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John Harvard's Journal

Photograph by Paul Warchol


Amazing Space Well Endowed Leveraged Giving
Sanders Shines Scholarly Senescence? Portrait - Howard Stone
The New Fellowship Vice President Benched Course Colossus
Presidential Portrait The Undergraduate Sports
Brevia

Amazing Space

The newly renovated and expanded Straus Center for Conservation and Technical Studies opens November 2 with a day of talks on such subjects as improved infrared reflecography equipment and the possibilities and limitations of dendrochronology in matters of attribution in early Netherlandish painting, followed by a ball in the courtyard of the Fogg Art Museum.

The Straus Center is indeed something to celebrate, one of the premier institutions of its kind in the world. Its staff members conserve works of art, analyze them technically, and give others advanced training in how to do so. The renovated facility occupies the entire fourth floor of the Fogg, plus a new structure on the roof housing mechanical systems. It comprises conservation treatment laboratories for paintings, for sculpture and decorative arts (the room shown on page 59), and for works of art on paper; a laboratory for the study of artists' materials; a library; a seminar room; and administrative oces. It is chock-a-block with tools, spray booths, fume hoods, solvent exhaust snorkels, quaint-looking blocks and tackle, x-ray chambers, stainless steel, mahogany, slate, and a wealth of natural light.

The Fogg's conservation laboratory, established in 1928 and the oldest such facility in the United States, had become outmoded and, in fact, dangerous for art works and people. Among the wonders of the new center is a powerful climate-control system that will precisely maintain the interior at 40 percent relative humidity and 68 degrees Fahrenheit and keep the windows free of condensation and frost in the process. It will do this, says architect Samuel Anderson '75, even when conservators throw switches and exhaust from their work areas many thousands of cubic feet of solvent-tainted air per minute, which is then dispelled safely into the atmosphere high above.

The facility is named in honor of Philip A. Straus '37 and Lynn Straus, longtime benefactors of the Harvard Art Museums and the center, but more than 440 other individuals and foundations also contributed to the $6.3 million project.

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