Christopher Sokolowski *96
Paper Conservator for Special Collections, Weissman Preservation Center, Harvard University
Ever since I saw the restoration of the Sistine Chapel in progress as a college student, I wanted to work in art conservation. UMass was a solid step towards this special profession because I received a usefully broad education in art history while gathering up credits and credentials needed for a graduate program in art conservation. My art history instructors at UMass helped me to develop my ability to look critically, navigate the library (there were no internet resources), and write persuasively. The most enriching moments for me, however, were those that placed the instructor and the object of study in the same frame: looking at hidden joinery in a Connecticut chest of drawers with a flashlight and Bill Oedel; deducing the arrangement of outbuildings around an 18th century house with Abbott Lowell Cummings; being transported to Turkey through the weave structure of a prayer rug with Walter Denny. Now that I serve more than seventy different special collections in libraries at Harvard, I am especially glad for the breadth of my UMass education.
Christopher Sokolowski earned an M.A. in Art History from the University of Massachusetts in 1996 and an M.S. in Art Conservation from the Winterthur-University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation in 2000. He has worked in the paper conservation studios at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, the Musée du Louvre, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Studio TKM, and the Northeast Document Conservation Center. Since 2009 he has served the Harvard Library as a Paper Conservator for Special Collections in the Weissman Preservation Center.