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Indianapolis Museum of Art Receives a $1.5 Million Gift to Endow Senior Conservation Scientist Position

INDIANAPOLIS, IN.- A $1.5 million gift from the estate of Otto N. “Nick” Frenzel III has fulfilled a challenge grant to endow the Indianapolis Museum of Art senior conservation scientist position for the Museum’s Conservation Science Laboratory. The position, held by Dr. Gregory Dale Smith, was established through a $1.75 million Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant in 2008 which required a match of $1.5 million within three years. The $1.5 million match is part of a $1.8 million gift from Mr. Frenzel’s estate.

“Thanks to the generous support from Otto Frenzel III, the IMA Conservation Science Laboratory is well positioned for success in its inaugural operating year and many to come,” said Maxwell L. Anderson, The Melvin & Bren Simon Director and CEO of the IMA.

Frenzel (1930-2010) was a longtime Indianapolis philanthropist and former IMA trustee. His son, Otto Frenzel IV, is a current IMA trustee.

Now the Otto N. Frenzel III Senior Conservation Scientist, Smith joined the IMA in December 2009. He has since led the IMA team in outfitting the laboratory with scientific equipment funded through a previously announced grant of $2.6 million provided by Lilly Endowment, Inc. In addition to Smith, the lab is staffed with two other Ph.D. scientists with specialties in biochemistry and nanomaterials. Under Smith’s leadership, the IMA opened the state-of-the-art conservation laboratory in March 2011.

Plans to build the Conservation Science Laboratory were announced in October 2008 to complement the IMA’s existing expertise in the care and treatment of works in its collection. The Conservation Science Laboratory augments the IMA’s potential as a resource for training and professional development by helping the IMA foster partnerships with universities and corporations involved in central Indiana’s growing role as a hub of the life sciences industry, as well as establishing scientific research and art conservation collaborations with major museums worldwide.

The IMA’s expanded conservation resources support research and publication by museum conservators, scientists and curators to continue to build the IMA’s reputation as an industry leader in the fields of conservation, collections care and art history. The IMA’s lab joins an esteemed group of science labs at other leading arts institutions in the United States: the National Gallery of Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Harvard Art Museum, the Art Institute of Chicago and the Getty Conservation Institute.

Gregory Dale Smith, Ph.D.
Smith previously served as the Andrew W. Mellon Assistant Professor of Conservation Science at Buffalo State College, one of only three graduate programs for comprehensive art conservation training in the United States. He holds a Ph.D. in physical/analytical chemistry from Duke University and has completed postdoctoral research at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., the National Synchrotron Light Source at Brookhaven National Laboratory in New York, and at University College London.

Smith’s research interests include studying condition issues affecting modern polymers used in art, pigment degradation processes, and the development and testing of innovative conservation treatments. Smith’s academic and professional career is distinguished consistently with honors and awards, including a Marshall Sherfield Postdoctoral Scholarship to study in Britain, National Science Foundation Research Fellowships, and a Barry M. Goldwater Science Scholarship. He also has performed five seasons of archaeological fieldwork and archaeometry in Galilee, Israel, serving as field chemist and field supervisor with the Sepphoris Regional Project, Sepphoris Acropolis Excavation, and the Cana of the Galilee Project.

Smith has authored numerous articles for journals in the fields of chemistry and conservation and is a highly sought-after lecturer for symposia in the field of art conservation. He is a Professional Associate of the American Institute for Conservation (AIC), associate editor for the AIC’s professional journal, a member of the AIC Education and Training Committee, and a former Chair of the AIC Research & Technical Studies Specialty Group.





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