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Micro-Fade Testing

Page history last edited by Dale Kronkright 13 years, 9 months ago

Title: Micro-Fade Testing and the Preservation of Light Sensitive Museum Collections: Practical Uses for Complex Data


Presenter: Dale Kronkright, Head of Conservation, Georgia O'Keeffe Museum 


This presentation examines Micro-Fade Testing at the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum as a practical application for computer-based preservation science technologies.  Paul Whitmore developed the Micro-Fade Tester (MFT) eleven-years ago at Carnegie Mellon University.  Without sampling and without contact, the instrument focuses light to the diameter of a human hair, recording characteristics of light damage before such damage can be visibly detected.  The MFT non-destructively determines the remaining light-sensitivity of actual collection materials – e.g., the unique pigment mixtures applied by Georgia O’Keeffe on a specific paper substrate, with its own, unique exhibition history - and richly describes the complex sensitivity of collection items to light damage.  Those results, however, must be distilled to more simply show curators how much light “life-time” has been consumed by past exhibitions and how much remains.  The presentation demonstrates a practical, automated worksheet that shows, at a glance, the remaining available exhibition “life” for each light-sensitive object.


Session Info

  • Type: Individual Paper
  • Keywords: preservation, conservation, light sensitive materials, micro fade testing, exhibit lighting, conservation science, computer-based exhibition guidelines.
  • Relevance: This presentation is geared toward curators, collection managers, conservators and those involved in the exhibition and preservation of light sensitive materials in museums.  It demonstrates a computer-based interface that informs the exhibiton management of light sensitive materials with the data collected by conservators and conservation scientists in a distilled, simple and powerful summary graphic.



Presenter Bio:


Dale Kronkright is presently the Head of Conservation at the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum.  He has been Conservator there since it’s inception in 1997.  In 2000, Dale began research into O’Keeffe’s studio techniques with scientists and conservators at the National Gallery of Art, resulting in the exhibition and catalog “Color and Conservation” which was the summer exhibition at the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in 2006. 


 Also in 2000, Dale developed micro-environmental framing systems for the preservation of O’Keeffe’s paintings, pastels and watercolors.  In 2007, Dale began a collaborative project with the Getty Conservation Institute in Los Angeles and the University of Texas at El Paso for the preservation of O’Keeffe’s light sensitive watercolors and pastels. He is currently working with a team of engineers and scientists at Sandia National Labs and the NASA for the study and mitigation of vibration for art in transit.


Dale earned his BA in American Culture Studies from the University of California at Davis (1978) and his postgraduate certificate in Conservation at the Peabody Museum, at Harvard in 1983.  He has served as adjunct faculty at the Art Conservation Graduate Program at SUNY Buffalo since 1991. Dale holds numerous advanced certificates in scientific analytical methods and has received numerous national and state preservation awards.


Prior to coming to work for the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, Dale was Senior Conservator for the State of New Mexico for seven years and was Senior Conservator at the Regional Conservation Center, Bishop Museum, Honolulu from 1985 to 1991.  He has also served as an instructor and author for the Getty Conservation Institute since 1985.


Mr. Kronkright is a member of the International Institute for Conservation (IIC) and in 2010 was selected as one of eight international editors for the IIC journal Studies in Conservation.  He is Professional Associate in the American Institute for Conservation (AIC) where he also serves as a contributing book review author for the Journal of the American Institute for Conservation.  He is a member of Museum Computer Network and the Western Association of Art Conservators

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