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Bollinger gift establishes new conservation fellowship

By Margaret Rine

Thanks to a generous gift from Judy and Bill Bollinger, the Ransom Center announces its first post-graduate conservation fellow. Kimberly Kwan, who holds a master of arts degree in conservation with a specialization in book and archive materials from Camberwell College of Arts in London, and a bachelor of arts degree in art history and book and media studies from the University of Toronto, begins a two-year assignment in September.


“Under the direction of Associate Director and Head of Preservation and Conservation Ellen Cunningham-Kruppa, the Ransom Center will offer a world-class experience for a young conservation professional while simultaneously advancing the care of the Center’s world-renowned collections,” says Center Director Stephen Enniss. “The Bollinger’s support of this initiative will not only benefit our Preservation and Conservation Division but will help develop future generations of conservators.”


Kimberly Kwan. Photo by Pete Smith.
Kimberly Kwan. Photo by Pete Smith.

The conservation profession has long realized the benefit of offering new conservators the opportunity to gain advanced experiences beyond a graduate program and internship.  Many young professionals are hired into jobs with the understanding that they will spend a good amount of time honing their skills as they work. However, many smaller institutional conservation departments have few senior conservators on staff to aid new professionals with their treatment and research skills, much less their ability to manage a conservation operation—including developing policies and procedures, interacting with curatorial staff, and serving on institutional committees.


Since the establishment of the Ransom Center’s preservation and conservation division in 1980, Cunningham-Kruppa notes that it has earned an international reputation for excellence and leadership in the field.


“Our reputation helped to attract many outstanding applicants for this newly established fellowship. As a result, we were able to choose from the best of the best,” says Cunningham-Kruppa. “I was especially gratified by calls and emails from my colleagues across the country acknowledging and celebrating the role this new position would play in strengthening the profession.”


Kwan was drawn to the fellowship for several reasons. “Obviously the Ransom Center has an amazing range of materials within its collections, and I look forward to working and becoming more familiar with them. What excites me the most though is the team I’ll be working with, both within and outside of the division. As an emerging conservator, it is really important to gain experience beyond just benchwork,” she says.


Cunningham-Kruppa explains that “the goal is to ready Kwan to function at a high level in the work place and to provide leadership in the profession. Our deep connections in the field allow us to position her to interact with the conservation community beyond the Ransom Center. In addition to attending national conferences, Kwan will engage with conservators across Texas, visiting with private and institutional operations in Austin, Fort Worth, Dallas, and Houston.”


“As a conservation educator, I know firsthand how transformational this fellowship will be,” Cunningham-Kruppa adds. “I am very grateful to the Bollingers for making this investment, not only to support the work of the Ransom Center, but to assist institutions around the world who depend on conservators to preserve our cultural materials.”

Related content
Read about some of the work happening in the preservation and conservation division.


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