November 12-15, 2024

Mechanical Insights: Shaping the Future of Museum Collection Preservation

We acknowledge that the land Getty inhabits today was once known as Tovaangar, the home of the Gabrieleño/Tongva people. We show our respects to the Gabrieleño/Tongva people, as well as all First People, past, present, and future, and honor their labor as original caretakers of this land. Getty commits to building relationships with the Gabrieleño/Tongva community. We invite you to acknowledge the history of this land and join us in caring for it.

Mechanical Insights: Shaping the Future of Museum Collection Preservation

November 12-15, 2024

Getty Center, Los Angeles

This symposium brings together an international group of experts in the mechanical characterization of historic and artists’ materials to discuss current and future trends in the study and preservation of museum collections. We will create a forum to discuss how mechanical research can inform decision-making in the management of museum environments, practical conservation, and the transportation of art objects.


Slowing or preventing physical changes in art objects is a fundamental and challenging aim for collections preservation. The role of scientific research is critical in understanding and quantifying processes that can affect collections, including, temperature- and humidity-induced strain, shock and vibration, material fatigue, damage by exposure to light and ultraviolet, and chemical interactions with pollutants. Knowledge of such processes will better inform appropriate object conservation strategies.

In the absence of this information and data, it is common in the museum community to adopt a "risk averse" approach, which can lead to adherence to stringent procedures and environmental conditions that can be prohibitively expensive, unsustainable, and significantly limit access to objects.

Research over the past decade has collected detailed material data to understand physical behavior, support modeling of failure mechanisms and identify the critical conditions that lead to physical change of museum objects.

Several scientific groups have focused on the development of data-based predictive tools that reflect the nuances of these degradation models. These tools enable practitioners to select materials and construction types, and define an object's state of conservation. The relevance of such tools depends on the implementation of effective validation procedures.

Discussion Topics

  • Laboratory testing of historical and mock-up samples to inform predictive models
  • Analyzing the risks to objects under external loads or subject to unstable climatic conditions
  • Validation of predictive models through in situ monitoring, case studies, and field campaigns
  • New and emerging technologies for mechanical testing and analysis of physical changes in cultural heritage materials
  • Development of data-based tools for predicting physical change to art objects
  • Development of knowledge-based strategies for environmental management

Scientific Committee:

Vincent Beltran, Getty Conservation Institute

Alexandra Bridarolli, Getty Conservation Institute

Rita Cavalcante, Getty Conservation Institute

Ashley Freeman, Getty Conservation Institute

Naoki Fujisawa, Getty Conservation Institute

Jonah Halili, Getty Conservation Institute

Arlen Heginbotham, Decorative Arts Conservation

Michal Lukomski, Getty Conservation Institute

Rachel Rivenc, Getty Research Institute

Cecilia Winter, Getty Conservation Institute


For questions about the program or to inquire about accommodations and logistics please contact

Code of Conduct

The Organizing Committee for the Mechanical Insights Symposium is committed to fostering a positive experience for all Symposium attendees regardless of race, ethnicity, gender or gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, religious affiliation, disability, or physical appearance.

We expect all participants to exercise respect in their speech and actions to help ensure a safe environment for everybody.

By choosing to register for Mechanical Insights Symposium, you agree to this Code of Conduct.


Getty Center

1200, Getty Center Drive Los Angeles, CA USA, 90049

Registration period

June 3, 2024 - 12:00 AM until November 11, 2024 - 7:59 AM

Submission period

April 10, 2024 - 12:00 AM until June 10, 2024 - 8:59 AM

Contact us

If you have any questions, please contact .

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