Episode 22: How Can You Use Science to Restore a Beautiful Masterpiece

Meet the Expert:  Suzanne Quillen Lomax, Senior Conservation Scientist, The National Gallery of Art

Suzanne Quillen Lomax received her Ph.D in Organic Chemistry from the University of Maryland, and then went to Northwestern University, where she performed postdoctoral research in organic photochemistry. Dr. Lomax has been working as an organic chemist in the Scientific Research Department of the National Gallery of Art since 1986, investigating the identification and aging behavior of artists’ materials. Her title is currently Senior Conservation Scientist. She has been a speaker for the American Chemical Society since 1991. Dr. Lomax has been a member of the board of directors of IRUG (the Infrared and Raman Users Group) since 1998 and also serves as a spectral reviewer for that organization. She is also a managing editor of the Gallery’s journal Facture, which combines research from art historians, conservators and scientists. Her current research focuses on the identification of synthetic organic pigments by a variety of analytical techniques, including Raman spectroscopy and laser desorption ionization mass spectrometry.




Dr. Lomax works at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.

The National Gallery of Art, founded as a gift to the nation, serves as a center of visual art, education, and culture. Our collection of more than 150,000 paintings, sculpture, decorative arts, photographs, prints, and drawings spans the history of Western art and showcases some of the triumphs of human creativity. Across 363 days a year, the Gallery offers a full spectrum of special exhibitions and public programs free of charge.

The mission of the National Gallery of Art is to serve the United States of America in a national role by preserving, collecting, exhibiting, and fostering the understanding of works of art, at the highest possible museum and scholarly standards.


Dr. Lomax working on a Robert Rauschenberg tile Image courtesy of the National Gallery of Art

Dr. Lomax examining a painting by Mary Cassatt with a colleague. Image courtesy of the National Gallery of Art













See the amazing exhibitions at the National Gallery of Art  HERE

Learn about the wonderful Sculpture Garden HERE 

In addition to all of the amazing art that is displayed in the museum, there are also plenty of awesome resources for parents and teachers, including virtual tours and activities. Borrow free-loan teaching packets and DVDs or access online lessons, activities, and interactives to bring art to your classroom, home, non-profit tv station, or other learning setting. All materials are free.  Check it all out HERE!

The next time you are in Washington, D.C., consider visiting this amazingly beautiful place.  It is a must see!



Do the paper chromotagraphy experiment that Dr. Lomax described in the podcast

Take a look at this video for hints on how to do this

With your parents permission, send us your picture via email at podcast@solveitforkids.com OR

tag us on our Twitter or Instagram account @kidssolve

If you send in your challenge OR just leave a comment below about the episode, you will be entered into a giveaway to win a FREE copy of the book listed on the episode page.





Highlighted book for this episode!

An Eye for Art: Focusing on Great Artists and Their Work  by National Gallery of Art

Introduce children ages 7 and up to more than 50 great artists and their work with this lively family-oriented art resource. This treasure trove from the National Gallery of Art features works of art by, among others, Raphael, Rembrandt, Georgia O’Keeffe, Henri Matisse, Chuck Close, Jacob Lawrence, Pablo Picasso, and Alexander Calder, representing a wide array of artistic styles and techniques. Each chapter is focused on a theme ranging from studying nature and observing everyday life to breaking traditions and telling stories and includes works from a broad spectrum of artists, art mediums, nationalities, and time periods. Forty fun activities throughout will inspire the artist and art appreciator in every child.




Book List:

Discovering Great Artists: Hands-On Art Experiences in the Styles of Great Masters 
by MaryAnn F Kohl and  Kim Solga (Chicago Review Press)

Children’s Book of Art: An Introduction to the World’s Most Amazing Paintings and Sculptures by DK

The Story of Paintings: A History of Art for Children by Mick Manning (Author), Brita Granström (Illustrator)– (Sterling Kids)

A Child’s Introduction to Art: The World’s Greatest Paintings and Sculptures by Heather Alexander (Author), Meredith Hamilton (Illustrator)– (Black Dog & Leventhal)

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