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July 15, 2011

Museum Professional Manages and Participates in Conservation and Research of a Painted Room

Shelley Svoboda, Colonial Williamsburg conservator of paintings, discusses the history, ongoing conservation treatment and current research on a rare and beautiful painted room from 1836 in “Revealing Surfaces: Conserving a Southern Painted Room.” This hour-long lecture begins at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, July 21 at the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum.

Svoboda explores the conservation of the Carolina Room, an important 19th-century room rescued from a North Carolina house. Perhaps the single largest piece in the Foundation’s Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum, this object reveals a fascinating story from its creation and acquisition to its current conservation treatment. The beautiful original decorative paint scheme of the room was recently revealed in its entirety during conservation treatment. The lecture highlights what is known about the room and details the ongoing conservation.

Svoboda earned a bachelor’s degree in biology and a bachelor’s degree in studio art. She has a master’s degree from the Winterthur/University of Delaware Art Conservation Program. She has worked on site at Chateau Daubigny in France and in the Senate Corridors of the U.S. Capitol. She was a staff conservator for both the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Baltimore Museum of Art before joining Colonial Williamsburg in 2003 as the Foundation’s painting conservator. In addition to caring for the paintings in the Foundation’s collection, she is engaged in collaborative research on the analytical applications of Surface Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy (SERS) with a team at the College of William and Mary, recently publishing in the American Chemical Society’s Analytical Chemistry.

The conservation of the Carolina Room was made possible by Mr. and Mrs. Rex A. Lucke of Elkhorn, Nebraska and the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional conservation support is provided by the Mildred and J.B. Hickman Conservation Endowment Fund and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Endowed Conservation Fund.

“Conservation and the Paradox of Restoration” is the next program in Colonial Williamsburg’s museum lecture series at the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum. John Watson, the Foundation’s conservator of instruments and mechanical arts, explores conservation approaches to restoration that recognize the existence, value and vulnerability of historical evidence. Watson discusses how conservators using new, less intrusive restoration methods seek to preserve not just the beauty and function of old things, but the record of history within them. This hour-long program begins at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 18.

A Colonial Williamsburg admissions ticket, museum pass or Good Neighbor card provides access to this lecture.

Programs and exhibitions at The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation’s DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum are supported by the DeWitt Wallace Endowment Fund.

The Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg include the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum and the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum. The Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum is home to the nation’s premier collection of American folk art, with more than 5,000 folk art objects made during the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. The DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum exhibits the best in British and American decorative arts from 1670–1830.

The Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg are located at the intersection of Francis and South Henry Streets in Williamsburg, Va., and are entered through the Public Hospital of 1773. Museum hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday through March 13. For museum program information, telephone (757) 220-7724.

The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is the not-for-profit educational and cultural organization that preserves and operates the restored 18th-century Revolutionary capital of Virginia as a town-sized living history museum, telling the inspirational stories of our nation’s founding men and women. Williamsburg is located in Virginia’s Tidewater region, 20 minutes from Newport News, within an hour’s drive of Richmond and Norfolk, and 150 miles south of Washington, D.C., off Interstate 64. For more information about Colonial Williamsburg, call 1-800-HISTORY or visit Colonial Williamsburg’s website at

Media Contact:
Penna Rogers
(757) 220-7121