From Classics to Caring for Cultural Heritage

Hayley Monroe '08 Classics major/Master's in Conservation from the UCLA/Getty Program for the Conservation of Archaeological and Ethnographic Materials

Hayley Monroe ’08 Classics major/Master's in Conservation from the UCLA/Getty Program for the Conservation of Archaeological and Ethnographic Materials

Majoring in classics at Mount Holyoke College started me on the path to my current career as an art conservator. I have always loved history and material culture, and reading ancient authors opened windows onto the past in vivid and exciting ways. During my junior year the director of the field school at an Etruscan archaeological site called Poggio Civitate gave a talk to the department, and, having always been good with my hands and rather outdoorsy, I felt an immediate spark. Just over a year later, after my graduation, I applied to and was admitted to the field school (a leap of faith that would have been impossible without additional support from Mount Holyoke College in the form of a Frances Mary Hazen Fellowship). Archaeological field work, both at Poggio Civitate, and later at a Neo Assyrian site in Turkey called Ziyaret Tepe introduced me to the field of conservation - the profession of caring for and preserving material culture. Closely allied with archaeological and museum work, it provided the perfect combination of history, science, and physical skill.

In 2018 I graduated with my Master's degree in conservation from the UCLA/Getty Program for the Conservation of Archaeological and Ethnographic Materials at the University of California, Los Angeles. Since then, I have contracted with museums and other arts institutions in and around Vancouver, British Columbia. Art conservation has given me the opportunity to work on diverse projects with amazing people and communities. The profession is committed to the preservation of cultural heritage in all of its many forms - from archaeological sites and artifacts, to traditional indigenous knowledge, from old master paintings to modern digital media. I am deeply grateful to have had the opportunity to pursue this career, and majoring in classics at Mount Holyoke College was instrumental in putting me on this path.