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2020-21 UNCF Mellon Teaching and Learning Institute at Tuskegee University: Online Intensive December 2-4, 2020

Tuskegee University's Legacy Museum will host a 2020 UNCF/Mellon Teaching and Learning Institute designed to introduce participants to the principles of preservation, safeguarding objects against deterioration, and technical art history, studying objects


Tuskegee University Legacy Museum
Yale University Conservators & HBCU Students and Mentors
2020 UNCF Mellon Teaching and Learning Institute

Black Lives Matter in Conservation: Art, Objects, and the Stories They Tell


Welcome to the 2020 UNCF Mellon Teaching and Learning Institute

Each of you comes with hopes and expectations and will

Leave, perhaps, with resolved desires and

Concerns after uniting around conservation efforts and technical art history.

Our 11 HBCU

Museums and Galleries are

Exceptional and we are grateful to UNCF Mellon, Tuskegee University, Yale Center for British Art, Yale University Art Gallery, Yale University Library and IPCH and the Legacy Museum.


                                                 Dr. Jontyle Robinson, Curator

                                                 The Legacy Museum

                                                 Tuskegee University

December 2 Session 1: Welcome and Introductions

Welcome - 9:00-9:15AM

Dr. Cynthia Spence , Director, UNCF Mellon Programs 

Cindy Schwarz, Senior Associate Conservator of Paintings, Yale University Art Gallery


Orientation/Introduction - 9:15 - 12 Noon

Dr. Caryl McFarlane and Dr. Jontyle Robinson, facilitators

UNCF Mellon Participants:

  • What interests you?
  • What do you hope to get out of this experience?

HBCU Mentors/School Participants

  • Overview of HBCU museums and/or galleries

Yale Conservators

  • Describe your career trajectory and current job/interests
  • With visuals/ lab "tour"


Readings & Handouts

December 2 Session 2: African Modernism in America

Professor Jamaal Sheats will discuss the gallery, the Harmon Foundation, and the upcoming exhibition, "African Modernism in America, 1947 – 1967"


Required Readings:

December 2 Session 3: George Floyd Conservation Project

Guest speaker, Kiera Hammond, will share perspectives on posters created in response to the murder of George Floyd.

Student introduction by Taslyn Ware


December 3 Session 1: Introduction to Preventive Conservation

Tara Kennedy will introduce the discipline of preventive conservation, which focuses on risk assessment and protection of collections to slow down deterioration and avoid loss.

Student introduction by Micah Robinson


Required Readings/ Web Sites:


Suggested Readings & Handouts:

December 3 Session 2: Mardi Gras "March"

Professor Anne Collins Smith will discuss Black Mardi Gras Traditions, artist Vanessa German, and share the uniquely New Orleans response to the Black Lives Matter movement.

Student introduction by Destinee Filmore

10:30-12 Noon

Required Readings:

Suggested Readings:

December 3 Session 3: Loss of Stories

Mark Aronson will lead a discussion about the short story transition to selected painting and sculpture, Edward Garrison, connecting to BLM and what we want to have survive and preserve.

Student introduction by Barriane Franks


Required Readings:

Suggested Readings:

December 3 Session 4: Street Art, Spray Paint, and its Preservation

Cindy Schwarz will present on spray paint art and its preservation, and also in the context of technical art history, with an emphasis on the works of Jean-Michel Basquiat.

Student introduction by Tyra Monae


Required Readings:

December 4 Session 1: Conservator-Curator Dialogue: Collaborative Processes for Exhibit Decisions

Christine McCarthy and guest speakers, Melissa Barton, Paula Zyats, and Marie-France Lemay will explore how curators and conservators work together to identify and mitigate risks to objects in the services of telling important and compelling stories with collections/exhibits.

Student introduction of Christine McCarthy by Sharon Jimerson


Required Readings & Handouts:

December 4 Session 2: The Tougaloo College Archives James Allen Photographs “An exhibition of the work of Negro artists” (1930)

Professor Johnnie Maberry will present on the Tougaloo College Archives James Allen Photographic collection: Its Historical Importance to African American History; Documentation of Time and Place Through Visual Arts; and the Black Lives Matter Connection.

Student introduction by LaShon Webb

10:30-12 Noon

As part of this session, conservators Christine McCarthy and Tara Kennedy will review some of the photographic collection to determine preliminary preservation and conservation needs.

December 4 Session 3: Hands-on Sessions


I. Hands-On Sessions

  1. Protective Enclosures - Tara Kennedy and Christine McCarthy
  2. Light and Fading - Mark Aronson
  3. Basquiat and Technical Examination - Cindy Schwartz


II.  Group Discussion

Come back together to discuss share our experiences and learning from the hands-on sessions.

December 4 Session 4: What's Next?

Next Steps & Wrap Up



Student responses to the Institute:

  • Which components of the Institute stood out the most for you?
  • Why is what we've discussed in this Institute important and/or significant?
  • Has the Institute inspired you to learn more about preserving collection items? Is there a particular type of object(s) that you would like to know more about preserving?
  • What would you like to explore in the next unit of the Institute?