Transactions volume, Art, Science, Invention: Conservation and the Peale-Sellers Family. Her talk will draw links between Charles Willson Peale's interests and those of today's art conservators, and trace the history of conservation efforts in the United States and at the APS in particular. Wolcott will also share several conservation case studies from the two Peale exhibitions, including the treatment of a Charles Willson Peale diary, two books of hand-cut silhouettes, a hand-colored form letter soliciting donations for the Philadelphia Museum, and Rembrandt Peale's pamphlet describing the skeleton of the mammoth. The repaired books and documents will be on display, and a light reception will be provided.
Renée Wolcott is Associate Conservator of Library and Archival Materials at the American Philosophical Society Library, where she curated Conservation and the Peale-Sellers Family Collection. A high school interest survey listed “book restorer” as the top match for her skills and interests. After disregarding this advice for many years—during which she worked as a journalist, editor, and public relations specialist—Wolcott changed careers and entered the conservation field. Prior to joining the APS, she worked as a book conservator at the Conservation Center for Art and Historic Artifacts in Philadelphia and served as an adjunct professor in the Department of Art Conservation at the University of Delaware. She received an M.S. in Art Conservation from the Winterthur-University of Delaware Program in 2011, an M.A. in English from N.C. State University in 1999, and a B.A. in English from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1995.