November 12-15, 2024

Mechanical Insights: Shaping the Future of Museum Collection Preservation

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Mechanical Insights: Shaping the Future of Museum Collection Preservation

Close up of hands positioning a ruler onto a wooden piece
Photo : Anna Flavin, © J. Paul Getty Trust

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

Abstract Submissions

The call for abstract submissions is now open for poster and oral communications.

How to submit

Submissions, of 400 words or fewer, are now accepted on the 'abstract submission' page of the symposium website.

  • Deadline for submission extended from May 27, 2024 to June 7th, 2024.
  • Notification of acceptance: July 7, 2024

Authors of the abstracts chosen for oral presentation will be expected to present their work as a 20-minute presentation followed by a 5-minute question-and-answer session. In addition, a select number of poster presenters will also have the opportunity to orally present their research during 3-minute flash presentations. All selected abstracts will be included in the symposium preprints.

Registration (Opening June 3, 2024)

Registration will open June 3, 2024 and will be available via the online form on the symposium website.

Early-bird registration ends October 24, 2024.

Registration prices:

$150 (full price) / $75 (students and postdocs) - Early bird

$200 (full price) / $100 (students and postdocs) - Regular

Registration will include:

  • morning and afternoon tea and coffee service for the three days of the symposium
  • lunch for the three days of the symposium
  • evening welcome reception

There will be a conference dinner for an additional fee.

Financial Assistance

The Getty Conservation Institute will provide financial support to a limited number of candidates. Those wishing to receive financial support should indicate this on the registration form with a brief justification. Priority will be given to participants accepted for poster or oral presentation.

The extent of support will be determined on a case-by-case basis after review of the candidate's application.

Scientific Committee:

Vincent Beltran, Getty Conservation Institute

Alexandra Bridarolli, Getty Conservation Institute

Ashley Freeman, Getty Conservation Institute

Naoki Fujisawa, Getty Conservation Institute

Arlon Heginbotham, Decorative Arts Conservation

Michal Lukomski, Getty Conservation Institute

Rachel Rivenc, Getty Research Institute


Program details will be available soon on the symposium website.

Confirmed Speakers:

Lukasz Bratasz, Polish Academy of Sciences, Poland

Kenneth Shull, Northwestern University, USA

Emanuela Bosco, Eindhoven University of Technology, Netherlands

Michael Kaliske, TU Dresden, Germany

Marco Fioravanti, University of Florenze, Italy

David Thickett, The National Trust, UK

Shant Kenderian, Materials Processing Department Space Materials Laboratory, The Aerospace Corporation

Adam Stieg, Nano & Pico Characterization Lab

Emma Richardson, Image Permanence Institute, Rochester Institute of Technology,


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.

Tentative Schedule

MI Schedule.png


Getty Center

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

Submission period

April 10, 2024 - 12:00 AM until May 27, 2024 - 11:59 PM

Contact us

If you have any questions, please contact .

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