Solving the Puzzles of the Past, and Finding New Puzzles, Too: Historic Preservation Goes Digital

Jan 9, 2015

On this installment of ST, a fascinating chat about historic preservation -- how it works, how it's changed over the years, and how we learn so much from it -- with Fenella France, who's the Chief of the Preservation Research and Testing Division at the Library of Congress. She's also worked for the Smithsonian Institution and the National Park Service, and from 2001 to 2007, she was the project and scientific manager for Art Preservation Services in New York. She holds both a Ph.D and a master's degree in textile science, and from 1989 to 1998, at the University of Otago -- in her native New Zealand -- France served as a research fellow, a textile-science lecturer, and later a research manager. In 1998, she came to the States to work as the technical manager of the Star-Spangled Banner Project at the Smithsonian. She's clearly, then, an expert in her field, and she'll be participating in the Helmerich Center for American Research's Inaugural Symposium, entitled "The Gilcrease Archives: Unlocking the History of the Americas," which will happen in late March at the Gilcrease Museum. France was in town recently to have an initial look-see at the many archival treasures at Gilcrease, and she stopped by our studios while she was here.