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Below is a list of previous events that the Icon Heritage Science group have held.

If you have any ideas of events that you would like to organise, please get in touch with the committee


Friday 9 September 2016

Micro-fading Workshop

Institute of Sustainable Heritage, University College London  
Jevons Room, First Floor, 14 Upper Woburn Place London WC1H 0NN

Micro-fading is a fast and cost effective accelerated light aging technique 
developed by Paul Whitmore from Carnegie Melon University. It is increasingly 
being used by museums as it is particularly useful for establishing the light 
sensitivity of individual objects where their chemical compositions or fading history 
is not known. Different MFT systems and their applications will be describe. A 
training session and demonstration of the MFT system developed by Jacob 
Llewelyn Thomas will follow. Participants will be invited to bring in their own 
objects to fade as a starting point for discussions on challenges regarding objects 
of different materials with different surface properties. Fading with LED light will be 


Thursday 17 November 2016

Bodlian Libraries and Hyperspectral Imaging

Weston Library, Bodleian libraries, University of Oxford, Broad Street, Oxford OX1 3BG

The Bodleian Libraries set up Heritage Science just over three years ago in 
acknowledgement of an increasing demand for analysis and other scientific 
support. Of particular interest is Raman spectroscopy which is being 'borrowed' 
from Durham University, and a hyperspectral Imaging system. There is a very 
small laboratory housing this equipment but demonstrations of both will be 
possible to a small audience. There will also be a demonstration of ENVI software 
which is being used to interogate the hyperspectral data for both materail 
identification and revealing hidden texts. The laboratory is within the totally 
upgraded Weston Library (Previously New Bodleian) and a tour of the Exhibition 
spaces, Reading Rooms, centre for Digital Scholarship and public spaces can 
easily be arranged.


Monday 9 January 2017

Mary Rose Trust conservation

Mary Rose Trust, Portsmouth

A chance to see the newly renovated Mary Rose museum in Portsmouth Historic 
Dockyard. A guided tour of the museum will take place, incorporating some behind 
the scenes aspects. A selection of talks from conservators and scientists who 
have contributed to the Mary Rose project will follow.


Friday 24 February 2017

Scanning Electron Microscopy theory & practice with a portable Hitachi TM3000, SEM 

CSI: Sittingbourne, The Forum, Sittingbourne, Kent ME10 2DL
Practical sessions with SEM examination of archeological and historic samples; and a visit 
to CSI: Sittingbourne public access conservation lab and The Forum Heritage Hub.
Participants will receive general theory and practice with a Hitachi TM3000 low 
vacuum SEM, and illustrations of how it has been employed for public engagement and 
archeological conservation at CSI: Sittingbourne (IIC Keck Award winner 2012). 
Opportunity for examination of selected participants’ samples and discounted future 
bookings for the ‘CSI: Sittingbourne/RLAHA shared use SEM’ included. The shared use 
SEM was purchased through funds donated by the Clothworkers Foundation.


16th August 2017

Building Conservation Science at Heriot Watt University

Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Building Design, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh.

Wed 16 August 2017, 09:30 – 16:00 

The application of heritage science to buildings is the focus of this one day event, hosted at Heriot Watt University, Edinburgh. Speakers from academia and industry will discuss recent research activities that have led to evidence-based conservation of historic building materials such as stone, lime and glass. In addition, attendees will be invited to a tour of the new Lyall Centre to view the petrography laboratory.


11th September 2017

Historic document analysis using p-XRF: Pitfalls and Possibilities

The National Archives, Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 4DU.  If using Satnav postcode to use is TW9 4AD (Bessant Drive). 

Mon 11 September 2017, 10:00 – 16:30 (Please arrive by 9.45am and wait at reception until collection by an event representative)

Portable X-Ray Fluorescence Spectroscopy (pXRF) has become a widely used analytical tool in Heritage Science and Conservation but the particular challenges and advantages of the technique for analysis of documents and archival collections are not often highlighted. Portable XRF instruments are increasingly available at many libraries, archives, universities and other institutions and conservators or heritage scientists are often asked to employ the technique to answer specific questions. The wide variety of pXRF equipment and software available, together with the complexities of acquiring and interpreting analytical data from historic documents can be challenging to navigate.

This workshop is primarily intended for conservators and heritage scientists who have analysed or will soon analyse historic documents using pXRF. It is held in cooperation with the Icon Book and Paper Group and hosted by The National Archives, Kew and will offer presentations by four guest speakers with experience in pXRF analysis and its application to documents, opportunities for group discussions among participants, and hands-on demonstrations of pXRF analysis.

Abstract can be found here

Presentations from the event can be found below:

Abigail Bainbridge, West Dean College, Icon Book and Paper Group

Paul Garside, The British Library, Icon Book and Paper Group

Chris Wilkins, Cardiff University, PhD researcher

Helen Wilson, The National Archives, Icon Heritage Science Group


18th April 2018

The role of portable X-ray fluorescence (pXRF) in Heritage Science

Glasgow University Archaeology Department, Gregory Building, University of Glasgow, Glasgow G12 8QQ

Wednesday 18th April 2018 14:00 – 17:00

Portable X-ray Fluorescence Spectroscopy (pXRF) has become one of the most widely available analytical techniques at universities, museums and heritage organisations. pXRF has many applications in conservation, archaeology and heritage science but also presents challenges in how best to capture, interpret and present the resulting data.
This event will be presented by Dr. Richard Jones and Dr. Effie Photos-Jones of Glasgow University who will share their expertise in the use of pXRF in the context of Heritage Science on materials such as metals, ceramics, vitreous materials, lithics and paintings. A practical/demonstration session with pXRF equipment as well as opportunities for questions and discussion will be included in the program.

Programme for the day:
1. Placing pXRF as an analytical technique in the context of Heritage Science 
2. Principles of how pXRF works
3. Using pXRF – designing an analysis programme, standards, data capture, interpretation and presentation
4. Applications 1 - metals, ceramics, vitreous materials, lithics 
5. Applications 2 – paintings and cosmetics


20th April 2018

Introduction to Colour Science and Colour Measurement

Education Room, Charlecote Park, National Trust, Charlecote, Wellesbourne, Warwickshire CV35 9ER

Friday 20th April 2018 10:00 – 16:00

This one day workshop will provide an introduction to colour science and colour measurement for conservators and conservation scientists who need to use colour measurement as part of their conservation practice or research.  Participants will need to have a good general science background, but only a little knowledge of colour science, if any.  The day will include the opportunity to use Konica-Minolta spectrophotometers to undertake colour measurements on a range of materials and surface types.  Course participants may bring their own samples for colour measurement if they wish.

Topics to be covered:

• Introduction to colour science, including light sources and reflection from material surfaces. Operating principles of the spectrophotometer. Practical exercise: Using Konica-Minolta software. Measurement of reflectance spectra of samples.

• Response of human eye to colour. CIE system of colorimetry. Illuminants. Metamerism. Practical exercise: Measurement of tristimulus values of samples (X,Y,Z).

• Colour spaces, CIELAB and colour difference (ΔE). Practical exercise: Measurement of colorimetric values (L,A,B) and calculation of colour difference.

• Factors affecting colour measurement: geometry, gloss and specularity, fluorescence, aperture size, ambient light. Accuracy and repeatability. Practical exercise: measurement with specular included/excluded and UV included/excluded.

• Colour measurement of historic materials and best practice. Issues of dirt, fading, weave, texture, recording. Practical exercise: measurement of woven textiles.

• Advanced colour measurement: recent colour appearance models and colour difference metrics, traceability to national standards, metrics for assessing colour qualities of light sources, including colour temperature and rendering, multispectral cameras. Discussion of participants’ own case studies.

The workshop will be led by Dr Lindsay MacDonald, Honorary Professor at the Faculty of Engineering Sciences, University College London. Dr MacDonald has over 30 years of experience in colour science, and is a co-author of ten books on the subject, including Digital Heritage: Applying Digital Imaging to Cultural Heritage. He is a Fellow of four professional societies, and a former chairman of The Colour Group (GB).

The Heritage Science Group is grateful to the National Trust at Charlecote Park for providing the venue for the training day and to the National Trust and Konica Minolta for provision of spectrophotometers and SpectraMagic software.


9th October 2018

Excel Training for Effective Data Management

Location: National Trust Office, 20 Grosvenor Gardens, London, SW1W 0DH

Time: 09.30 - 16.30

A training course on Microsoft Excel to help ensure conservators have the skills to efficiently manage their scientific data.

The course will be run by Andie Mills from the IT training hub, a professional training company  who aim to give participants confidence in Excel and how to use Excel’s features correctly to improve efficiency, leaving more time to concentrate on important tasks, and less time battling with the software.

IMPORTANT: Delegates are required to bring their own laptops on the day.

The course will be pitched at an Intermediate to Advanced level, therefore delegates should be familiar with Excel and able to create, format and structure spreadsheets. Ideally have experience in creating basic statistical functions and be able to create a simple chart.

Topic covered will include:

Formulas and Functions for managing data
Working with Text
Working with Databases/Lists
Useful Formatting Tools
Useful Data Tools
Advanced Charting
PivotTables and Pivot Charts
Time for specific questions from participants at the end

Organiser/contact person for enquiries: Eric Nordgren / Lisa O’Hagan


1st July 2020

ICON Heritage Science Group 2020 Online AGM and Guest Lecture

Online Event

1500 - 1600: Heritage Science Group AGM

1600 - 1700: Psyche on a Smartphone: shining new light on a Florentine Renaissance masterpiece - A webinar by Dr. Paola Ricciardi

The ICON HSG Committee and Chair will present information about the Group's recent activities and plans for future events. There will also be opportunities for questions from an HSG members and other attendees. For the first time, the AGM will be held online via our Zoom-based webinar platform. The event is free of charge but registration in advance via Eventbrite is required. Joining information for the online event will be provided to registered attendees.

The AGM ran from 15.00 to 16.00 BST

The AGM was followed at 16.00 by a webinar entitled: 

Psyche on a smartphone: shining new light on a Florentine Renaissance masterpiece​ 

Dr. Paola Ricciardi, Senior Research Scientist at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge

INSPIRE2020 (December 2019 - March 2020) was the first exhibition of work made by primary school children at The Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge. The exhibition resulted from a year-long project modelled on the National Gallery’s Take One Picture, which focused on the painting of Cupid and Psyche by Jacopo del Sellaio as a source of inspiration for creative cross-curricular enquiry on the part of teachers and pupils alike. Inspired by the children’s engagement with the artist’s materials and techniques, conservators and heritage scientists undertook their own technical research on the panel. Their work was integrated in the exhibition display and in a newly-developed AR app.

This talk discussed the role played by Heritage Science in the INSPIRE project, as well as the range of opportunities that truly cross-disciplinary collaboration offers for meaningful, creative engagement of the Heritage Science community with teachers, schoolchildren and museum visitors.