As Per My Last Experiment: Chemistry via Correspondence
Kasserine Ross-Sheppard is a Conservation Technician at MOTAT. She has a Masters of Cultural Materials Conservation from the University of Melbourne but came to conservation the long way round via a Bachelor of Arts in Film, Television and Media Studies, a Bachelor of Performing and Screen Arts in Production Design and Management, and several years working as a theatrical costumer. She found chemistry baffling at high school, abandoning it as soon as possible in favour of physics.
In 2019, MOTAT supported three Conservation Technicians to undertake the Chemistry for Conservators course run by International Academic Projects. Chemistry for Conservators is an intensive four-month training course designed for conservation professionals who lack a strong background in chemistry. The course is taught entirely via correspondence and includes both theory and practical experiments. While each of the technicians had had some previous chemistry training, none were particularly confident with connecting conservation principles with their chemical underpinnings. It was hoped that the Chemistry for Conservators course would increase both confidence and understanding. This lightning talk will describe the format and content of the course, as well as evaluating its efficacy as a way to increase confidence and understanding around chemical concepts.