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The Mysteries of Iron

Understanding Materials and Techniques

Saturdays, September 21 – October 12, 10am – 12pm


Unidentified Maker. Hinge, 17th–18th century. 01.14.21. Public Domain.

$200; members $180

(4 classes)

About the Class

Albert Barnes recognized the beauty of ordinary metal objects—door hinges, keyhole escutcheons, even spatulas—and integrated them into his gallery ensembles.

This short course explores the ways iron is mined, refined, and used to create both utilitarian and decorative objects. We will study examples from the Barnes Foundation’s extraordinary collection of metalworks, looking closely at technique and thinking about the versatility of this material. We will also discuss how the Barnes’s conservation department goes about preserving and cleaning the iron objects in the galleries.

This class includes visits to a foundry and the Barnes conservation lab in Merion. Students will need to arrange their own transportation.

Capacity: 25


Margaret Little

Little is the senior conservator of objects at the Barnes Foundation. Prior to joining the Barnes, she worked at Winterthur Museum in Delaware and the Milwaukee Public Museum.