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Art Conservation Center at the University of Denver Records

Identifier: U139


The Art Conservation Center at the University of Denver began its existence in 1977 as the Rocky Mountain Regional Conservation Center with the mission of analyzing and treating works of art and culturally valuable objects. It was a unit of the University of Denver, and treated paintings, objects and textiles. In 2000 the name was changed to The Art Conservation Center at the University of Denver. The administrative records, as well as the detailed records of treatments completed, were transferred to the University Archives when the Center closed in 2001.


  • 1977-2001


Biographical / Historical

The Art Conservation Center at the University of Denver was the last name of an art conservation group that began as the Rocky Mountain Regional Conservation Center in 1977. The announcement of the Center’s opening was made April 4, 1977, but the Constitution and By-laws of the Rocky Mountain Regional Conservation Consortium, the governing body of the Center was not adopted until April 27, 1977. The Consortium began with eight members, each of which was assessed $800 to begin the Center. Other funding came from an NEA grant and a gift from the Shwayder Foundation to furnish a conservation laboratory.

The University of Denver agreed to provide the space for the lab and in a 1978 memo, Vice Chancellor Kay clarified the Center’s status within the University by saying that “The Rocky Mountain Conservation Center is a unit of the University responsible to the Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs . . . “ The Center’s purpose was to provide analysis, care and treatment of works of art and culturally valuable objects. Initially the Center handled paintings, paper and objects. Textiles were added in 1983. The Center’s fee for conservation work was determined by the complexity of the work, with consortium members receiving a discount. The conservator would examine a work and make a proposal for treatment that outlined the cost of the procedure.

The equipment that was used by the Center was state of the art and expensive. The Center was intended to be a self-supporting unit of the University, but seldom reached that goal and so was affected by the financial fluctuations of the University. The general economy of the region also affected the decisions of institutions and individuals to have material professionally conserved. In 1985 the University considered discontinuing the funding for the Center, but the Center was able to increase its revenues and members, so the University continued its support. In 2001 the financial situation of the Center was again critical, but this time the Center was not able to rally the support of the University or the conservation community and the Center was closed.


140.75 Linear Feet (142 containers)

Scope and Contents

The records of The Art Conservation Center at the University of Denver consist of the administrative records of the Center in addition to the records of surveys of art works examined in the Rocky Mountain region and records of conservation treatments performed. The records cover the period from the founding of the Center in 1977 to its closing in 2001.


The collection is unarranged.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Transfer from The Art Conservation Center at the University of Denver, 2001.


No further accruals are expected.


The accession from Jefferson County Library indicated that there were books and serials included. Although those items were probably cataloged and separated, I could not absolutely say that there were no such items in a rather jumbled box. When the collection is processed a determination can be made just what items are left. (mak 2/12/2008)

Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections and Archives Repository

2150 East Evans Avenue
Denver CO 80208
(303) 871-3428