Cleaning and Conductivity: New Methods for Treating Paintings, Works on Paper, & Textiles

December 7 - 9, 2016
Smithsonian American Art Museum
Washington, DC
Amy Hughes, Daria Keynan, and Chris Stavroudis
Organizer: Stephanie Lussier


This workshop presents scientifically-based advanced cleaning techniques from an interdisciplinary perspective with an emphasis on bridging the gap between scientific theory and practice. Participants will explore the principles of conductivity and pH and their control in cleaning systems with consideration for applications including stain reduction on paper and textiles, as well as cleaning of contemporary paintings and exposed canvas.

Aesthetic improvement has been an integral component of conservation, beginning with the earliest restoration traditions, and it remains so whether practicing in a museum laboratory or when catering to the needs of private collectors. The conservation profession continues to strive to identify cleaning methods that achieve desirable results without compromising the physical stability or integrity of the artifacts that we treat. Applying conductivity theories to cleaning and stain reduction is perhaps the largest stride made in our field since chemical bleaches were closely examined in the late 1980s.

The workshop has an integrated format that includes lectures, hands-on sessions, as well as problem-solving discussions.

Participants will:

  • Gain an understanding of the theory behind aqueous cleaning systems and their potential relative to the surface conductivity of the artifact in need of treatment
  • Learn to prepare cleaning solutions, perform testing, and apply the test results to real-life treatment scenarios through the use of mock-ups and collections objects
  • Develop the ability to assess the behavior of various media and substrates within a variety of cleaning systems to assess risk to an artifact, and to anticipate its response to treatment
  • Return to their everyday work environments with new treatment skills and resources, and enhanced problem-solving abilities


The workshop is now sold out.

The fee for this course is $425 for AIC members; $595 for non AIC members. 
Registration is first come first serve. 12 participants

Register for this course by clicking here: AIC/FAIC Store - Events
If you experience difficulties please contact Online registration requires you to create a log-in (or to use one that you already have for our site) with a name and email address before you may purchase an event registration. No information aside from the username and email address is required to create a profile, but you will need a billing address to complete registration.

FAIC's registration policies for professional development programs can be found here.

About the Workshop

In 2002, conservators and conservation scientists from the Getty Conservation Institute in Los Angeles, the Tate in London, and the National Gallery of Art in Washington, undertook a groundbreaking collaboration on the cleaning of modern paints. Since 2006, the year of the Modern Paints Uncovered Symposium, many additional institutions and individual researchers have joined the initiative, conducting numerous technical studies on the subject. Throughout this decade of intense study, the conservation community faced a key challenge: bridging the gap between research and practice—a gap which has been slowly closing since the Cleaning Acrylic Painted Surfaces (CAPS) workshop was first offered in 2011. Still, these workshops are somewhat limited in scope, and do not address areas outside of contemporary paintings conservation. A few creative practitioners (including the instructors for this workshop) have recently been exploring the principles of conductivity and cleaning with consideration for other applications including stain reduction on paper and textiles, as well as cleaning of exposed canvas.

View a list of accommodations compiled for the convenience of out-of-town visitors. Please note that AIC/FAIC and Smithsonian American Art Museum in no way endorse these businesses.

About the Instructors

  • Amy Hughes is an Andrew W. Mellon Fellow in Paper Conservation at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, where she is researching the effects of conductivity on aqueous cleaning. Amy graduated in 2014 from NYU’s Institute of Fine Arts Conservation Center. Her prior experience includes fellowships and graduate internships at the Smithsonian Freer and Sackler Galleries, the Morgan Library & Museum, and Daria K. Conservation. In the fall of 2016, she will begin an Advanced Training Conservation Fellowship at the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C.
  • Daria Keynan is a paper conservator working in private practice in NYC. Her studio Daria K. Conservation, LLC  specializes in modern and contemporary art on paper. Daria was first introduced to the basics of pH and conductivity adjusted aqueous solutions in a 2009 workshop and has been making active use of this aqueous system in treatment since 2011. She has taught workshops on the use of the system in paper conservation and has trained a number of conservators in its uses.
  • Chris Stavroudis is a private paintings conservator in Los Angeles. He obtained undergraduate degrees in Chemistry and Art History from the University of Arizona and his Master’s degree from the University of Delaware/Winterthur conservation program in 1983. He developed the Modular Cleaning Program and teaches workshops on using the MCP. He is also one of the instructors for the GCI-sponsored Cleaning Acrylic Paint Surfaces (CAPS) workshops.

Scholarship Funding

FAIC/NEH Individual Professional Development Scholarships
With funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities, FAIC offers scholarships up to $1,000 to help defray professional development costs for individual members of AIC who are U.S. residents. Proposed projects are limited to expenses related to attending FAIC workshops supported by the NEH. Applications for funding due May 15 and September 15.


Donate to FAICWithout support, the registration fee for this workshop would be $1,400. FAIC relies on your contributions to support these and its many other programs.

Funding for this program comes from a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and generous support from Horiba Scientific. Additional funding comes from the Foundation of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artist Works Endowment for Professional Development, which was created by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and is supported by 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.


Contact: Sarah Saetren
FAIC Education Associate
(202) 661-8071

SACI Florence