Staff & Research
Gretchen E. Anderson
Conservator and Head
Section of Conservation
Carnegie Museum of Natural History
Edward O'Neil Research Center
Gretchen Anderson was hired to head the section in 2009. She plans to further strengthen collections care by improving environmental conditions throughout the museum, including in exhibitions and storage. Her research interests focus on preventive conservation practices for natural science collections, including environmental and integrated pest management. In a prior position, Anderson developed public programming—a visible lab, volunteer guides, and video clips in exhibit halls—to explain preventive conservation in museums. She plans to continue that work in her new position. Anderson completed the museum’s accreditation work and secured funding for a new general conservation survey to set the future course for preservation.
Click here to view Gretchen Anderson's poster presented at the 2011 Annual Meeting of the Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections. This was a joint meeting with the National Science Collections Alliance. The Sustainable Museums—Sustainable Collections meeting was held in San Francisco.
Click here to view Gretchen Anderson's PowerPoint presentation on collection monitoring.
- Causes and prevention of deterioration
- Supporting curatorial research with analysis (materials, etc)
History of the Conservation Section
Conservation is the youngest of our scientific sections. It began as a department within the section of Anthropology in 1979. The first conservator, Joan Gardner, laid the groundwork. Gardner participated in the team that developed and installed our three anthropology halls; she examined and treated all the collections you see there. Gardner also was instrumental in getting the first climate controls in the galleries, an advancement that significantly improved collection care. Finally, she obtained funding from the Institute of Museum Services for a museum-wide general condition survey in 1989. The result was direct collection care throughout the museum to this day.
By the time Gardner retired in 1999, the administration realized it needed a conservator responsible for the entire museum to continue collection care efforts. The new section of Conservation was formed and conservator Barbara Hamann (photo at right) was hired to fill the position. Hamann expanded preservation in the museum, improving collections care in all curatorial departments. This included improved environments in all collection storage areas and preservation of the dinosaur collection prior to the reinstallation of Dinosaurs in Their Time. She led our accreditation process with the American Association of Museums and developed a museum-wide emergency preparedness plan.
Internships are available. For more information, visit the Natural History Volunteer page.