Jason Schermer December 2018


December 2018


5825 Lande r b rook Dr i ve , Su i t e 124 , May f i e l d He i gh t s , OH 44124

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Museum Junkie

Exploring Cleveland’s ICA Art Conservation

I want to begin by saying that I am a huge museum junkie. I practically grew up at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago! So when a patient invited me to tour the Intermuseum Conservation Association (ICA) Art Conservation in Cleveland, I couldn’t have been more excited. The ICA is a not-for-profit art conservation center where the staff preserves almost any kind of artwork or historical artifact, including paintings, sculptures, books, and textiles. They work with museums and private collectors to keep artifacts preserved for generations to come. One of the coolest things I saw was the ICA’s pigment collection. One of the women who works there told me how paint pigments can help them date a painting. They can take a little piece of paint, look at what ingredients were put into the paint or when that color was being used, and determine what year it was painted. They’ve had a lot of paintings come in from collectors who believe the painting to be extremely old only to test the pigment and find the paint wasn’t developed until 100 years later! How did I not know this incredible place existed until my patient told me about it? As a kid, my whole family were members at the Field Museum. We’d go to the member’s nights all the time to see behind the scenes

of the different collections and the labs. It was really cool. Years later, when I was in undergrad, I took classes at the Field Museum, where I got to go further behind the scenes. I love visiting museums and seeing the collections, but I think I like taking those backstage tours even more. Observing the museum collections is like watching a movie or reading a novel, but going behind the scenes is like reading a rough draft. You get to see everything that goes into preparing the pieces for display. There’s a lot more craft than you’d expect. I was in hog heaven at the ICA. Any opportunity to visit a museum or see something museum- related is a good day. Of all the museums I’ve visited, the Field Museum is still my favorite. It’s my anchor museum. It feels like coming home. There are sections that are the same as when I was a kid, while other areas have been redone or modernized. Though I prefer the older exhibits, I’ve noticed my kids tend to gravitate to the newer displays. I think that’s pretty cool because those displays will be their anchor to the Field Museum. As adults, they’ll remember a different version of the museum than I do and be able to share those memories with their kids.

How did I not know this incredible place existed until my patient told me about it?

is going to drag them to this time. We’re members at the Great Lakes Science Center in Cleveland. While it’s no Field Museum, it’s still really cool. They have exhibits that let visitors go from the Amazon rainforest and straight into outer space, with tons of interactive displays the kids have always loved. Plus, our membership extends to a bunch of other museums and cultural centers in Cleveland, like the Cleveland Botanical Garden. I guess what I’m trying to say is this: If you need something to do with your family over winter break, you can’t go wrong with a museum. –-Jason A. Schermer

Today, when my family goes on trips, the kids always wonder which museum Dad


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