As part of our educational mission, staff members teach an annual course, ART508, in conjunction with the Clark Art Institute and Williams College Graduate Program in the History of Art. The course is offered every spring semester and covers professional techniques and standards. It is a prerequisite for the Lennett Fellowship.

The goal of this course is to introduce the conservation field and the various ways cultural property deteriorates. This lecture series is used to broaden the understanding of cultural heritage management and preservation for future museum professionals.

The course focuses on preventive methods that stewards of cultural material utilize to ensure the long-term preservation of objects (and also the attendant information about them). Particular emphasis is given on how agents of deterioration may affect the interpretation of an object or artwork.

The class also instructs on how components of the object environment (light, temperature, humidity) affect various objects to include paintings, works on paper, textiles, objects, and furniture. This includes learning to identify deterioration caused by cumulative exposure, what practices are used to mitigate the progress of deterioration, and how exposure levels are monitored while objects are exhibited and stored. Additional topics include disaster preparedness and housekeeping with integrated pest management.