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CAA/American Institute for Conservation Award for Distinction in Scholarship and Conservation

The CAA/American Institute for Conservation Award for Distinction in Scholarship and Conservation recognizes outstanding contributions by one or more persons who, individually or jointly, have enhanced understanding of art through the application of knowledge and experience in conservation, art history, and art. The joint award with AIC was first presented in 2016. (The CAA/AIC award was formerly known as the CAA/Heritage Preservation Award for Distinction in Scholarship and Conservation.)

2016 Winner

Debra Hess Norris

Debra Hess Norris has perhaps done more than any single individual in the 21st century to further the cause of preservation of cultural heritage both nationally and internationally.  She is the only person who has served as President of both the American Institute for Conservation and Heritage Preservation/National Institute for Conservation. 

She has organized and taught more than 85 workshops on Emergency Preparedness/ Disaster Recovery and the preservation of photographic materials in locations including: Australia, India, Lebanon, Russia, New Zealand, Denmark, France, and throughout the U.S. from New York to California.  More than half of all the photograph conservators in the US (and many abroad) have been taught by Professor Norris, who is Chair and Director of Art Conservation at the University of Delaware, one of only four graduate programs in conservation in the US, where she has taught since 1982.  Her former students now head conservation departments in many major museums, libraries, and historical societies.

Professor Norris is a tireless advocate for preservation and conservation awareness and public outreach in the arts and humanities, encouraging all who work with her to do likewise. Norris was the obvious choice to lead the first Salzburg Global Seminar on “Connecting to the World’s Collections: Making the case for the conservation and preservation of our cultural heritage” in November 2009.  She has continued to arrange international partnerships, including successful initiatives to train more conservators and care for collections in Iraq, with additional plans to work with cultural heritage in Pakistan and Peru.

Professor Norris has published scores of articles on all aspects of photograph conservation, emergency preparedness, and advocacy for the conservation profession. She may be best known for her scholarly publication in which she co-edited a compilation of fundamental writings in the field of photograph conservation with Jennifer Jae Gutierrez. Titled Issues in the Conservation of Photographs and published by the Getty Conservation Institute in 2010, it is now a central text for anyone interested in the history of photograph conservation.

Debra Hess Norris embodies excellence in scholarship in the arts and humanities, and preservation of cultural resources, making her most deserving of this award.

Jury: Ellen Pearlstein, University of California, Los Angeles, chair; Brian Considine, J. Paul Getty Museum; and Glenn Wharton, New York University.

Past Winners

Conservators at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the National Gallery of Art, and, more recently, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum have all received the CAA/American Institute for Conservation Award. Independent scholars and conservators, such as Andrea Kirsch and Rustin S. Levenson (both 2001) and John Thorpe (2006) have also been honored. Perhaps the most international of CAA awards, recipients from institutions abroad include Paolo Cherchi Usai of the National Screen and Sound Archive in Australia (2005) and Ernst van de Wetering at the University of Amsterdam (2003).

2015 E. Melanie Gifford

Jury: Joyce Hill Stoner, Winterthur/University of Delaware, chair; Brian Considine, J. Paul Getty Museum; and Ellen Pearlstein, University of California, Los Angeles.

2014 Glenn Wharton

Jury: Joyce Hill Stoner, Winterthur/University of Delaware, chair; Brian Considine, J. Paul Getty Museum; and Ellen Pearlstein, University of California, Los Angeles

2013 Lance Meyer and Gay Myers

Jury: Nicholas Dorman, Seattle Museum of Art, chair; Joyce Hill Stoner, Winterthur Museum, Garden, and Library and the University of Delaware; and Rebecca Rushfield, independent conservator

2012 Francesca G. Bewer, Straus Center for Conservation and Technical Studies, Harvard Art Museums

Jury: Michele Marincola, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, chair; Nicholas Dorman, Seattle Museum of Art; and Rebecca Rushfield, independent conservator

2011 Joyce Hill Stoner, Art Conservation Department, University of Delaware

Jury: Michele Marincola, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, chair; Nicholas Dorman, Seattle Museum of Art; and Rebecca Rushfield, independent conservator

2010 David Bomford, J. Paul Getty Museum

Jury: Jonathan P. Binstock, Citi Private Bank Art Advisory Service, chair; Michele Marincola, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University; and Wynne Phelan, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

2009 Carol Stringari, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and Chris McGlinchey, Museum of Modern Art

Jury: Harry Cooper, National Gallery of Art, chair; Jonathan Binstock, Corcoran Gallery of Art; and Wynne Phelan, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

2008 Elizabeth S. Bolman, Tyler School of Art, Temple University

Jury: Harry Cooper, National Gallery of Art, chair; Jonathan Binstock, Corcoran Gallery of Art; Wynne Phelan, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Rebecca Rushfield, independent conservator

2007 Lawrence Becker, Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Christine Kondoleon, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Jury: Jay Krueger, National Gallery of Art, chair; Lisa Schrenk, Norwich University; Rebecca Rushfield, independent conservator; Harry Cooper, Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University

2006 Don Kalec, Historic Preservation Program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and John Thorpe, John Thorpe and Associates

Jury: Jay Krueger, National Gallery of Art, chair; Andrea Kirsh, University of Oregon; Rustin Levenson; Lisa Schrenk, Norwich University; Rebecca Rushfield

2005 Paolo Cherchi Usai, National Screen and Sound Archive in Australia

Committee: Elizabeth Darrow, independent scholar; chair; Andrea Kirsh, independent curator and scholar; Jay Krueger, National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; Lisa Schrenk, Norwich University; Rustin Levenson, Rustin Levenson Art Conservation Associates

2004 Carol Mancusi-Ungaro, Center for the Technical Study of Modern Art, Harvard University Museums, and Whitney Museum of American Art

Committee: Elizabeth Darrow, independent scholar; chair; James Coddington, Museum of Modern Art; Andrea Kirsh, independent curator and scholar; and Rustin Levenson, Rustin Levenson Art Conservation Associates

2003 Ernst van de Wetering, University of Amsterdam

Committee: Joyce Hill Stoner, University of Delaware and Winterthur Museum, Garden, and Library, chair; Jim Coddington, Museum of Modern Art; Elizabeth Darrow, University of Washington; and Joe Fronek, Los Angeles County Museum of Art

2002 Harry Cooper and Ron Spronk, Harvard University Art Museums

Committee: Joyce Hill Stoner, Winterthur Museum, chair; Frank Zuccari, Art Institute of Chicago; James Coddington, Museum of Modern Art; and Joe Fronek, Los Angeles County Museum of Art

2001 Andrea Kirsh, independent scholar and curator, and Rustin S. Levenson, independent paintings conservator

Committee: Joe Fronek, Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Barbara Mangum, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum; Joyce Hill Stoner, Winterthur Museum and University of Delaware; and Frank Zuccari, Art Institute of Chicago

2000 Christa C. Mayer Thurman, Art Institute of Chicago

Committee: Margaret Holben Ellis, Conservation Center of the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, chair; Barbara Magnum, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum; Alan Wallach, College of William and Mary; and Frank Zuccari, Art Institute of Chicago

1998 W. Thomas Chase, Arthur M. Sackler Gallery and Freer Gallery of Art, Smithsonian Institution

Committee: Alan Wallach, College of William and Mary, chair; Albert P. Albano, Intermuseum Conservation Association; Marjorie B. Cohn, Fogg Art Museum; and Margaret Holben Ellis, Conservation Center of the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University

1997 Henry W. Lie, Straus Center for Conservation, Harvard University

Committee: Alan Wallach, College of William and Mary, chair; Elizabeth Batchelor, Dayton Art Institute; Marjorie Cohn, Harvard Art Museums; and Jonathan Thornton, State University of New York, Buffalo

1996 Marjorie B. Cohn, Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University

Committee: Arthur K. Wheelock Jr., chair; James Coddington; E. Melanie Gifford; Debbie Hess Norris; Johathon Thornton, State University of New York, Buffalo

1995 Molly Ann Fairies, Indiana University

Committee: Arthur K. Wheelock Jr., National Gallery of Art, chair; James Coddington, Museum of Modern Art; and E. Melanie Gifford, National Gallery of Art, for CAA; Inge-Lise Eckmann, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and Debbie Hess Norris, University of Delaware for NIC

1994 Maryan Ainsworth, Metropolitan Museum of Art

Committee: Marcia Hall, Temple University, chair; E. Melanie Gifford, National Gallery of Art; and Arthur K. Wheelock Jr., National Gallery of Art, for CAA; Joyce Hill-Stoner, University of Delaware; and Barbara Heller, Detroit Institute of Arts, for NIC

1993 Arthur Wheelock, National Gallery of Art

Committee: Marcia Hall, Temple University, and Gridley McKim-Smith, Bryn Mawr College, for CAA; Joyce Hill-Stoner, University of Delaware, and Barbara Heller, Detroit Institute of Arts, for NIC

1992 Robert L. Feller, Research Center on Materials of the Artist and Conservator, Mellon Institute

Committee: Maryan Ainsworth, Metropolitan Museum of Art and Gridley McKim-Smith, Bryn Mawr College for CAA; Barbara Heller, Detroit Institute of Arts, and Ross Merrill, National Gallery of Art for NIC

1991 Gridley McKim-Smith, Greta Andersen-Bergdoll, Richard Newman, and Andrew Davidhazy

Committee: Maryan Ainsworth, Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Marcia Hall, Tyler School of Art, Temple University, for CAA; Ross Merrill, National Gallery of Art, and Joyce Hill Stoner, University of Delaware, for NIC