U. of C. Art History Department receives $1 million for art conservation curriculum

Caroline Longo, a student in Suzanne Deal Booth Seminar “The Material Science of Art,” prepares to use x-radiography to examine “The Penitent St. Jerome” at the Smart Museum of Art, 5550 S. Greenwood Ave. (Contributed photo)


Suzanne Deal Booth, a California vintner and art philanthropist, has donated $1 million to the University of Chicago Art History Department a year after it began an art conservation teaching collaboration with the Art Institute of Chicago, allowing the five-year pilot initiative to continue in perpetuity.

The initiative, which includes conservation science courses, art conservation funding and an undergraduate internship, makes the U. of C. one of the few colleges in the United States to offer the curriculum at an undergraduate level in a liberal arts institution.

“In addition to providing extraordinary pedagogical opportunities for a liberal arts education, the fields of conservation and conservation science open up exciting areas of student and public engagement with campus collections and Chicago’s urban environment,” said Christine Mehring, who chairs of the Art History Department, in a statement. “We are deeply grateful that Suzanne’s generosity allows us to open up these experiences to students not only in art history but in chemistry, physics, molecular engineering, and so many other related disciplines.”

The newly established Pritzker School for Molecular Engineering also supports the initiative through its materials science facilities.