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The J. Paul Getty Trust and UCLA Creating Master's Program in Archeological and Ethnographic Conservation

Formation of New Academic Graduate Degree to Be Announced Today

January 12, 1999

Contact: Lori Starr
Director, Public Affairs, J. Paul Getty Trust
(310) 440-6623 
Harlan Lebo
Director, Communications, College of Letters & Science, UCLA
(310) 206-0510

Los Angeles, CA--The J. Paul Getty Trust and UCLA are creating a master's degree in the conservation of archaeological and ethnographic materials. Original in its focus among existing conservation training programs in this country, it will provide students with not only a cultural orientation to conservation but also a strong base in materials science, anthropology, and fieldwork. The formation of the new degree program will be officially announced today by Getty Trust President and CEO Barry Munitz and UCLA Chancellor Albert Carnesale at a Getty Center event.

"Preserving both ancient and modern artifacts, and understanding the contexts from which they come, is critically important," said Richard M. Leventhal, Director of the Institute of Archaeology at UCLA. "An emphasis on context is part of what will distinguish this program from others and is what makes it such a valuable addition to the UCLA Institute of Archaeology."

"Traditionally, conservators are trained to work on fine arts objects in museums or studio contexts," said Marion True, Assistant Director for Villa Planning and Curator of Antiquities for the J. Paul Getty Museum. "But in providing fieldwork and a deeper understanding of the materials from which objects are made, this program will raise the standard of professional conservation practice to a higher level, ensuring that the evidence of the past survives well into the future."

In the three-year graduate program set to begin in 2002, the first year's curriculum will be built around general courses in anthropology, archaeology, and conservation. The second will offer more technical training, in specially designed laboratories at the Getty Villa in Malibu, and the third will be devoted to internships on archaeological digs or in museums. The M.A. degree will be conferred by UCLA. Similar programs are currently offered at the University of London's Institute of Archaeology and at the National Center for Cultural Heritage Science Studies at the University of Canberra in Australia.

Three new faculty members, funded by UCLA, will be added to direct and teach in the program; and professional conservators, conservation scientists, archaeologists, and site preservationists on the Getty staff, as well as consultants, will serve as instructors and guest lecturers. The program’s scientific faculty will work with resident scientists at the Getty Conservation Institute and will have access to the Institute's state-of-the-art analytical laboratories.

Timothy P. Whalen, the newly appointed director of the Getty Conservation Institute, commented, "Education and training are at the core of the Getty Conservation Institute's activities. The UCLA/Getty partnership perfectly complements both our mission and the skills of the Getty’s experienced and internationally trained conservation professionals."

UCLA's Leventhal said the new program will prompt archaeologists to think more about the future and conservators to consider how objects were used and why they are important culturally. "The interplay between the two groups will create a new breed of practitioners and will professionalize a growing trend among archaeologists to preserve archaeological sites and objects for the future," he said. "It acknowledges that we are part of both the local and the world communities."

The suite of specialized facilities now being created at the Villa, which is closed for renovation, will include conservation laboratories, offices, a classroom, a library, and study areas. Scheduled to reopen to the public in 2002 as a center for the study of comparative archaeology and cultures, the Villa will remain the home of the Getty Museum's Greek and  Roman antiquities collection and will offer programs to promote a broader understanding of ancient cultures from all parts of the world. As such, it will be a unique public institution in the U.S., dedicated solely to ancient art and related academic and scientific disciplines. "The Villa site is so conducive to this type of study. We have long envisioned it as a place of training in archaeology and ethnography," said True.

Today's announcement will be made at an open house at the Getty Center from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. for invited UCLA administrators, faculty, staff, students, and research associates. Brief remarks about the program will be followed by tours of laboratories and exhibitions. [Press are welcome to attend. For reservations, call (310) 440-6623.]

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About the Getty:

The J. Paul Getty Trust is an international cultural and philanthropic institution devoted to the visual arts that features the Getty Conservation Institute, the Getty Foundation, the J. Paul Getty Museum, and the Getty Research Institute. The J. Paul Getty Trust and Getty programs serve a varied audience from two locations: the Getty Center in Los Angeles and the Getty Villa in Malibu.

Sign up for e-Getty at to receive free monthly highlights of events at the Getty Center and the Getty Villa via e-mail, or visit our event calendar for a complete calendar of public programs.

The J. Paul Getty Museum collects in seven distinct areas, including Greek and Roman antiquities, European paintings, drawings, manuscripts, sculpture, and decorative arts, and European and American photographs. The Museum's mission is to make the collection meaningful and attractive to a broad audience by presenting and interpreting the works of art through educational programs, special exhibitions, publications, conservation, and research.

The Getty Conservation Institute works internationally to advance conservation practice in the visual arts-broadly interpreted to include objects, collections, architecture, and sites. The Institute serves the conservation community through scientific research, education and training, model field projects, and the dissemination of the results of both its own work and the work of others in the field. In all its endeavors, the GCI focuses on the creation and delivery of knowledge that will benefit the professionals and organizations responsible for the conservation of the world's cultural heritage. To learn more, subscribe to the GCI's E-Bulletin by visiting