has announced a $2 million grant from the to advance the field of conservation science.
The grant will support the and its Aging Diagnostics Laboratory, which is developing new tools and techniques to monitor and slow the degradation of cultural objects and collections. The university aims to raise an additional $3 million within five years to endow a fund for conservation science at IPCH. The lab is led by chemist Paul Whitmore, who invented a device that predicts color changes induced by light striking a pigmented surface over time and provides empirical data to inform lighting policies for exhibiting artworks safely. His team also is exploring new lighting systems based on LEDs and gas sensors that can detect the earliest stages of an object's deterioration.
"What we aim to do is understand the future life of objects — that is, we project the changes that may occur to alter an object's appearance or structure, identify factors that might speed those changes, and develop strategies to slow them," said Whitmore.
The lab moved to Yale in 2013 from , where it was known as the Art Conservation Research Center. The Mellon Foundation also has supported IPCH's Technical Studies Laboratory, which conducts technological research, with a focus on the manufacture, authenticity, and life history of cultural heritage.
"Our cultural and natural heritage is increasingly threatened with destruction, not only by physical and chemical causes of decay, but also by changing social and economic conditions," said inaugural IPCH director Stefan Simon. "The world is changing at a rapid pace, and research as well as academic training must keep up with these challenges."