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The ICON Heritage Science committee are pleased to bring you a series of live streamed webinars exploring contemporary heritage science case studies and practices as part of the Conservation: Together at Home Webinar Series. We hope that these talks will help enable our community to stay connected and will allow people to continue to engage with heritage science while staying at home. 

The talks are happening every Wednesday at 4pm (BST/UK time) and will be streamed via our Zoom webinar platform. They are free to sign up to and anyone can register, you don’t have to be an ICON member to attend. We can have up to 500 people in an audience for each talk, based on first arrivals at the time of the webinar. 

If you are interested in speaking please contact our chair, Ellie at


Wednesday April 22nd, 4pm BST

Prof Eleanor Schofield, Head of Conservation and Collections Care, Mary Rose Trust

Where the arts meet science: Keeping the Mary Rose shipshape

The Mary Rose, a flagship of Henry VIII’s, sank off the coast of Portsmouth in 1545. Rediscovered in the 1960s, the following years saw the excavation of over 19,000 objects, culminating in the excavation of the hull in 1982. Materials vary from leather, wood, human remains to iron, bronze and lead, with items varying in size from minuscule dice to gun carriages capable of transporting 2-3 tonne cannons. The conservation techniques and strategies employed over the last three decades will be discussed, alongside new materials and methods being developed to ensure the long term protection of this important cultural heritage.

You can watch Ellie's recorded webinar here


Wednesday May 6th, 4pm BST

Dr Katrien Keune, Head of Science, Rijksmuseum

Metal Soaps in Art: from first observations towards a deeper understanding

Old master paintings as well as modern and contemporary art are subjected to changes from the moment they have been made. Discoloration, increased transparency and darkening, crumbling of the paint, paint delamination and loss: these are just some of the degradation phenomena encountered on oil paintings. This presentation focusses on the wide-spread degradation phenomena that is related to pigment-oil binder interactions, which are metal soaps. Metal soap related defects are observed in paintings by amongst others Rembrandt van Rijn, Johannes Vermeer and Piet Mondrian. Approximately 70% of paintings in museum collections are affected by metal soap-related degradation phenomena.

Register for the talk here


Wednesday May 13th, 4pm BST

Dr Anita Quye, Senior Lecturer in Conservation Science & Head of History of Art, University of Glasgow

Creating constructive pathways to aid ethical sampling decisions in scientific research for cultural heritage

In January 2019 the Icon Heritage Science Group launched new boundary-pushing ethical sampling guidance for decision-making when removing and using material from heritage objects and sites for scientific research. Underpinned by multiple perspectives and shared understanding, this guidance offers a constructive pathway from initial sampling thoughts to project end and beyond, developed from extensive national and international consultations with a range of interested parties. In this webinar, Anita takes us through the guidance and shows how it can be put into practice through personal case studies where constructive ethical thinking and discussions have helped navigate crossroads in sampling decisions.

Register for the talk here


Wednesday May 20th, 4pm BST

Carl Heron, Director of Scientific Research, British Museum

100 years of Scientific Research at the British Museum

I’m aiming to present, in 30-40 minutes, a snapshot of 100 years of Scientific Research at the British Museum. In 1920, a small laboratory was established following an enquiry into the condition of objects, largely as a result of inadequate storage during the First World War. From this humble beginning, conservation and scientific investigation developed into the significant core activities evident in 2020. This inexhaustive and rather selective presentation will highlight some examples from the annals of the department. I will end by looking forward to the period ahead.

Register for the talk here


Wednesday May 20th, 4pm BST

Dr Josep Grau-Bové, lecturer in the Institute for Sustainable Heritage, University College London

Using online and open apps for preventive conservation

Online apps for preventive conservation are proliferating in the web. For free and with a few clicks it is possible to analyse humidity and temperature data, estimate pollutant concentration indoors, predict dust deposition rates, and many other tasks, basic and advanced. Current research projects (such as the developments around IPERION-HS and ERIHS, the European Research Infrastructure for Heritage Science) will accelerate the creation of new online platforms and improve their capabilities. In this talk, I will provide an overview, with practical demonstrations, of some of the best available online tools, and present a blueprint for future developments.

Register for the talk here