Aluminum: History, Technology and Conservation


Aluminum: History, Technology and Conservation Conference
April 7-9, 2014
Smithsonian American Art Museum, McEvoy Auditorium in Washington D.C.
Registration (online registration closes April 3):
$290 - Members of AIC or ICOM-CC
$375 - Non-members
$190 - Students
$110 - One day rate*
*ONLY available ON-SITE, no presale. This rate does not confer any additional event activities outside of the conference. To download a registration form for a one-day registration in advance, please click here.

To have a printed badge and to be included on the participant list please register no later than March 25.
To register online, please click here.
To download a registration form, please click here
FAIC's workshop and conference registration policies can be found here.

The Foundation of the American Institute for Conservation, in partnership with the Lunder Conservation Center, Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, and the International Council of Museums Committee for Conservation Metal Working Group, is pleased to announce an inaugural conference on the history, technology and conservation of aluminum alloys.

The conference will be held at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, McEvoy Auditorium in Washington D.C. It will be followed by a day-and-a-half-long workshop hosted by the Emil Buehler Conservation Laboratory at the National Air and Space Museum, Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia (April 10-11, 2014).

The preservation of objects made from aluminum alloys is an issue of high priority in the materials conservation field. Artifacts as diverse as domestic objects, modern sculpture, scientific and technological objects, outdoor architectural structures, airplanes and spacecraft, constructed in whole or in part from this material, can suffer severe deterioration. Little technical information is readily available to the conservation community about how to effectively conserve these artifacts. The recent invention of many of these alloys and their ever-increasing prevalence in museum collections adds to the severity of the problem.


The conference will explore the following conservation and research themes:
• History, production, fabrication and use of aluminum
• Corrosion and deterioration studies 
• Conservation of archaeological objects – marine, terrestrial and industrial 
• Materials characterization and identification
• Coatings, surface treatments and corrosion inhibition, particularly the latest developments in corrosion mitigation through development of innovative and environmentally friendly inhibitors and modern coating systems 
• Conservation and use of aluminum alloys in contemporary art 
• Conservation of architectural structures and elements 
• Preventive conservation


The symposium is open to participants from a wide range of disciplines including conservation, conservation science, chemistry, materials science, collections management, engineering, archaeology, art history and architecture. The conference encourages contributions from conservators dealing with aluminum alloys in a variety of contexts including, but not limited to, collections containing domestic, scientific and technological objects, contemporary art, architectural structures, archaeological materials, both marine and terrestrial, and large technological and industrial objects.


The three-day program (April 7-9) will feature 40-minute lectures by invited speakers, as well as 20-minute submitted presentations, with each session followed by a Q and A. The optional one-and-a-half-day workshop (April 10-11) on the identification of aluminum alloys and finishes will also be offered as a professional development opportunity.

Lyndsie Selwyn, Canadian Conservation Institute, Ottawa, will give the opening keynote address on Monday April 7.
Featured speakers are: Christian Degrigny, Haute Ecole de Conservation-restauration Arc, Neuchâtel; David Hallam, ICOM-CC Metal Working Group Coordinator; Bruce Hinton, Monash University, Melbourne; Rosa Lowinger, Lowinger and Associates, Los Angeles and Miami; Ian MacLeod, Western Australian Maritime Museum, Fremantle; François Mirambet, Centre de Recherche et de Restauration des Musées de France, Paris; Richard Pieper, Jan Hird Pokorny Associates, New York.

The conference will also include the following speakers for a full and engaging program (in alphabetical order):

Jerrad Alexander, Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center, Hutchinson: ‘The Boneyard: The World’s Largest Military Aircraft Repository’

George Bailey, The Australian War Memorial, Canberra: ‘A Critical Review of the 1996 Conservation Treatment of a World War Two Aircraft Carried Out at the Australian War Memorial’

Justine Posluszny Bello, Conservation Solutions, Inc., Washington DC: ‘Restoration of the Aluminum Night Doors and Windows at the Robert F. Kennedy Department of Justice Building, Washington, DC’

Clara Deck, The Henry Ford Museum, Detroit: ‘Deconstructing the Dymaxion House: Designing Survival Strategies for an Aluminum Tension Structure’

Xsusha Flandro, Jablonski Building Conservation, New York: “Redesign: A Recipe for Results”: Restoring Architectural Aluminum Finishes in Situ’

Helen Ingalls, Lunder Conservation Center, Washington DC: ‘Materials, Deterioration, and Conservation of Aluminum Foil on James Hampton’s Throne of the Third Heaven: All That Glitters is not Gold’

Tracy Kamerer, Henry Morrison Flagler Museum, Palm Beach, and Scott W. Nolley, Fine Art Conservation of Virginia, Richmond: ‘Aluminum, the New Silver: Shining a Light on Gilded Age Decorative Surfaces’

Nicole Little, Museum Conservation Institute, Washington DC: ‘‘Lessons We’ve Learned from the Identification of Aluminum Alloys and Corrosion’’

Susan Maltby, Maltby & Associates Inc., Toronto: ‘The Stabilization of Malton’s CF-100 All-Weather Jet: A Case Study’

Mary Oehrlein, Architect of the Capitol, Washington DC: ‘In-situ Micro-abrasion Cleaning of a 1932 Cast Aluminum Porte-cochere’

Achal Pandya, Indira Gandhi Center for Arts, New Delhi: ‘Corrosion Characteristics of 3000 Series Aluminium Alloy Exposed in Different Climatic Conditions (Pollution Zones) of India’

Ljiljana Puskar, Australian Synchrotron, Clayton: ‘The Use and Characterization of Aluminum Based Metallic Paints in Early Twentieth Century Paintings’

Richard Russell, NASA Kennedy Space Center: ‘The History of Orbiter Corrosion Control (1981 – 2011)’

Christina Tengnér, Army Museum, Stockholm: ‘The Preservation of a Marine Archaeological DC-3 Aircraft’

Virginie Ternisien, Warren Lasch Conservation Center, Clemson University Restoration Institute, North Charleston: ‘Conservation Treatment of Les Nageurs (1973): A Monumental Aluminum Sculpture’

Yolaine Tissier, Arc’Antique, Nantes: ‘Metallographic Characterization of Two Propeller Blades from the World War II Era’

Robert van der Linden, Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, Washington DC: ‘Aluminum Alloy and Aircraft Construction’

John Weritz, The Aluminum Association, Arlington: ‘Aluminum – A Modern Metal with Historical Importance’

Lisa Young, Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, Washington DC: ‘Finding a Suitable Method for Chloride Removal and Preventative Storage of Spacesuit Gloves at the National Air and Space Museum’

For more information, please email

Organizing Committee: Claudia Chemello, Malcolm Collum, Paul Mardikian, Joe Sembrat, Lisa Young

Funding for this conference comes from Bruker Elemental, Clive Cussler, the National Center for Preservation Technology and Training (NCPTT), and General Cable.  International speaker travel is supported by a grant from the Samuel H. Kress Foundation. Many thanks to the Lunder Center, the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, and the International Council of Museums Committee for Conservation Metal Working Group for their contributions of time, expertise, and space.  Additional support comes from the Foundation of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works Endowment for Professional Development, which was created by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and donations from members of the American Institute for Conservation and its friends. Courses are made possible with the assistance of many AIC members, but no AIC membership dues were used to create or present this course.
Thanks to our program sponsors:


            Clive Cussler 


Travel Information: General information about traveling to and from Washington, D.C. can be found at This event takes place during the National Cherry Blossom Festival, so it is recommended that you make early reservations for your hotel.

AIC is a member of Club Quarters, (use “AIC” as the passcode), so you may wish to use this hotel as it has competitive rates. A metro station which will allow easy travel to and from the conference site is within walking distance of the hotel.

If you would rather be immediately within walking distance of the conference, you may choose to use one of the following nearby hotels. AIC/FAIC does not in any way endorse or recommend the following hotels based on anything except distance to the conference site.

Hotels near the Smithsonian American Art Museum:
Contact: Abigail Choudhury
FAIC Development and Education Coordinator
1556 15th Streeet, NW, Suite 320
Washington, DC 20005

Nancy Rubins, "Stainless Steel, Aluminum, Monochrome I, Built to Live Anywhere, at Home Here" 2011
Aluminum boats, stainless steel armature, stainless steel wire cable
30 x 48 x 35 feet
Collection Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York. George B. and Jenny R. Mathews Fund, by exchange.
Photograph by Erich Koyama

SACI Florence