I am passionate about supporting the community of professionals who advocate on behalf of our shared cultural history. I believe that the more the public know about preservation work, the easier it will be to understand how our field can adapt to better serve the communities whose heritage we care for.

Outreach can take many forms, from conversations to clinics. The following details a few of the conservation-related outreach efforts I am involved in.

First page of the unfired ceramics didactic I co-wrote with Joann Hurd.


The Iraqi Institute for the Conservation of Antiques and Heritage preserves cultural identity of artifacts in Iraq by educating people in conservation and preservation.

Thanks to generous funding provided by the U.S. State Department, I am working with colleagues at the University of Delaware to prepare didactics that will be taken to the IICAH and used as teaching aids.

After seeing a compelling lecture given by Jessica Johnson, Head of Conservation at the Smithsonian Museum Conservation Institute (MCI) in Spring 2018, my classmate Joanna Hurd and I began brainstorming on how we could remotely support the important work being carried out in Iraq. Working with Jessie Johnson, Debbie Hess Norris, and Terry Drayman-Weisser, we formulated a plan to make didactics that could be easily transported to Iraq from Washington, D.C. In 2018-2019, Joanna and I lead a team of graduate students in the Winterthur/University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation to make two didactics, one that provides cost effective alternatives to packing and storage materials (e.g. Volara, Ethafoam), the second that focuses on the preventive care of unfired clay such as cuneiform tablets and mud-bricks.

Diagram made for the 'Rigid Supports' document for MITRA.


The Materials Information and Technical Resources for Artists (MITRA) website serves as a guide for artists who are interested in learning about best practices. The forum includes a Moderating Board comprised of experts in the field of art materials, art conservation, and material science.

In 2016 I worked as a Research Intern assisting Dr. Kristin DeGhetaldi and Brian Baade in writing the Resources documents for MITRA. After accepting the Terms and Conditions, the Resources page can be accessed here.

Incoming ECPN officers (2019)


The Emerging Conservation Professionals Network (ECPN) community supports early career conservators as they navigate from pre-program to graduate school and beyond by providing resources and networking opportunities. More information about ECPN can be found on theAmerican Institute for Conservation’s website.

I have served as a Regional Liaison (2015-16), Graduate Liaison (2018-19), and Digital Platforms Co-Officer (2019-present). In Fall 2019, I co-organized the webinar Navigating the Workplace and Harnessing Community as an Emerging Conservation Professional with Emma Hartman, and currently we are wrapping up the first season of Conservators Combating Climate Change – a new podcast series on creating a more equitable, conscientious, and sustainable conservation community.

For more information on recently produced digital content, please see this institutional landing page

If you are interested in submitting an idea for a webinar or have any other digital content-related questions, please contact us at: ecpn.aic.digitalplatforms@gmail.com

Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Jon Parrish Peede visiting various conservation labs in the Winterthur Museum and Gardens library to learn about the conservation and preservation work being done there. Image courtesy of Even Krape.


The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) is one of the largest funders of humanities programs in the United States. As a NEH Fellow in the Winterthur/University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation (WUDPAC), I receive a generous yearly stipend from the NEH that allows me to study at Winterthur and be involved in projects such as the WUDPAC, Voices in Contemporary Art (VocA), the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), Robert Rauschenberg Foundation (RRF) partnership.

I recently had the great pleasure of thanking John Parrish Peede, NEH Chairman, in person when he toured Winterthur’s conservation labs. A write-up on the Chairman’s visit can be accessed here.

Talking with a group of Cleveland Museum of Art Summer Interns. Image courtesy of Laura Gaylord Resch.


Online blogs provide an opportunity for conservation professionals to reach a large audience. I’ve written several blog posts since entering into the field including on the Cleveland Museum of Art’s online blog and for the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works. For a full list, please see my CV.

Natalya Swanson