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Dorothea Burns Named HCL's Helen H. Glaser Conservator

This month, Dorothea "Thea" Burns joined the staff of the Weissman Preservation Center as the first Helen H. Glaser Conservator. In this capacity, she will serve as senior paper conservator responsible for the care and treatment of rare and unique materials, largely unbound and ranging from historic documents to works of art on paper, held in special collections throughout the Harvard College Library. This critical professional position in the Weissman Preservation Center is made possible by a generous gift from Robert J. Glaser SB '40, MD '43.

Burns, who comes to Harvard with extensive experience in both the private and nonprofit sectors, earned a bachelor's degree in fine arts from McGill University in 1966 and a master of art conservation from Queen's University in 1978. She is currently a PhD candidate at the Courtauld Institute of Art, Department of Conservation and Technology, University of London. In addition, she studied at Harvard, where she earned a certificate in the conservation of works of art on paper from the Center for Conservation and Technical Studies at the Fogg Art Museum.

According to Jan Merrill-Oldham, Malloy-Rabinowitz Preservation Librarian in the Harvard University Library and the Harvard College Library, "Thea is a seasoned practitioner who has excellent training and excellent teaching skills. Her addition to the staff marks a critical step in the growth of the conservation program throughout Harvard libraries."

Since 1989 Burns has directed the paper objects component of the master's degree program in art conservation at Queen's University where she was a tenured associate professor of paper objects conservation. Her teaching responsibilities focused on paper conservation and preventative conservation training and she is credited with developing a comprehensive and innovative curriculum for both lectures and studio practice. Prior to this she worked as a consultant and conservator for various institutional and private collections in Canada and England. Actively engaged in her field, Burns has published extensively, presented numerous papers at international, national, and regional conferences, and she has played a key role in obtaining grants for a variety of research projects and initiatives.

"The Helen H. Glaser Conservator is a very welcome addition to our preservation program and will enable our libraries to address an array of important needs. Helen was a good friend of libraries. An avid reader, she had a keen eye for detail and appreciated fine craftsmanship. We are honored that Bob and his family chose to establish this position in her memory," stated Nancy M. Cline, Roy E. Larsen Librarian of Harvard College.

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Last modified on Thursday, April 18, 2002.