The field of engineering comprises several disciplines that throughout history have contributed to our ability to engage with the world’s resources for the betterment of mankind. In recent years these same disciplines have increasingly been employed in the preservation of cultural heritage objects such as sculpture, paintings, textiles, and buildings. This presentation will provide an overview of recent examples of how engineering has contributed to the fields of art and building conservation as well as discuss how universities currently engaged in engineering education can further contribute to this nascent but growing field.
George Wheeler is former Director of Conservation in the graduate Historic Preservation Program at Columbia University following a distinguished 25-year career in the Department of Scientific Research at the Metropolitan Museum of Art where he continues to serve as a Senior Research Scholar. He is currently the Senior Scientist for both Highbridge Materials Consulting and Building Conservation Associates. Dr. Wheeler is a leading expert in stone conservation and has published numerous articles, chapters in books, and co-edited several volumes including two for the Materials Research Society on Materials Issues in Art and Archaeology. His book, Alkoxysilanes and the Consolidation Stone, was published by the J.P. Getty Trust in 2005. He holds an MA in art history from the City University of New York, an MS in art conservation from New York University’s Institute of Fine Arts, Conservation Center, and an M.S., and Ph.D. in chemistry also from NYU. He is a Fellow of the American Academy in Rome, the American Institute for Conservation, and the International Institute for Conservation.