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Outreach and Advocacy

K-12 Education

Below is information that can assist conservators or educators in presenting the field of conservation to a K-12 audience. Areas of efforts include maintaining a centralized list of conservators willing to participate in educational projects such as visiting schools, giving lab tours, or offering workshops or classes in their local area, assembling web resources that discuss conservation, chemistry or art history and would be useful in lesson plans and providing a place for sharing resources developed by AIC members that can be used for educational outreach.

This information has been compiled by AIC's Education Outreach Working Group. In the future, work will expand to identify ways for conservators assist with outreach efforts by working with professional organizations that develop K-12 curricula in the arts and sciences.  The information presented here is merely a start.

Would you like to contribute resources or participate in the working group? Please email K-12@conservation-us.org.

Local Contacts

In an effort to match educators with local conservators, AIC's Education Outreach Working Group has established a list of AIC members willing to share their knowledge and expertise.  Personal contact information will not be made available on the web.  Inquiries from educators interested in contacting a local area conservator to collaborate on workshops or presentations in the classroom, museum or cultural heritage site will be directed to K-12@conservation-us.org  and a Working Group member will respond with the appropriate name and information if someone is available in that area.  AIC member participants may identify ways in which they should be contacted and the type of outreach they are willing to provide.  Interested AIC Members should send an email for more information to K-12@conservation-us.org. 

Web Resources

These links and resources are intended to assist conservators as well as educators in presenting information about the field of art conservation to students of all ages. Conservators may find this information useful in preparing workshops for the public or for students, or for other outreach activities; museum educators and teachers can explore these links for ideas and concepts to introduce. This list will continue to grow and more content will be added as it becomes available.


The following links are activities, information, and lesson plans posted by museums or cultural heritage institutions.

Science & Art Conservation: Resources for Teachers from Emory University

The Michael C. Carlos Museum at Emory University has collaborated with Atlanta-area teachers to create eight fully-developed, ready-to-use lesson plans focusing on topics in art conservation. Case- and problem-based learning units as well as lab activities are available and have been aligned with Georgia state standards. Each topic includes a teacher and student guide, context images and additional resources.

Target Age: High school biology and chemistry classes

Conservation Projects at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

These pages introduce several different conservation projects at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, each of which offers a brief overview of the treatment/research undertaken. The online booklet on Finishing Techniques in Metalwork presents laboratory exercises with detailed exploration of the chemical processes involved.  The lessons may be enhanced by presentation in conjunction with a museum visit, where objects made by these techniques may be seen. Supplementary information for incorporating these activities into the curriculum is available.

Target Age: High school and introductory college chemistry classes

Art & Science Curriculum

The Getty Museum offers twelve thorough downloadable lesson plans, with activities based on the science behind art and artists’ materials. These lessons use the Getty's collections and conservation practices to address the science of art production, conservation, and scholarship.

Target Age: Several levels of information ranging from elementary through high school

Interactive feature: Fragment to Vase

Fragment to Vase websiteThe Getty Museum’s online exhibition Fragment to Vase allows viewers to follow along in the conservation of ancient Greek ceramics. Explore the decisions around what to do with ancient or 18th-century restorations, look inside an object with x-rays, and see how digital imaging is used to weigh different approaches to the restoration of missing areas of the design. 

Target Age: All ages

Science, Art and Technology Self-Guides

The Art Institute of Chicago’s web resources present a variety of videos, self-guided tours and lesson plan ideas, all involving the intersection of science, art, and technology. The lessons call upon objects in the collection to illustrate various themes and concepts, and can be introduced in conjunction with a visit to the museum.

Target Age: High school

Art Detective 

The Tate has created an interactive game (Flash-based) that guides learners to consider questions similar to those conservators would ask about an art object: what is it made of, how was it made, what tools were used, where did the material come from?  The activity is a basic introduction to art, artists’ materials and techniques.

Target Age: Elementary school

Web-based Publishers

This list includes digital publications that are not associated with particular museums or cultural institutions.
  • Science-focused activities
  • Artists’ materials and manufacturing

Investigating Bellini’s Feast of the Gods

From WebExhibits.org, this in-depth investigation of Bellini’s Feast of the Gods presents art historical, cultural and scientific information to contextualize the painting for students. Investigative techniques are introduced and discussed, providing an applied example of sophisticated analysis and its relevance to the study of art. 

Target Age: High school and above

Why are Things Colored?

FromWebExhibits.org, this web resource leads users through various issues related to light, including color temperature. Beginning with basic introductions, the text provides specific examples to illustrate real world examples of the issues discussed. The lesson concludes with a basic lab exercise focused on creating an incandescent light source. 

Target Age: Middle school though high school

Pigments Through the Ages

Pigment Through the Ages websiteA modern, comprehensive website on pigments and their use in painting, also part of the WebExhibits.org site.
From the site: "Pigments through the Ages is one of several exhibits in the WebExhibits online museum, all of which promote discovery through multidisciplinary approaches that support all learning styles. WebExhibits is a public service of the Institute for Dynamic Educational Advancement (IDEA)."

Target Age: Elementary through middle school

From Colorlex, this web resource on pigments provides a detailed discussion of pigments, including instructions on how to make various pigment-based media such as oil paints or pastels. The text includes an introduction to a variety of common pigments, and a timeline of pigment use. 

Target Age: All ages

Periodic Tables and Elements

From Chem4kids.com, this resource offers a basic introduction to the periodic table, with links to specific elements. While there is no information per se on artists’ materials or techniques, the chemistry presented could be useful as a supplement to such lessons.

Target Age: Elementary through middle school

Chemistry Science Fair Projects

Education.com hosts science fair projects for different topics, including chemistry. This site provides ideas for corrosion and coatings science fair projects. It can encourage experimentation in the use of coatings as a means towards mitigating environmental effects.

Target Age: Middle school through high school

Marguerite Makes A Book 

While not a web resource per se, this children’s book published by the J. Paul Getty Museum focuses on the production of illuminated manuscripts. As such, it could be used to help younger students become more familiar with this type of artists’ production. The book has a page offering teaching tools for the classroom

Target Age: Young readers

Shared Resources

Many conservators have developed workshop materials, presentations, science lab activity ideas,or other materials for educational outreach.  Members interested in sharing their resources with colleagues and educators can submit them for inclusion on this page or provide a link to their own website or blog.

Los Angeles County Museum of Art
in collaboration with Heritage Preservation
Three downloadable lesson plans were developed for a 1995-6 outreach program titled Evenings for Educators, which focused on familiarizing students with art and the need for preservation of cultural property.  The activities involve both discussion-centered lessons and hands-on exercises that introduce artists’ techniques, with opportunities for k-12 level learning.

About the Education Outreach Working Group

AIC's Education Outreach Working Group was formed in 2010 in response to member requests for information that would assist conservators or educators in presenting the field of conservation to a K-12 audience. AIC Members who are intersted in participating in the working group should send an email for more information to K-12@conservation-us.org

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