Gwen Spicer is a textile expert who has written articles for several conservation publications, and technical bulletins for collection care that are used for surveys and workshops. She has also lectured extensively. A sample of publications, workshops and lectures are listed below. She is currently writing her first book, “Magnetic Mounting Systems for Museums and Cultural Institutions”, a technical publication to guide conservators and museum professionals in the creation of magnetic mounts.

Would you like Gwen to speak to your organization, or perhaps give a workshop? Please contact her at (518) 765-2142 or

BOOKS authored by Gwen Spicer:

“Magnetic Mounting Systems for Museums and Cultural Institutions” by Gwen Spicer

Gwen is an AIC Kress Fellowship recipient and is currently writing a book detailing   magnetic systems. Understanding magnetic systems is crucial for the creation of mounts for various artifacts, including textiles, paper and objects. The book will include in-depth knowledge of magnetic systems, including how magnets work along with practical knowledge for conservators and easy to follow case studies illustrating actual mounts and the professionals who created them.

The book is a necessity for conservators, mount makers, preparators and any museum professional who works on creating exhibits with mounted artifacts. The book will be finished at the end of 2018. Stay tuned for information about the books availability and distribution.

PAPERS and ARTICLES authored by Gwen Spicer:

“The How and Why for Reusing Rare Earth Magnets”, AIC Book and Paper Group (BPG) Annual, 2015.

An Alternative to Velcro? Upper Edge Hanging Methods Using Rare Earth Magnets” , WAAC Newsletter, vol. 35, 3: 20-25.

“Preservation and Storage of Period Clothing and Textiles”, ALHFAM Historic Textiles and Clothing Part I &II,  vol. XLIV, No 4, Winter 2015.

“Conservation Treatment of a Hunzinger Cantilevered Armchair Including the Use of Magnets to Create Tufting” JAIC, vol 52, no. 2, 2013. (A description of the project can be seen, click here.)

“The Treatment of the 4th Regimental U.S.C.T. Civil War Flag” (2011) Washington Flag Congress, 24th International Congress of Vexillology, Washington, D.C. Sponsored by NAVA.

“A Versatile Mannequin”presented at American Institute for Conservation of Historic & Artistic Works 39th Annual Meeting. The Textile Specialty Group Postprints , vol. 21 (2011) Several examples of the discussed form can be seen by clicking here.

“Extraordinary Findings: The Conservation & Investigation of an Italian Renaissance Dantesca Chair”  Forgotten History – Upholstery Conservation, Birgitta Forum, Vadstena, Sweden, 2011.

“Defying Gravity with Magnetism” AICNews (Nov. 2010) vol. 35, 6:1,3-5.

“The re-tufting of a Hunzinger Chair” NATCC, Quebec City, Canada, Fall 2009. (A description of the project can be seen,click here.)

“What Is “Acid-free”? Maine Archives & Museums Newsletter, vol. 10, no. 2 (May 2007)11. Co-authored with Ronald Harvey.

Planning for Collection Care” Upstate History Alliance e-newletter, (Winter/Spring 2007).

“‘Mounts Altered’ Mounting Textiles to Meet the Needs of Clients” presented at American Institute for Conservation of Historic & Artistic Works 34th Annual Meeting. The Textile Specialty Group Postprints , vol. 16 (2006). (A description of one of the project can be seen, click here.)

“Saving Maine’s Colors: Collaborative Strategies in Flag Conservation & Exhibition at the Maine State Museum” co-authored with Laurie LaBar, Tales in the Textiles: The Conservation of Flags & Other Symbolic Textiles, Preprints, NATCC, Albany, NY, Nov 5-8, 2003. Condensed version published in NemaNews (Fall 2003) 4 & 8. (A description of the project can be seen, clicking here.)

Treatment of a Campaign Banner: An Option for Consolidating Powdery Paint” co-authored with Mary Betlejeski Tales in the Textiles: The Conservation of Flags & Other Symbolic Textiles, Preprints, NATCC, Albany, NY, Nov 5-8, 2003.

“Navajo Blanket Forms”Museum Mannequins, Alberta, Canada 2001.

“Mannequins for Navajo Blanket Display” co-authered with Susan Heald, Fabrics of an Exhibition: An Interdisciplinary Approach, Textile Symposium ’97, September 22-25, 1997.

“Supporting Tears in Leather” The Textile Specialty Group Postprints, vol. 7 (1997) 57 – 62.

“Caring for Textiles” Brochure sponsored by the American Institute for Conservation. (1996)

“Supporting Tears in Leather” Leather Conservation News, vol. 1 & 2 (1995) 4-6.

“Storage Cabinets and Support Materials,” first draft of a section Textile Conservation Catalog. (1994)

“Sticky Business, the removal of hide glue from silk” given at Harpers Ferry Regional Textile Group, November 12-13, 1992, at the National Museum of American History. The paper discusses the use of enzymes for the removal of hide glue from silk.

Lectures and Workshops

“Collection Care and the Handling of Textiles”, Presentation given at the 2016 Greater Hudson Heritage Network, Poughkeepsie, New York.

“Understanding and Modifying your Collection and Collection Rehousing” Presentation given at the Museum Association of New York 2016 Annual Meeting, Lake Placid, New York

“Ferrous Attractions, The Science Behind the Magic” hands-on workshop given at the AIC 44th Annual Meeting, Montreal, Canada, 2016.

“Mountmaking using Magnets” presentation given during the Annual Mountmaker’s Forum, Cleveland, Ohio, 2016

“Treatment and Storage of Large Banners” presentation given during the Walter’s Art Museum Forum on Thai Painted Textile Banners. Baltimore, Maryland, 2016

“The Hows and Whys for Reusing Rare Earth Magnets” presented in the Sustainability Session at American Institute for Conservation of Historic & Artistic Works 43rd Annual Meeting, Miami, FL (The talk’s power point can be found here: AIC 2015 Annual Meeting “Sustainability” Presentation).

“A Holistic Approach to the Display and Storage of Historic Flag Collections”, Presentation given at the 26th Annual Congress of Vexillology, Sydney, Australia.

“Supporting a Group of Double-sided Trade Banners: How rare earth magnets allow for both sides to be viewed” Poster Presented at the 10th North American Textile Conservation Conference, New York, New York

“Evolution of Treatment Options for Battle Flags” Presentation on the efforts to preserve battle flag collections from several US states. Presented at North American Vexillological Association (NAVA) 48, New Orleans, LA.

“Understanding & Modifying your Collection Environment” Rehousing Workshop given at the 2014 New York Archives Conference, Binghamton University, Binghamton, NY.

“Ferrous Attraction, The science behind the magic.” A hands-on session and sponsered by SmallCorp, Inc, presented at American Institute for Conservation of Historic & Artistic Works 41st Annual Meeting, Indianapolis, IN, 2013. (To see our blog entry about the workshop, click here).

“Working with What You Have: Maximizing storage space and object safety on a budget” Co-presented with Karen Convertino, Everson Museum of Art and Joy Manna, Gaylord Brothers, Inc. Pre-conference workshop, Museums in Conversations, Syracuse, NY. (2013)

“The Conservation of the Morrisville firefighter’s Banner”, 17th Annual Local Landmarks Day, program sponsered by Morrisville Historic Preservation Commission. (2012)

“Freeze It or Forget It” Pre-conference workshop on disaster recovery. Museumwise/MANY’s Annual Meeting. Another version was presented for DHP’s central region. (2012)

“Current Best Practices in the Preservation of Textiles & How We Got Here” The Evolution of Preservation, Preservation Forum, Sponsored by Hudson River Heritage. (2012)

“Proper Care for Your Heirlooms” International Convention of Quester’s, Baltimore, MD (2012)

“Conserving Civil War Flags” Civil War Symposium, at the New Hampshire National Guard. (2012)

“The Treatment of the 4th Regimental U.S.C.T. Civil War Flag” Washington Flag Congress, 24th International Congress of Vexillology, Washington, D.C. Sponsored by NAVA. (2011) Click here to read about the project.

“A Versatile Mannequin Design” Talk given at the Textile Specialty Group, AIC Annual Meeting, Philadelphia, PA. (2011) Click here to see examples of the form in use.

“Collection Storage for Small Museums” Workshop given at the Museumwise’s Annual Meeting, Buffalo, NY. (2011)

“Perspectives on Textile Conservation.” lecture and workshop, Art Conservation Department, Buffalo State College. (2011)

“Decoding the History of the Fortuny Fabric at Philip Johnson’s Brick House Interior” New England Conservation Association, held at the Shelburne Museum. (2010)

“Preserving Your Needlework” Embroidery Guild of American, New York Chapter, Hyde Park, NY. (2009)

“Current Practices: Textile Conservation in the U.S.” talk given to the Council of Cultural Affairs, Tainan, Taiwan. (2008)

“Surmountable Textile Exhibition Issues and Solutions Workshop,” funded by Coby Foundation, sponsored by Lower Hudson Conference, Garrison, NY. (2008)

“Taking it All In: A Holistic View of Environmental Impact on Open Display Collections” Museum Institute at Sagamore, Racquet River, NY. (2008)

“Museum Housekeeping” One day hands-on training at Stepping Stone, Bedford Hills, NY (2007)

Integrated Pest Management & Freezing Workshop” co-developed with Erin Crissman, held at Historic Cherry Hill, Albany, NY. Program funded by IMLS 21st Century Grant. A series of six workshops. (2007-09)

“Preserving 9/11” Lecture given to members of Voices of 9/11, NYC. (2007)

“Is Green Good for Collections” A group of presenters held at UHA Annual Meeting, Syracuse, NY, sponsored by NYSCA. Presenters included Ernest Conrad & Lea Warder. (2007)

“Preserving War Stories” War Stories: Caring for Your WWII Collections, sponsored by the NYS Archives, Albany, NY. (2007)

“Field Forum – Conservation Planning” panel participant at Lower Hudson Conference’s Annual Meeting, Goshen, NY. (2006)

“3-Demensional Archival Artifact Storage” Its Like I Can Touch You: Care of 3D Archival Collections Capital Area Archivists, Albany, NY. (2006)

Collection Management Course, one of four instructors for the first of a series of on-line courses, sponsored by UHA and funded by NYSCA. (2006)

“Beyond the Vacuum Cleaner” Talk at the Long Island Museum Association’s annual meeting. (2005)

“Roundtable & Workshop: Storage Methodology for Archaeological & Ethnographic Textiles” given at NATCC in Mexico City. A day workshop given twice. Participants from all over the Americas. (2005)

Conservation for Exhibition Fall workshop series, sponsored by UHA. “Display of Flat Textiles” & “Mannequins”, Binghamton & Tory, NY (2004)

“How to Read Your Chair & Upholstery Evidence” Textiles for Everyday Homes, 1750-1840, Eastfield Village Workshop Series. (2004)

“Caring for Your Quilts” Vermont Quilt Fair, as representative of VMGA. (2004)

“Preventive and Art Conservation” Guest lecturer for LIbrary Administration class, SUNY Albany. (2004)

“Treatment of North Creek Opera House Curtain,” at dedication of Theater Curtain, Tannery Pond Community Center, North Creek, NY. (2002)

“Storage of Collections Workshop” given to two Historical Sites who are undertaking storage improvements. (2002)

“Housekeeping & Storage” three-day training workshop sponsored by Roosevelt-Vanderbilt NPS. Trained other museum professionals on vacuuming, handling, a storage for furnishing textiles and upholster, Hyde Park, NY. (2002)

“Emergency Preparedness Workshop” Sponsored by UHA, assisted in organization. (2002)

“Quilt Preservation & Storage Project“ sponsored by Henry Sheldon Museum of Vermont History, training workshop for volunteers as preparation for rehousing of collections. Included handouts. (2002)

“Textile Conservation” Lecture & one-day workshop at Art Conservation Program at Buffalo State College. (2001 & 2004)

“Building Mannequins” One-day workshop with Upstate History Alliance’s annual meeting. (2001)

“Environmental Effects on the Chautauqua Banner Collection” Chautauqua Institute Banner Committee. (2001)

“Collection Care & Conservation,” A workshop with Regional Council & Historic Agencies’ annual meeting, Cooperstown, NY. (2000)

“Dress for Success: Techniques for Display of Costume Collections” Sponsored by Vermont Museum & Gallery Alliance. Workshop also sponsored by Regional Council & Historic Agencies & Maine State Museum. (1998)

“What Beings are in Susan B’s Bonnet? Signs, Symptoms and Solutions for Pest Infestation in Your Collection” Regional Council of Historical Agencies annual meeting, Seneca Falls, NY. (1998)

Lecture & tour of English State Bed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, given to the New York Textile Conservation Group, NYC. (1995)

“Disaster Recovery of Textiles” given at Western NY Conservation Group, The Recovery of Cultural Materials After a Disaster. Rochester, NY. (1993)

“Exhibit Concerns for Textiles” given at National Association for Museum Exhibitions conference, Designing for & Object’s Care: A Workshop on Conservation for Exhibits, Rochester, NY. (1993)Handouts

Cleaning Moldy Artifacts

Exhibiting Artifacts
* Exhibit Reminders
* Room-by-Room Evaluation Questions
* Window Shade & Covering Ideas
* Dressing & Undress Mannequins
* Textile Exhibit Ideas: Hanging Large Textiles
* Textile Exhibit Ideas: Roller Rod Options
* Mounting & Display Ideas
* Mannequins: Displaying Costumes & Accessories

Storing Artifacts
* Guide for Developing Proper Museum Storage
* Storage Questionnaire
* Storage Furniture Criteria
* Housekeeping Plan Questionnaire
* General Handling of Textile Collections
* Vacuuming Textiles & Other Organic Collections
* Labeling Textile Artifacts
* Support Tray for Small Accessories
* Rolled Storage
* Folding Large Textiles & Choosing the Box
* Padded Hanger Options
* Support Ideas of 3-dimensional Textiles
* Storage Recommendations by Artifact Type
* Storage of Textiles & Textile Related Artifacts
* Storage Techniques for Trims & Passementerie
* Glossary of Safe Materials Suitable for Museum Storage & Exhibition (with suppliers list)

Integrated Pest Management
* Checklist for IPM
* Freezing How to

How to Read a Chair Frame (clues to original upholstery layers)

Bibliographies on specific topics related to collection care


PRESS RELEASE – “Historic 1812 Battle Flag is Conserved” – Historic flag has ties to Sam Houston, John Williams, and Andrew Jackson.  Released March 8, 2016.