Wonderful Women Wednesday: Rosemary Fallon

Each week, the Archives features a woman who has been a groundbreaker at the Smithsonian, past or present, in a series titled Wonderful Women Wednesday. 

Rosemary Fallon was a paper conservator at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery between 1988 and 2017. There, she worked on research and activities related to the preservation of cultural heritage, emergency preparedness, and salvage and recovery from natural and man-made disasters. Following the earthquake that devastated Haiti in 2010, Fallon joined a team of Smithsonian staff to aid in cultural heritage recovery efforts. As part of this project, she taught a workshop on the preservation and conservation of works of art.

A man sits next to Rosemary Fallon, who is lifting a mat from what appears to be a photograph on a d

Interestingly, Fallon’s career at the Smithsonian began when she worked as a book buyer for the museum shops in the late 1970s. So what led her to become a paper conservator? As Fallon explained on the National Portrait Gallery’s blog, facetoface, she was inspired by a lunchtime lecture at the Smithsonain’s Museum Conservation Institute, and soon looked into graduate programs for conservations. 

She earned her M.S. in book and paper conservation from Columbia University and her B.A. in art history with a minor in studio art from the University of Maryland in College Park.

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