New York —The Morgan Library & Museum announced today the appointment of Maria L. Fredericks as the Sherman Fairchild Head of the Thaw Conservation Center. Founded in 2002 with the support of Eugene Thaw, a longtime Morgan Trustee, the Thaw Conservation Center is a world-renowned laboratory facility for the study and conservation of works on paper and parchment, including drawings, illuminated manuscripts, rare books, fine bindings, prints, photographs, and literary, historical, and music manuscripts. Ms. Fredericks’s new role is the first full-time leadership position for the center and was made possible by an endowment from the Sherman Fairchild Foundation.
In her new role, Fredericks will lead the staff of the Thaw Center, oversee the long-term conservation of the collection, and broaden the Morgan’s conservation-related programs. She succeeds Peggy Ellis, who was Director of the center from its inception in 2002 through 2016. Prior to this appointment, Fredericks was the Drue Heinz Book Conservator at the Morgan, a position she held for thirteen years during which she oversaw the preservation of rare manuscripts and books, enabling the Morgan to present these works to the public under the right conditions and in the best light. She has mentored numerous graduate interns and post-graduate fellows, while also carrying out technical research and conservation treatment on treasures of the Morgan’s collection, such as the Hours of Catherine of Cleves, the Golden Gospels of Henry VIII,and an illuminated Pontifical made for Pope Leo X.
“The Sherman Fairchild Foundation has been very generous in endowing this leadership position in the Thaw Conservation Center,” said Colin B. Bailey, Director of the Morgan. “The TCC helps preserve irreplaceable works of art and works on paper, in addition to training talented conservators, many of whom go on to lead conservation efforts at other institutions both nationally and internationally. Ms. Fredericks has contributed greatly to the Center, and we are delighted to continue supporting her work at the Morgan.”
Before coming to the Morgan in 2005, Fredericks was Head of Conservation at Columbia University Libraries, where she managed the conservation program for twenty campus libraries including Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library, the C.V. Starr East Asian Library and the Rare Book and Manuscript Library. She has also held positions at the Library of Congress, the Newberry Library in Chicago, the Huntington Library in San Marino, California, and the Winterthur Museum in Winterthur, Delaware. At the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Coptic Museum Archives in Cairo, she contributed to conservation and preservation efforts on rare manuscripts.
A graduate of Swarthmore College with a B.A. in art history, Ms. Fredericks has lectured, taught and published extensively on book conservation and historical bindings.Since 2010, she has been a Visiting Lecturer at the NYU Institute of Fine Arts Conservation Center, where she has taught graduate students specializing in rare book conservation and participated in curriculum development for a Mellon-funded initiative in Library and Archives Conservation Education (LACE).
“The Thaw Conservation Center, with its stellar staff of conservators and preparators has a well-established track record of maintaining the highest professional standards in teaching, conservation treatment and collections care,” said Fredericks. “I am excited and honored to be continuing this work in the company of such wonderful colleagues.”
Frank Trujillo has been promoted to replace Ms. Fredericks as the Drue Heinz Book Conservator. Mr. Trujillo has been at the Morgan since 2006, most recently as Associate Book Conservator. He will continue to evaluate, treat, and research the bound collections from all curatorial departments at the Morgan. His previously published research has focused on technical aspects of the Hours of Catherine of Cleves, the Hours of Claude de France, French Romanesque bindings, and the Coptic Binding Collection at the Morgan Library & Museum.