Cleveland, OH (February 9, 2020) — Following an international search, the Cleveland Museum of Art (CMA) announces the appointment of Sarah Scaturro as the Eric and Jane Nord Chief Conservator. She will assume her responsibilities at the CMA in April 2020.
Scaturro leads conservation at the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Since 2012, she has been responsible for the preservation and conservation of the department’s dress-related artifacts. During her tenure at the Met, Scaturro oversaw the Costume Institute’s conservation team of five and was involved in storage facility renovations and collection moves. Her team has worked on the Met’s highest attended exhibitions, including Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination, which had over 1.6 million visitors.
“We are absolutely thrilled that Sarah Scaturro is joining the staff at the Cleveland Museum of Art as the Eric and Jane Nord Chief Conservator,” said Director William M. Griswold. “She has strong leadership skills, a profound commitment to best practices in the vital field of conservation, and a compelling vision for conservation at the CMA. I look forward to the ways in which she will help make the exciting work of conservation more accessible to our audiences, and as I do to working with Sarah and her colleagues toward the realization of our Strategic Plan goals as they pertain to the work of our conservators.”
The Eric and Jane Nord Chief Conservator of the Cleveland Museum of Art has primary responsibility for the conservation of objects in the museum’s collection and for overseeing all aspects of a major conservation program comprising a range of related activities: object treatment, technical analysis, scientific research, collaborative work with other institutions, and training upcoming conservators. The chief conservator oversees the operation of five labs focusing on Asian paintings, Western paintings, objects, paper, and textiles, and supervises a staff of eight conservators, four conservation technicians, and a fluctuating number of fellows and interns.
“I am delighted to be joining the dedicated staff of the Cleveland Museum of Art,” said Scaturro. “It is an honor to lead such a reputable conservation team in preserving the museum’s stellar collection, and a dream to be working in its state-of-the-art conservation facility. With the support of the museum’s leadership, I look forward to expanding awareness about conservation to our audiences and working toward the realization of the museum’s exciting Strategic Plan.”
Previously, Scaturro was the textile conservator and assistant curator of fashion at Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, New York, as well as a textile conservator at the Bard Graduate Center, New York. Scaturro also served as a visiting textile conservator at the National Museum of African American History and Culture, Smithsonian Institution, where she served as a community liaison and preservation advisor during the museum’s collection building and outreach efforts that invited the public to bring their family heirlooms for assessment, identification, and preservation guidance. Following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, Scaturro was the only textile conservator appointed to the Haiti Cultural Recovery Project of the Smithsonian, in which she managed and executed the triaged preservation of all textile and fiber-based artifacts in the important Marianne Lehmann Vodou Collection and trained emerging Haitian conservation professionals.
Scaturro has published widely on the topics of conservation, fashion, and material culture. Selected recent publications include “Fashion as an Event: Conservation and its Digital (Dis)Contents,” Critical Studies in Fashion and Beauty 10, no. 1 (June 2019): 113–27; “An Enlightened Perspective: Balancing Artist Intent with Conservation Concerns,” Textile Studies Group Post-Prints (Washington, DC: American Institute for Conservation, 2019): 141–52; “Confronting Fashion’s Death Drive: Conservation, Ghost Labor, and the Material Turn within Fashion Curation,” in Fashion Curating: Critical Practice in the Museum and Beyond, ed. by Hazel Clark and Annamari Vānskā (London: Bloomsbury, 2018). Scaturro has lectured and presented scholarly papers throughout North America and Europe at venues including the University of Pennsylvania; New York University; Massachusetts Institute of Technology; University of Texas at Austin; and Royal Military Museum, Brussels, Belgium. In the past ten years, Scaturro has been interviewed extensively by the press, including the New York Times, Vogue, Artnet, and the New Yorker.
Scaturro has an MA in Fashion and Textile Studies from the Fashion Institute of Technology, New York, where she was awarded the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence. She earned a BA summa cum laude in history with an Italian minor from the University of Colorado. Scaturro is currently a doctoral candidate at Bard Graduate Center, New York, focusing on the development of costume conservation in North America and Britain, 1964–86.
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