Lydia Messerschmidt ACR
I work as employee at a National Museum and also as a freelance conservator. Both roles give me the opportunity to work on exciting projects with a wide range of objects and materials.
My specialisation is organic materials. I especially enjoy working with feathers. This led me towards collecting and preserving a variety of folding fans, and joining the Fan Circle International.
More recently, I extended my expertise in project management. In the past few years, I managed larger projects as an employee and as a freelancer. Both roles gave me the chance to grow and develop skills in exhibition management and collections care.
Diplom Conservator for artist crafts and archaeological material, University of Applied Sciences in Erfurt / Germany. Specialisation in world cultures and organic materials, especially polychrome wood, feather work, skin and skeletal materials. Topic of Diploma thesis: 'Wuhu Tiehua- Basic research and conservation of a Chinese lantern', honoured with Studies Award 2012. Internships (6 months each) at National Museums Scotland, Heritage Museum in Hong Kong, Reiss-Engelhorn-Museum in Mannheim
specialist training in conservation techniques: Tratteggio Technique, consolidation of polychrome wood, conservation of feather work (2008) / Japanese lacquer work with Urushi (Cologne 2007 and 2008), Conservation of a Chinese scroll (2011) / fish leather (2012), Lanaset and Irgalan dye techniques; Collections Care: Integrated Pest Management Traditional handcraft techniques: gilding, metal inlay, enamelling, egg tempera; carving, turnery, wooden joints
further development of conservation skills by attending workshops and in person training: traditional techniques and conservation of quill work (Berlin 2014) / bark cloth (TCC Glasgow 2018), glass conservation, metal conservation (esp. silver cleaning techniques, such as electrolytic reduction via immersion in bath and localised with PLECO pen), RTI, visiting conferences (IIC Hong Kong 2016, ICOM leather conference in Paris 2019, ICOM glass and ceramics conference in London 2019)
Assistant Conservator at National Museums Scotland (part time): assessment and conservation of objects for new Ancient Egyptian and East Asian gallery; refurb of 8 galleries in 2016: lead conservator for material stream 'polychrome wooden objects and organics', conservation of organic/ inorganic objects; treatment of objects for special exhibitions; assessment/ conservation/packing and couriering of national and international outgoing loans and touring exhibitions; condition check incoming loans
Freelance project conservator for collections move project: Assessment of condition and identification of hazards in the Scientific Instruments Collection of the Hunterian Museum Glasgow. Coordination of packing and move to new store. Supervision of employees and contractors. Key points: prioritisation of tasks, setting up risk assessments and safe work environment, seamless documentation and tracking of progress, good communication with project team and working towards tight deadline.
Guest lecturer at University of Gothenburg I delivered four 1-week-courses to 2nd year students at Institutionen för kulturvård: conservation of Basketry and Birchbark, Bark cloth, Feather work and Skeletal Materials. Topics: biology, chemistry and ID of materials; ID of handcraft techniques and deterioration processes; treatment methods; ethical judgement / decision making in conserving ethnographic objects; pesticide awareness; preventive measures. Teaching: lectures and practical sessions.
Voluntary work at GRASSI Museum für Völkerkunde in Leipzig / Germany Project: Conservation & mounting of objects for exhibition 'Woven time'; assessment, treatment, mounting and packing of loans (material: plant fibres, shells)