College of Liberal Arts

University of Mississippi

Conservator Visiting UM Museum to Examine Marble Sculpture Collection

Amy Jones Abbe to assess selected pieces and advise staff on their preservation

JANUARY 29, 2018 BY EDWIN B. SMITH

Several marble busts are among the more than 2,000 items in the Robinson Greek and Roman Antiquities Collection in the University Museum. Submitted photo

Several marble busts are among the more than 2,000 items in the Robinson Greek and Roman Antiquities Collection in the University Museum. Submitted photo

One of the country’s most respected conservators of Greek and Roman sculpture is visiting the University of Mississippi Museum this week to review its collection and share her expertise.

Amy Jones Abbe of Athens, Georgia, will be on campus through Friday (Jan. 30-Feb. 2) to work on ancient marble sculptures from the David M. Robinson Collection of Greek and Roman Antiquities. This is the first conservation work done on the museum collection in more than 20 years.

“Amy Abbe will begin with the three sculptures we have installed in the first gallery of the Mary Buie building,” said Melanie Munns, the museum’s antiquities collections manager. “She will first examine these sculptures to determine where past repairs were made and how by performing tests in small areas.

“It’s possible that two of these sculptures will just need cleanings and touch ups with paint. The third, the Head of Aeschines, may need further assessment to determine the approach to its added coarse plaster nose.”

During the week, Abbe also is scheduled to speak to UM students enrolled in anthropology, classics and Roman archaeology classes, as well as to groups of local elementary school students in the Museum Art Zone program.

Abbe will give a brief talk in the Museum’s Speakers Gallery at 4:30 p.m. Friday (Feb. 2). The free, public event will be followed by light refreshments.

“The University Museum is only able to conserve objects as funding permits,” Munns said. “We started a conservation fund dedicated to the Robinson Collection five years ago with an initial donation gifted by the Daughters of Penelope, Memphis chapter.

“It is with their accrued donations, funds from the Robinson Reinstallation Project and the Friends of the Museum that we are able to conduct this conservation work.”

The Friends of the Museum have pledged further funding for conservation that should allow work to be performed on another piece, possibly more, in coming months, Munns said.

“We hope to perform annual conservation work,” she said. “With over 2,000 objects in the Robinson Collection, we foresee this type of programming could continue for many years to come.”

Before launching her own art conservation studio in 2011, Abbe was a conservator at museums in Florence, Italy; New York City; Washington, D.C.; Cambridge, Massachusetts; and Baltimore. She earned her degrees from New York University and the University of North Carolina.

For more information, call University Museum at 662-915-7028.