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Theresa Costello, alumna of the Master’s Programme in Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Heritage at the UvA, has won the Rijksmuseum Migelien Gerritzen Thesis Award 2021 with her Master’s thesis, titled ‘Diagnostic Investigation into a Cracking Phenomenon on the Mouthpieces of Seventeenth-Eighteenth Century Glass Horns’. Costello graduated in the specialisation Glass and Ceramics conservation.

The jury unanimously selected Costello’s thesis because of its excellent academic quality in combination with a very convincing and clear presentation of the research outcomes. The two other nominees for the prize were Erica Loh (Contemporaty Art) and Jessica Carter (Paintings). Erica Loh’s investigation focused on the challenges of preserving botanical art and Jessica Carter performed research into smalt degradation in The Nightwatch by Rembrandt van Rijn.

Theresa Costello investigated the crack formation in the mouthpieces of historical glass horns by applying research techniques including macro-x-ray fluorescence, ion chromatography and fractography. Using these techniques she was able to determine the chemical composition of the surface of the glass and investigate the nature and source of the cracking. Working with a glass blower, Costello then created replicas of the glass horns. Her detailed study of the procedures of heating and cooling provided new insights into the origin and process of the crack formation.

Erica Loh, Theresa Costello en Jessica Carter (© Greetje van der Werf)

Rijksmuseum-Migelien Gerritzen thesis awards

Since 2013, the Rijksmuseum awards the Migelien Gerritzen Thesis Award to a Master’s student in Conservation and Restoration at the University of Amsterdam. The award consists of a cheque worth € 1.000, half of which is awarded to the recipient directly, while the other half can be redeemed after publication of the research in a professional journal for research in conservation and restoration.

The award was initiated by the Migelien Gerritzen Fund/Rijksmuseum Fund. This fund was established in rembrance of Migelien Gerritzen from the generous bequest donated after her death which supports educational projects in conservation, restoration and technical art history.

Conservation and restoration at the UvA

The University of Amsterdam is the only programme in the Netherlands that offers education in conservation-restoration according to European standards. It is an interdisciplinary programme aimed at students with a passion for cultural heritage, and a wish to combine theory and practice. The education trajectory starts with a two-year Master’s in Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Heritage which consists of nine conservation specialisations as well as a track in Technical Art History. After successful completion of the Master’s programme, conservation students complete their education as a conservator with the two-year Advanced Professional Programme.