Ellen Pearlstein, professor in the UCLA School of Education & Information Studies and the UCLA/Getty Conservation Program, has been awarded the Rome Prize by the American Academy in Rome for her scholarship on the conservation of indigenous materials from the Americas. As part of the award, she will receive a stipend and accommodations on the academy’s campus starting in September 2021.
The Rome Prize laureates are selected through a national competition in 11 disciplines. Pearlstein was one of three awarded in the field of historic preservation and conservation. She will remain at the academy for a six-month residency, during which she will take a sabbatical from UCLA for one quarter and teach one quarter remotely.
Pearlstein’s main areas of interest involve using plant materials as paint binders on cultural objects, indigenous communities and their relationship to conservation decision-making, and the developing role of preventive conservation. While working at the academy, Pearlstein will research the relationship between European and American museums and the communities whose cultural materials they hold. She will examine the nearby Vatican Museum and Luigi Pigorini National Prehistoric Ethnographic Museum in particular, both of which are in the process of redefining their practices related to their indigenous cultural holdings.