The Institute for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage (IPCH), established by a transformational gift from Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin (Yale College ’78), is dedicated to advancing the sustainable care, study, and use of the world’s cultural heritage through multidisciplinary research, innovation in technology and conservation practice, education, and advocacy. At the crossroads of technology, the Institute is home to state-of-the-art conservation studios, research laboratories, and a digital heritage program. Led by Senior Director Mary Miller, IPCH develops cutting-edge research and teaching in a multidisciplinary setting as well engaging with Yale’s collections and academic programs.
The Institute is located on Yale’s West Campus in West Haven, Connecticut, and is comprised of six state of the art laboratories.
The Technical Studies Lab conducts objects-based and technological research, which involves the examination and analysis of objects for evidence of their manufacture, authenticity and life history. It furthermore aims at developing or adapting innovative methods of materials characterization. The laboratory is headed by Dr. Anikó Bezur.
Under the direction of Dr. Paul Whitmore, the Aging Diagnostics Lab also includes conservation scientists Dr. Rui Chen, and Dr. Pablo Londero. The lab studies the causes of chemical and physical degradation in art objects and aims to develop novel analytical techniques that can measure and monitor aging and changes as a function of time and environmental conditions.
The IPCH Digitization Lab is managed by Digital Imaging Specialist Chelsea Graham and provides expertise and facilities for the creation, management, preservation, and accessibility of digital cultural heritage on Yale’s campus and beyond. Digital technologies provide opportunities to analyze, document, and study cultural heritage in collaboration with Yale’s collections. Professor Dr. Holly Rushmeier from the department of Computer Science is leading its profile in cultural heritage computing, currently supported by Post-Doc Dr. Ying Ying.
The IPCH Conservation Lab, a state-of-the-art conservation space shared by all collections at Yale, is overseen by a steering committee currently chaired by Ian McClure, Susan Morse Hilles Chief Conservator at Yale University Art Gallery. It is designed to accept a wide range of projects as well as large scale objects for investigation and treatment. This lab opened in March 2015.
Lead by Dr. Lukasz Bratasz, the Sustainable Conservation Lab (SCL) focuses on developing strategies for sustainable safeguarding of cultural heritage, especially in terms of understanding and assessing the environmental impact on heritage materials and objects. In addition, it is interested in developing tools for integrated risk management and energy efficient strategies of climate control in museums and historic buildings. This lab was inaugurated in June 2015. The SCL collaborates with professor Holly Rushmeier on analysis of craquelure pattern formation. Understanding the mechanism leading to stabilization of existing cracks in paint layers is key for designing new and sustainable strategies for climate control in museums. This research is supported by Post-Doc Dr. Mohammad Reza Vaziri Sereshk. D. Michelle Addington, Hines Professor of Sustainable Architectural Design, is officially collaborating with the SCL in her research on energy systems, advanced materials, and new technologies.
The goals of the Lens Media Lab (LML) are focused on the preservation and characterization of photographic materials with an emphasis on creating and interpreting large datasets gleaned from reference, archival, and museum collections. Building on this base, collaborations across disciplines in the humanities and sciences will be fostered to assemble and interpret datasets derived from a broad spectrum of cultural heritage materials. Paul Messier serves as the inaugural head of the LML and began at IPCH in September 2015.
In fall 2015, IPCH most recent research laboratory, the Built Heritage Lab (BHL) began its operations with Post-Doc Dr. Goze Akoglu. The research agenda of the Built Heritage Lab is focusing on deterioration and conservation of immovable cultural heritage , building materials, objects and sites, and related questions of documentation and monitoring in times of environmental change. In response to the imminent challenges posed by the current crisis, the BHL is preparing a World Heritage Site (WHS) collaborative project in order to contribute to the implementation of quality practices in conservation of World Heritage Sites, integrated into the surrounding culture, community and environment and to address the existent gap between conservation theory, ethics, science and practice of preservation. Starting from October 2016, Dr. Saima Akhtar joined the Built Heritage Lab to work on Project Anqa, a multi-partner project that counters the loss of cultural heritage sites across the Middle East, most notably in Syria and Iraq.