Stefan Simon is the Inaugural Director of the Institute for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage (IPCH) at Yale University, dedicated to advancing the field of heritage science by improving the science and practice of conservation in a sustainable manner. He is responsible for directing the intellectual, creative, programmatic, and operational leadership of the Institute, leading multidisciplinary collaborations at the convergence of Yale’s academic programs and outstanding collections. Simon has oversight for the Institute’s six state-of–the-art laboratories, spanning Aging Diagnostics, Conservation, Digitization, Lens Media, Sustainable Conservation and Technical Studies.
Trained as a conservation scientist, Simon earned his Ph.D. in Chemistry from the Ludwig Maximilian University, Munich. He has broad experience in scientific research, specializing in material deterioration diagnostics, microanalytics, climatology, and non-destructive mechanical testing. Simon served as Director of the Rathgen Research Laboratory at the National Museums in Berlin — the oldest museum laboratory in the world – and as a member and Vice President of ICCROM, the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property. He is the current President of the International Council on Monuments and Sites’ (ICOMOS) Scientific Committee for Stone.
As director of the IPCH, Simon has prioritized the advancement of sustainable conservation strategies triggered by global climate change, the green museum debate, the development of analytical technologies and questions of conservation documentation and access in the digital age. Dr. Simon is a leading voice in the international culture in crisis debate and involved in various collaborative efforts to rescue and preserve cultural heritage. In response to the recent and ongoing destruction of historical sites in the Middle East and Africa, the IPCH and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, were granted UNESCO patronage to bring together the international conservation and preservation community to discuss ways of counteracting the massive loss of cultural heritage. He is also acting on public stage as a strong advocate against illicit traffic and for the study of authenticity questions.
Dr. Simon is the founder and former director of the private laboratory KDC Konservierung & Denkmalpflege Cons. in Olching, Germany. In 2005 he led the Building Materials section at the Getty Conservation Institute, Los Angeles, overseeing a range of projects with international partners to advance conservation practice and enhance understanding of historic buildings and sites. Simon is a corresponding member of the German Archaeological Institute, and has been recognized with Honorary Professorships at X´ian Jiaotong University, China, and at the Technical University of Berlin. He has co-authored and published more than 125 articles on the preservation of cultural heritage.