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X-RAY RUNS: Apply for Beamtime

2017  Nov 1 - Dec 21

2018  Feb 7 - Apr 3
2018  Proposal/BTR deadline: 12/1/17

2018  Apr 11 - Jun 4
2018  Proposal/BTR deadline: 2/1/18

On January 22, fifteen regional participants from diverse fields – chemists, art historians, curators, art conservators, and conservation scientists – gathered at CHESS to discuss applications of x-ray fluorescence imaging in the cultural heritage world. Four participants also joined the group via Webex from Buffalo and New York City. The institutions represented included Ithaca College (chemistry and art history), Hobart and William Smith Colleges (chemistry), SUNY Buffalo (art conservation), SUNY Stony Brook (conservation science), New York University (art conservation), the Metropolitan Museum of Art (art conservation), the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art (art history and education), the Cornell Library Rare & Manuscript Collections (art history), the Dowd Gallery at SUNY Cortland (art history), the Binghamton University Art Museum (art history), and West Lake Conservators (art conservation).

The mini-workshop consisted of two short talks. Post-doctoral researcher Louisa Smieska introduced the concepts behind x-ray fluorescence mapping, and provided examples of macro-XRF applied to the study of paintings, illuminated manuscripts, ceramics, and stained glass. Senior scientist Arthur Woll discussed typical project sequences and possible outcomes for cultural heritage research at CHESS, and illustrated the process with the case study of Picasso’s Blue Room, scanned in 2012. Lively discussions explored the assumptions that must be made to create digital reconstructions of faded images, strategies for XRF depth resolution, and further details on the technical capabilities at CHESS. The workshop concluded with a tour of CHESS led by Dr. Woll (pictured).

The workshop sparked several project ideas that are now being actively pursued and some attendees are seeking collaborators with complementary expertise at their home institutions. Others who joined this workshop with substantial previous experience in XRF are planning to become CHESS users, and will attend the technical workshop on XRF mapping later this spring to get hands-on experience. Time will reveal the full impact of new collaborations established at the workshop, but this low-barrier-to-entry format seems to be a promising way to develop new CHESS user communities.

Left to right: Abbott Nixon (West Lake Conservators); Louisa Smieska (CHESS); Patrick Ravines (Director of Art Conservation Dept., SUNY Buffalo State); Alana Ryder (Andrew W. Mellon Curatorial Coordinator for Academic Programs, Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art); Arthur Woll (CHESS); Raphael Shea (West Lake Conservators); Walter Bowyer (Dept. of Chemistry, Hobart and William Smith Colleges); Chiara Kuhns (West Lake Conservators); Michael Haaf (Dept. of Chemistry, Ithaca College). [Photo: Andy Weislogel]



Submitted by: Louisa Smieska, CHESS, Cornell University