The Conservation and Art Materials Encyclopedia Online (CAMEO) is an electronic database that compiles, defines, and disseminates technical information on the distinct collection of terms, materials, and techniques used in the fields of art conservation and historic preservation.
The CAMEO project team has researched, entered and reviewed information over 10,000 materials. The team is composed of:
- Michele Derrick, Conservation Scientist, MFA
- Arthur Beale, Chair, Conservation and Collections Management, MFA (1997-2006)
- Matthew Siegal, Chair, Conservation and Collections Management, MFA (2007-present)
- Richard Newman, Head, Scientific Research Department, MFA
CHARISMA/CAMEO cooperation organizer:
- Jean Louis Boutaine, Scientist emeritus, C2RMF
Web design and implementation:
- Josh Sostek - MFA Senior Developer
- Tim Benson - Contract Developer
Imaging and Photography:
- Keith Lawrence, Scientific Photographer, MFA (2000-2011)
History of CAMEO
In 1997, the database, formerly called the Conservation and Art Materials Dictionary (CAMD), was developed at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston by the Conservation and Collections Management Department under the direction of Arthur Beale. An initial grant from the Center for Preservation Technology and Training (NCPTT) along with additional resources and support from the MFA enabled the first version of the database to be placed on the Internet in November 2000.
In the development phase, to ensure complete coverage from the diverse specialties within museums and conservation, six initial contributors/reviewers (Gordon Hanlon, Pamela Hatchfield, Teresa Hensick, Meredith Montague, Ivan Myjer, and Roy Perkinson) supplied entries of materials and reviewed draft versions of the database. Michele Derrick, the principal investigator, compiled, consolidated, condensed, and entered available information into the database program. The MFA Webmaster, Phil Getchell, and consultant John Klick developed an online application that allowed interactive, searchable access to the data. After beta testing by the conservation and curatorial staff at the Museum, the database was uploaded to the Internet for use and review by the worldwide conservation community. It was immediately hailed as an important resource for the field.
Soon it was deemed important for CAMEO to have an upgraded structure as well as for its coverage and content to be expanded into a more comprehensive and well-rounded encyclopedic resource for the art conservation and historic preservation fields. In October 2002, a two-year National Leadership grant from the Institute of Museum Library Services (IMLS) allowed the transport of CAMEO to a SQL based system to better handle the volume of users and information. Major additions to the database included added auxiliary pages for images and documentation of the authority trail. A companion database containing a directory of conservation-related organizations was also added. The IMLS grant ended with all projected tasks completed, including the addition of approximately 6,000 images. In July 2005, a two-year grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation provided support to upgrade the appearance and user functionality of CAMEO. Mediatrope, a professional web development firm, was selected to redesign the website and implement upgrades. New features include auxiliary COMPARISON pages and a third database for information on the Forbes Pigment Collection.
In 2013, with a grant from the Kress Foundation, CAMEO was removed from the proprietary software and placed on a MediaWiki platform by Josh Sostek, MFA Web developer, and Tim Benson, consultant. This major transformation heralds a new era for CAMEO because it opens the database to the option of data entry by many volunteer editors. This expanded set of editors will help CAMEO records stay current and also allow the database to expand in new directions by adding information on new reference collections.