Lawrence J. Majewski—1999 Conservation and Heritage Management Award

Award Citation:

The Archaeological Institute of America is proud to present the 1999 Conservation and Heritage Management Award to Lawrence J. Majewski. This award was instituted in 1998 to recognize the exceptional achievement of an individual or an institution in the areas of archaeological conservation, conservation science, heritage management, or education and public awareness of archaeological conservation through teaching, lecturing, exhibitions, or publications. Larry Majewski has devoted most of his life to all of these fields and, deservedly, is this year's honoree.

Larry Majewski was born in 1919 and studied chemistry and biology before entering service during World War II. After the war, he turned to studies in art and completed his B.F.A. and M.F.A at Yale University. His dual interests in art and conservation led him first into paintings conservation at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1952. In 1953 he was recruited by Murray Pease to help with the conservation of the Byzantine Mosaics in Istanbul, which led to his appointment as Deputy Director of the Byzantine Institute of America in Istanbul, Turkey from 1956–1960.

In 1960 he returned to the United States to join the staff of the Conservation Center, Institute of Fine Arts (IFA), New York University, the first degree-granting American conservation training program. He was appointed Chairman of the Conservation Center in 1966 and actively served as a member of the staff until his retirement in 1986. Since 1986 he has continued to teach and advise students at the IFA in his role as the Hagop Kevorkian Professor Emeritus of Conservation and Adjunct Professor of Conservation.

Throughout his career, Professor Majewski provided advice, support, and service to a variety of projects that were important to the emerging field of art and archaeological conservation. In 1966 he organized and led a group of 17 American conservators to aid the rescue effort just after the devastating flood in Florence. In 1971, when the U.S. formally joined ICCROM, he served as the U.S. delegate. In 1971 he was signatory to the by-laws of the newly founded American Institute of Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (AIC) and worked for years on its incorporation.

Professor Majewski's contributions to the field of archaeology and heritage management are also numerous. In 1964 he was appointed Chief Conservator of the archaeological expedition to Sardis for Harvard University. He kept that position for 25 years, lecturing and teaching dozens of students in the field. He served as a consultant to a wide variety of international projects, including the Buddhist Shrine of Borobodur (Indonesia) in 1973 and the Ajanta Caves (India) in 1975, and was advisor to numerous projects in Venice and Poland. He also actively worked as a member of the ICOM Working Group on Icons and the ICCROM Group on mosaics, as well as acted as editor for Art and Archaeology Technical Abstracts for almost two decades. He has been a Fellow of the International Institute for Conservation (IIC) for over 30 years and was appointed Honorary Fellow of AIC in 1987. He has also been an affiliate of numerous organizations, including a member of the AAM and the AIA. In addition he found time to contribute to his local community near Wappinger Falls, New York, where he was president of the Bowdoin Park Historical and Archaeological Association from 1986 to 1990.

Through his teaching, Professor Majewski generously shared his knowledge, experience, and interests with hundreds of students who fondly remember him. He has numerous lectures and publications to his credit on field conservation and monument and site management. He gave to his students a thorough understanding of technology and materials science as well as an abiding joy and pleasure in art. His students have not all become conservators-many have gone on to be scientists, curators, art historians, artists, or administrators-a fact that reflects on his enormous love and ability for the new and unknown directions that life can take. His contributions to the fields of conservation and archaeology will be seen through these future generations for decades to come.

In recognition of a lifetime of contributions to the field of conservation and archaeology, the Archaeological Institute of America is pleased to present the 1999 Conservation Award to Professor Larry J. Majewski.

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