January 14, 2014
On December 17, 2013, James Janowski, professor in Hampden-Sydney College's philosophy department, gave an invited talk at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (MMA) in New York City. Using several challenging and provocative case studies, Janowski discussed some philosophical questions at work in the conservation and restoration of cultural heritage, and led a lively discussion on the heels of his presentation. Jointly sponsored by the Director's Office at the MMA and its Objects Conservation Department, Janowski's talk was aimed at a varied audience of museum professionals-conservators, curators, art historians, conservation scientists, museum educators, and MMA administrators.
Professor Janowski is especially interested in the many philosophical issues that arise in thinking about the conservation, restoration, and preservation of material culture and material cultural heritage (artworks, buildings, sites). He has published a number of essays-see, for example, "Resuscitating Bamiyan's Buddhas? A Dispatch from Dresden, Two Lessons Learned" and Bringing Back Bamiyan's Buddhas-and is at work on a book which aims to sort out what should happen at Bamiyan while also addressing the fundamental questions in conservation theory. He has given numerous presentations, both invited talks and conference talks, in the U.S. and abroad.