Preserving the past
Claire Martin, a rising UD senior from Buffalo, New York, said she
was a bit nervous when she started work on irreplaceable materials at
Winterthur Museum, such as the dust jacket from Carton Moore Park's An Alphabet of Animals.
The book and related drawings are part of a collection recently donated
to the University of Delaware Library by Victorian literature expert
and UD Senior Research Fellow Mark Samuels Lasner.
"It's not often that undergrads have a chance like this," Martin said, "and I am thankful to Mark for that opportunity."
Martin, who has a double major in art conservation and art history,
worked with her adviser Vicki Cassman, associate professor of art
conservation, and was supervised by Melissa Tedone, book and library
conservator at Winterthur Museum.
Such materials are not placed in anyone's hands recklessly, of
course, but Tedone had met Martin during a book conservation course she
taught at UD.
"I was very impressed by the students," she said. "They were
energetic, engaged and their work ethic was amazing. I was so impressed
with what they accomplished and that is where I met Claire. When I was
asked if I would supervise her, I said, 'Of course.'"
In addition to stabilizing the dust jacket, which was deteriorating,
Martin's project -- her senior thesis -- includes research into Moore
Park's life and work.
"Claire Martin gave a wonderful presentation on her work, which is
both a research project on a largely unknown (and somewhat mysterious)
artist as well as a practicum in conservation work,” Samuels Lasner
said. "Making the collection available to students is a major reason why
it’s here at UD."
The daylong symposium drew students from more than 24 institutions
and support from 20 community partners, including nonprofit
organizations, music schools, four Delaware municipalities -- Laurel,
Leipsic, Seaford and Wilmington -- and three major regional medical
facilities, Christiana Health Care, Fox Chase Cancer Center and Nemours
That was impressive to Hal White, professor emeritus of chemistry and
biochemistry, who was on hand to see what students were up to.
"Involvement with so many institutions -- it's really important," he said. "They're finding ways to expand opportunities."
Scores of faculty mentors and graduate students also support this
effort, helping students grasp the rigors, protocols and potential of
original research. Some shepherd multiple students and in that category,
Mark Mirotznik, professor of electrical and computer engineering, led
the pack with 12.
"I really enjoy working with these incredibly bright students,"
Mirotznik said, "and they did some very cool stuff in a short time."
Article by Beth Miller and Ann Manser; photos by Evan Krape, Kathy F. Atkinson and Doug Baker