At the intersection of art and science, heritage and legacy

Teaching:  Courses and Workshops by Eric Doehne

What goes into the art, science, and practice of permanence?

What get preserved? How? Why? Who decides? What is lost?

These courses explore emerging issues in preservation, as well as they ways science and technology are changing how we understand, preserve, and disseminate our civilizations’ creative expressions in the arts and cultural heritage.

Link to related FAQ and Explainer:  WHAT IS ART CONSERVATION?

Current Courses for the Art Conservation Major 

at Scripps College, Claremont, CA

(Open to students from the 5 Claremont Colleges and CGU)

Art Conservation 115:  Art Crime—Plunder, Fakes and Forensics

(Fall 2014, Spring 2017, Spring 2020, Spring 2022 at Scripps College

Spring 2016 at Occidental College)

Art Conservation 101: Introduction to Art Conservation

(Spring 2011; Fall 2012, Spring 2018, Fall 2022 - Scripps College)

Art Conservation 110:  Artists’ Materials—Ancient and Modern

(Fall 2011, Fall 2013, Fall 2016, Spring 2019, Fall 2021, Fall 2023 - Scripps College)

Art Conservation 120:  Global Tourism, Climate Change, and World Heritage Preservation (Fall 2011, Fall 2015, Fall 2018, Fall 2020, Spring 2024 - Scripps College)

Art Conservation 125:  Preserving Cultural Landscapes

(Spring 2016, Spring 2021 - Scripps College)

Art Conservation 144:  Capturing Art—Digital Preservation and Analysis in 100 Objects, a Mellon Foundation-funded Digital Humanities Course

(Fall 2017, Fall 2019, Spring 2023 - Scripps College)

Course for ArtCenter College of Design, Pasadena, CA

HSCI-207A:  Artifacts, Crime + Materials

(Spring 2024)

These courses use current events, history, science, and technology to examine a wide range of interdisciplinary issues related to the past and future of our global cultural heritage. The possibilities are diverse since the topic is those parts of our civilizations worth preserving, which range from art collections, archaeology, architecture, and archives to intangible heritage (languages, cuisine, dance, etc.), as well as historic cities and sites. Add climate change, pollution, development, and tourism impacts, and the subject starts to broaden into what might be more accurately called Cultural Sustainability Science. A common thread to these things worth preserving is that they are being investigated, monitored, and re-contextualized.  In many cases, they are also being turned into digital objects. 

The courses also work to illuminate the many connections between our evolving science & technology, and our understanding and preservation of valuable heritage, whether it’s a classic car or a de Kooning, Venice or a Van Gogh. Even intangible heritage is coming to the fore, with classic recipes being preserved and travels chronicled.

Recent challenges include using computer science to read an intact ancient library of carbonized scrolls, rediscovering ancient methods for making pigments, sourcing recently looted antiquities using forensic science, and prolonging the life of World Heritage by analyzing risks that range from microbes to earthquakes, and the breath of tourists to flash floods. 

These courses have attracted participants from over 35 majors and are designed to appeal to those contemplating career options as researchers, managers, and practitioners in the preservation of cultural heritage, as well as those who would like to explore these topics for their own sake.

Courses in Development

ARCN 102:  The Science and Technology of Permanence:  How science and technology are changing how we understand, preserve, and disseminate our civilizations creative expressions

Art Conservation 10: Chemistry for Art. This course explores core concepts in materials and environmental chemistry through the study of works of art, laboratory creation of artists’ materials, and measurement of environmental degradation using state-of-the-art analytical instruments. The co-evolution of artists’ materials and chemistry reveals unexpected historical connections between the art of science and the science of art.

Geography/Environmental Analysis 147:  The Natural History of Visibility, Vistas, and Panoramas This course uses visibility, vistas, and panoramas to investigate the science and history behind how we literally see the world. How far we can see on a clear day? Is visibility a useful proxy for the health of the atmosphere? Why do we search for high ground when visiting a new city? What are the connections between Edvard Munch's The Scream, the explosion of Krakatoa, and modern geoengineering? 

Workshops and Short Courses Taught by Eric Doehne

1. Salts and Desalination talk, February 19, 2016 New Orleans, LA Salts of the Earth: Conservation of Historic Masonry Impacted by Salts and Rising Damp - A Symposium of the Louisiana Museum Foundation, Lecture and Panel Discussion.

2. Lecture, Workshop, and Panel Discussion: American Museum of Ceramic Art – AMOCA - Ceramics Conservation Workshop, Pomona, CA; Feb 22, 2014;

3. Invited lecture, workshop, and panel discussion, “Salinization and damage to historic materials: New Orleans, Venice, and Adelaide” Oct 25-26, 2013, Galveston Historical Foundation, Rising Damp Symposium;

4. Lecturer for Master-Doctorate Course: Global Change and Risks to Cultural Heritage, Centre de Recherche et de Restauration des Musées de France, Palais du Louvre, Paris, 10-14 Sept 2012, EUR-OPA Major Hazards Agreement, University of Cergy Pontoise, Centro Universitario Europeo per i Beni Culturali.

5. Developed and taught three PATRIMA Project Short Courses at the University of Cergy-Pontoise, France, as Cultural Heritage Chair in 2012.  1. Measuring Change in Artist Materials. 2. A new toolbox for Art Conservation:

Connecting research and practice with Internet and social networking tools 3. Climate Change, Sustainability, and Heritage Preservation

6. 2010 Desalination Workshop, New Orleans: Lead Scientist and Co-Organizer: Poultice Desalination of Porous Building Materials Workshop.

7. Instructor for Field Course, sponsored and hosted by, in Luxor, Egypt on Stone Conservation and the Treatment of Salt Weathering and Rising Damp. I created a two-week lecture/lab/field course for 25 conservation technicians working for the Ministry of Antiquities. January/February 2010.

8. Lecturer for The International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property in Rome (ICCROM–UNESCO).Venice Stone Conservation Course, May, 2009: Weathering and Treatment of Stone.