Our Initiatives

Christa Gaehde Fund

The Christa Gaehde Fund was established through the Foundation of the American Institute for Conservation (FAIC) to promote study and research in the conservation of art on paper by members of AIC.

The Fund honors Christa Gaehde (1922-2002), a pioneer in paper conservation.Christa trained and worked in Germany before leaving in 1949 to become one of the first paper conservators in the United States. She was a founding member and Fellow of AIC, Fellow of IIC, and the first conservator to be elected to the Print Council of America. She co-authored one of the first books on paper conservation,A Guide to the Collecting and Care of Original Prints, in 1965.

The quality of her work was recognized by curators, collectors, dealers, and auction houses both in the United States and Europe.  To many colleagues, students, and interns with whom she generously and unassumingly shared her knowledge, she was a true mentor and role model.

Spotlight on Past Award Recipients: Grace White

Grace White won the award in 2012 in support of her attendance at the Papyrus conservation seminar, June 17-30, 2012 in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

How did the project benefit you as a professional?
I learned a great deal about the conservation of papyrus, which will serve me well here at the Duke University Libraries with our large papyrus collection.  Although I was already an experienced paper conservator, I had never treated papyrus before.  Now I feel capable of performing most basic treatments that may be required in our collection - aligning fibers, mending breaks, removing salts, humidifying, flattening, and mounting. It was also beneficial to interact with other professionals:  conservators, archaeologists, and papyrologists.  It was good to hear the other participants' different perspectives and experiences from the field and the lab.

What worked well? What could be improved?
The workshop was excellent.  The two weeks were mostly spent in hands-on treatment, which was an excellent way to learn.  We also spent time making papyrus, which was very instructional in understanding how papyrus reacts, and we made moisture-activated repair tissue in the conservation lab.  We also had some lectures and slide shows that tied in very well with the hands-on work.  One small change I might suggest would be having the papyrus-making earlier in the two weeks, because our papyrus was still damp when we took it home.  Leyla Lau-Lamb and her colleagues were wonderful, and the small size of the group was perfect.

What advice would you give to someone else who might be interested in pursuing a similar project?
This workshop was highly valuable and beneficial, and I would definitely recommend it to anyone needing beginning or intermediate training in papyrus conservation.  It was an intense two weeks full of work, but it was also thoroughly enjoyable and I was sorry when it was finished.