Culture and chemistry: Julie Wertz curates @RealScientists

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Julie Wertz (@glasgow_dyes) is a heritage science postdoc at the University of Glasgow Centre for Textile Conservation and Technical Art History. She is currently a research assistant on a new MSc course for modern material artifact conservation at the CTCTAH, and did her doctoral research on the process and chemistry of Turkey red textile dyeing. She has an undergraduate degree in chemistry and French, and really likes using analytical chemistry to find out what things are made out of.

How did you end up in heritage science?
I was working in pharmaceutical quality control and a friend sent me the advertisement for my PhD project– I didn’t know it was possible to combine chemistry and art, but I was interested. I love chemistry but it’s important to me to have something tangible to work on, and heritage science is a perfect combination of chemistry and beautiful objects.

What makes heritage science so important?
Tangible cultural heritage is a record of who we are, where we came from, and how we developed as people and societies. Many museum objects were not created to last indefinitely, or are not capable of doing so. Heritage science is a valuable tool for improving preservation of historical objects, authenticate purported pieces, and learning about our history.

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