Conservation scientist and professor Stefan Simon has been named director of the newly established Institute for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage (IPCH) at Yale's West Campus. The IPCH serves as the overarching international hub directing the various shared facilities at West Campus dedicated to the study and conservation of cultural heritage.
Simon has broad experience in scientific research, specializing in material deterioration diagnostics, microanalytics, climatology, and non-destructive mechanical testing. Since 2005, he has served as director of the Rathgen Research Laboratory at the National Museums in Berlin — the oldest museum laboratory in the world.
“Cultural heritage is not a renewable resource, so we need to safeguard it in a sustainable manner, both on a global and local scale,” Simon said. “It requires cutting-edge technology and science but also a steady interaction with humanities and other disciplines. To create a competitive and internationally visible program in heritage science at Yale, embedded in its extremely vibrant and synergistic academic environment, is a unique opportunity for the field. It is a great privilege to be part of this undertaking.”
The Institute for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage, established by a transformational gift from Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin ’78, is dedicated to improving the science and practice of art conservation around the world through the use of science and technology.
As director of the IPCH, Simon will be responsible for directing the intellectual, creative, programmatic, and operational leadership of the institute and its existing and future cores. Among his priorities will be advancing “green” conservation strategies triggered by global climate change, issues of illicit traffic and authenticity, physico-mechanical and non-destructive testing, and conservation documentation and access in the digital age. Simon will assume the directorship on April 1.