PreservationTheory.org

John R. Watson

John R. Watson
Résumé


Personal Notes Other Professional Activities
Education Publications
Employment Reviews
Awards Selected Lectures
Professional Memberships  

Personal Notes


  • 1952 born in St. Louis, Mo.

  • 1957-1967 Tioga County and Endicott, New York

  • 1968-1969 Irving/Dallas, Texas

  • 1970-79 Vestal, NY; Chenango Bridge, NY

  • 1979-1988 Cary, NC, Pittsboro, NC

  • 1988-present Williamsburg, VA



    • Education

      • Public school education in Endicott, New York and Dallas, Texas. 

      • B. Mus. from Houghton College, Houghton, N.Y. (1974)

      • Science for Conservators, AIP Distance Learning Program (1998)

      • Historical Musical Instrument Making Traditions and Technologies: independent study since 1972 resulting in the making of 32 reproduction keyboard instruments, several lectures, publication of five articles, and one book (details below)..

      • Conservation Ethics and Documentation: independent study 1989-present, resulting in two books and numerous articles and public lectures.

      • Information Technology for Conservation: independent study 1990-present, resulting in programming of computer systems for conservation project tracking, conservation surveys, and treatment documentation. All systems are in daily use at Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.



      Employment

      • 2016–present: conservator in private practice – conservation of keyboard musical instruments for museums, musicians and private collectors.

      • 1988–2016: Conservator of Instruments and Mechanical Arts at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, Williamsburg, Va.

      • June, 2008–2016: Associate Curator of Musical Instruments Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, Williamsburg, Va.

      • 1977–1995: conservator in private practice – conservation of keyboard musical instruments for museums, musicians and private collectors.

      • 1972–1988: Church musician in three churches, directing overall program, and choral conducting

      • 1974-1995: Self employed, making reproductions of early keyboard instruments (4 clavichords, 7 single manual harpsichords, 7 double manual harpsichords, 11 spinets, 1 regal organ, 1 fortepiano.)



      Professional Memberships



      Awards

      • 2016 Conservation Advocacy Award "in recognition of his substantial efforts in public outreach and advocacy" by the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (AIC).

      • Grant from the American Musical Instrument Society for online publication of the Clinkscale Database of Early Pianos. 2010 & 2015

      • Professional Associate, American Institute for Conservation

      • Samuel H. Kress Conservation Publications Fellowship 1999 resulting in the publication of Artifacts in Use: The Paradox of Restoration and the Conservation of Organs (see below)



      Other Professional Activities

      • Curator of exhibition "Changing Keys: Keyboard Instruments for America 1700–1830" currently at the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum. See Exhibition photos.

      • Member of the United States Senate Curatorial Advisory Board (2011– 2014)

      • Consultant to the Göteborg Organ Art Center, University of Gothenburg (Sweden).

      • Chief editor and database administrator of the Clinkscale Online, a comprehensive, international research database of Early Pianos, 1720-1860:  www.EarlyPianos.org 

      • Designer of software for conservation, including development of CDS-Documentation, a conservation documentation program published and distributed by Conservation Data Systems, LLC
        (www.ConservationDataSystems.com)

      • Organ Historical Society - Restoration and Conservation Guidelines Revision committee (co-chair)

      • Program Committee American Institute for Conservation National Meeting for 2003

      • Reviewer, Kress Publication Fellowships 2002

      • Organizer of an international organ restoration conference in 1999, Smithfield, Virginia



      Publications List

      (in reverse order of publication)
      • "Changing Keys Exhibit Celebrates the Piano Revolution in Revolutionary Times" Piano Technicians Journal, (summer 2016)

      • "A Square Piano Claviorgan for Colonial Williamsburg" with Thomas Strange, Historical Keyboard Society of North America Newsletter vol. 3, No. 2 (Fall 2014) p. 10-11

      • "Addition, Subtraction, Deception and History: The Restorative Conservation of Historic Pianos" Piano Technicians Journal vol. 57 No. 12 (Dec. 2014), 16-23

      • "Some Proposed Principles of Piano Conservation" published by the Piano Technician's Guild Foundation on their website and include with the PTG Journal article above

      • "The 1799 Organized Upright Grand Piano in Williamsburg: A Preliminary Report" Journal of the American Musical Instrument Society vol. 40 (2014) 9-28, 119-222

      • Changing Keys: Keyboard Musical Instruments for America 1700–1830  (book) Scarecrow Press in association with The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, 2013

      • "Conservation" (with Robert Barclay) in Grove Dictionary of Musical Instruments  Second Edition (2014)

      • Artifacts in Use: The Paradox of Restoration and the Conservation of Organs (book) published by the Organ Historical Society in association with The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. 2010

          Review by Robert L. Barclay in Journal of the American Musical Instrument Society (PDF)

          Review by Dominic Gwynn in the Galpin Society Journal (PDF)

          Review by Tilman Skowroneck in Keyboard Perspectives, Yearbook of the Westfield Center for Historical Keyboard Studies (PDF)

          Review by Edward C. Pepe in the American Organist (PDF)

      • "New OHS Guidelines for Conservation" in The Tacker: Journal of the Organ Historical Society vol. 53 No. 4, Fall 2009

      • "The Restorative Conservation of Organs: A Conceptual Roadmap" in The Organ Yearbook  Vol. 37 (2008)

      • "The Elements of Conservation: A Conceptual Model"
        in proceedings from the conference "The Conservation of Archaeological Materials: Current Trends and Future Directions" Nov. 13–17, 2005

      • "Instrument and Document: Balancing Values in the Conservation of Musical Instruments" in Postprints of the Wooden Artifacts Group (2006)

      • Organ Restoration Reconsidered: Proceedings of a Colloquium. (book) edited by J.R. Watson. Harmonie Park Press, 2005

      • “Conservation of a Jeffersonian Vision: Jefferson’s 1786 Model of the Capitol of Virginia” in Interpreter. The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. Summer 2002 pp. 1–5

      • “Conservation of Six Historic Organs at Colonial Williamsburg” in The Tracker(Journal of the Organ Historical Society) Vol. 46, Number 3, July 2002 pp. 22–34

      • “Instrument Restoration and the Scholarship Imperative” in Early Keyboard Journal, vol. 19 (2001) pp. 7–31

      • “Performance Standards meet Museum Standards: The Conservation of Organs” in Towards the Conservation and Restoration of Historic Organs: A Record of the 1999 Liverpool Conference, ed. Jim Berrow, Church House Publishing, 2000

      • Costume Close-up: Pattern and Construction of Antique Clothing, 1750-1790 (book) with Linda R. Baumgarten. CWF and Quite Specific Press, New York, 1998 [graphic design and CAD drawings; L. Baumgarten is curator of costume at CWF, and my wife]

      • Makers of the Piano, 1820-1860, by Martha Clinkscale, illustrated by J.R. Watson, Oxford University Press, 1998

      • “Theory and Practice in the Conservation of Musical Instruments,” with David B. Blanchfield, Journal of the Violin Society of America, 1998

      • “An 18th-Century Harpsichord Workshop contributes Two New Technologies,” in Eighteenth-Century Woodworking Tools edited by James M. Gaynor, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, 1997

      • "Recommendations for the Conservation of Musical Instruments: an Annotated Bibliography" (CIMCIM - Comité International des Musées et Collections d'Instruments de Musique) co-written with five other international writers. 1993

      • “Historical Musical Instruments: A Claim To Use, An Obligation To Preserve,” Journal of the American Musical Instrument Society, Vol XVII (1991), 69

      • “Balancing Physical Integrity with Aesthetic Integrity: Ethical Problems in the Conservation of Musical Instruments.” Abstracts. American Institute for Conservation, 1990. 18

      • “Claviers for Salem: Historic Keyboard Instruments in the Salem Moravian Community,” Moravian Music Journal, Vol. XXXI No. 1 (Spring 1986), 9

      • “A Catalog of Antique Keyboard Instruments in the Southeast,” published serially in Early Keyboard Journal, II (1983–84), 64; III (1984–85), 60; V (1986–87), 53; IX (1991), 71; XV (1997), 93

      • “Three Examples of Keyboard Restoration,” Early Keyboard Journal, I (1982–83), 16

      • Fine Woodworking Biennial Design Book (Taunton Press, 1977 p.157) and Fine Woodworking Biennial Design Book Two (Taunton Press, 1979 p.39)



      Reviews

      • Stuart Pollens. The Manual of Musical Instrument Conservation. Cambridge: University Printing House, 2015. Review forthcoming in Journal of the American Musical Instrument Society

      • Alec Cobbe and Christopher Nobbs. Three Hundred Years of Composers’ Instruments: The Cobbe Collection. Woodbridge, Suffolk, UK: Boydell Press, 2014. Forthcoming in Journal of the American Musical Instrument Society

      • Darryl Martin. The Art of Making a Harpsichord. London, Robert Hale, 2010. Review forthcoming in Early Keyboard Journal

      • Edward L. Kottick. A History of the Harpsichord.Bloomington,IN. Indiana University Press, 2003. Reviewed in Journal of the American Musical Instrument Society Vol. 32, 2006

      • John Koster. Keyboard Musical Instruments in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Boston: Museum of Fine Arts, 1994. Reviewed in Early Keyboard Journal, Vol. 14, 1996



      Software

      • CDS-Documentation" A PC-based program for documenting the conservation of art, artifacts, and natural history specimens. Designed by John Watson and published by Conservation Data Systems, LLC



      Selected Lectures

      (in reverse order of date)
      • "Furniture that Sings: Keyboard Musical Instruments for America" Antiques Forum, Williamsburg, 2013-02

      • Conservation Outreach and Issues of Cultural Authority: Making Inroads into a Special Interest Community" for the symposium "Playing to the Galleries and Engaging New Audiences: The Public Face of Conservation." Williamsburg, 2011-11-14

      • "Saving Time for the Future: Conservation and the Paradox of Restoration." Association of Watch and Clock Collectors National Syumposium, Keynote address, Williamsburg, 2010-10-28

      • "That the Future May Learn from the Past: How Colonial Williamsburg Manages Information in Historic Artifacts." Association for Configuration and Data Management (ACDM) Annual Meeting, Williamsburg, 2010-3-22

      • "A Philadelphia Survivor: America's Only Harpsichord." (on the 1794 Trute & Wiedberg harpsichord) Southeastern and Midwestern Historical Keyboard Societies, Temple University, Philadelphia, 2009-3-13

      • "Copying Period Instruments as a Research Tool" the Eastman Rochester Organ Initiative (EROI), University of Rochester, Rochester, New York, 2008-10-19

      • "Fossils, Oddballs, and Miraculous Survivors: Year 25 of the SEHKS Inventory of Historic Keyboard Instruments." Southeastern Historical Keyboard Society at the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts. 2008-3

      • "The Restorative Conservation of Organs: A Conceptual Roadmap" (abstract) Keynote address for New Dimensions In Organ Conservation and Documentation: An International Symposium Co-Sponsored by the American Organ Archives of the Organ Historical Society and the Eastman Rochester Organ Initiative, University Of Rochester, Rochester, New York, 2007-10-11

      • "Instrument and Document: Balancing Values in the Conservation of Musical Instruments." American Institute for Conservation, Wooden Artifacts Group Providence, RI, 2006-6-17

      • "The Elements of Conservation: A Conceptual Model." 2005-11, Archaeology Symposium, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation

      • Overcoming Obstacles to Documentation American Institute for Conservation, General Session, Minneapolis, MN. 2005-6

      • "A Conceptual Model and Practical Solution for Conservation Documentation" American Institute for Conservation, Objects Specialty Group, Minneapolis, MN. 2005-6

      • "CDS-Documentation: Creating a Database for Documentation for colloquium "Computerizing Object Condition Surveys, Ottawa Canada 2004-2

      • "The paradox of restoration: restoring the form, preserving the substance" International Scientific Instruments Symposium, Newport News, VA. 2003-10-3

      • "The Influence of Conservators’ Values in the Lifecycle of Cultural Property." American Institute for Conservation, General Session, Arlington, VA. 2003-6-6

      • "Musical Instruments in a Decorative Arts Collection: Can you Carry a Tune in a Tureen?" Antiques Forum, Colonial Williamsburg, 2003

      • "Pulling all the Stops: Conservation of the Wren Chapel Organ." Williamsburg, Music Institute. 2002-3-19

      • "Jefferson & The Capitol of Virginia, Conservation of a Jeffersonian Vision." Richmond. VA, Library of Virginia. 2002-5-8

      • "The Conservation of Working Objects", Williamsburg, Conservation Symposium. 2001-11-8

      • "The Keyboard Milieu of Thomas Jefferson," 3-17-2001, Charlottesville, VA, Southeastern Historical Keyboard Society

      • "The Paradox of Restoration: A Question of Form and Substance" 2001-01-06, Asheville, NC, American Musical Instrument Society

      • "Pianos as Primary Documents: Implications for Conservation, Restoration, and Copies" 2000-5-8. Vermillion, SD, USD Symposium: The Pre-Classical Piano

      • "Performance Standards meet Museum Standards: The Conservation of Pipe Organs" 1999-8-25, Liverpool, UK, British Institute of Organ Studies

      • "A Philosophy of Conservation and Restoration" 1997-10-6, Williamsburg VA, American Institute of Organbuilders

      • "Technology in the Kirkman Workshop: The State of the Art" 1997-8-22 Edinburgh, Scotland, The Galpin Society

      • "Old Technologies Meet New: Current Work at Colonial Williamsburg" 1997-5-12 Washington, DC, Comité International des Musées et Collections d’Instruments de Musique (CIMCIM)

      • "The Copy as a Research Tool: Reproducing a 1762 Kirckman Harpsichord" 1996-5-17 Vermillion, SD, American Musical Instrument Society

      • "Recent Trends in Conservation and Restoration" 1996-3-1, Tallahassee, FL. Southeastern Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies

      • "Musical Instruments in Colonial America" 1996-1-29 Charleston Museum, Winter Training Institute

      • "Antique Pianos: A Conservator’s View" 1995-11-4 Durham. NC, Piano Technicians Guild Regional Convention

      • "The Palace Harpsichord: A Royal Restoration" 1994-10-5 Williamsburg, VA. General Audience

      • "Early Mechanization in the Production of Keyboard Musical Instruments" 1994-5-21, Williamsburg, VA, Tool Symposium

      • "The SEHKS Catalog of Early Keyboards - Highlights from the First Dozen Years" 1994-1-28 Charleston Museum, Southeast Historical Keyboard Society

      • "The Other Voice of Musical Instruments: Reading the 1766 Zumpe Piano" 1993-10-6 Williamsburg, VA. General Audience

      • "Johannes Zumpe and the Origins of the English Piano" 1993-4-17. Louisville, KY, Southeastern Historical Keyboard Society

      • "Musical Instruments in Colonial America" 1993-3-9. San Francisco, The Antiques Forum of Northern California

      • "Overhearing History: The Conservator as Technological Historian" 1992-6‑7 Buffalo, NY, American Institute for Conservation, Wooden Artifacts Group

      • "A 1758 Encyclopedia of Harpsichord Making: Reading the Tool Marks" 1991-11-4 Clayton State College, Atlanta, GA - Symposium

      • "Reconstructing Historical Musical Instrument-Making Technologies: The Artifact as Window. 1991-3-9. Bethlehem, PA, American Musical Instrument Society

      • "To Play or Not to Play: Antique Musical Instruments in Museum Collections" 1990-9-8. Washington, D.C. AASLH

      • "Balancing Physical Integrity with Esthetic Integrity: Problems in the Conservation of Musical Instruments" 1990-6-2. Richmond, VA, American Institute for Conservation, General Session

      • "Conserving our Primary Sources" 1990-5-17. Williamsburg, VA

      • "Antique Musical Instruments: Preserve, Play, or Both 1990-3-9 August, GA, Southeastern Historical Keyboard Society

      • "Musical Instruments: A Unique Challenge in Conservation" 1989-6-29 Richmond, Virginia Museum, Virginia Conservation Association

John R. Watson
210 John Pinckney Lane
Williamsburg, VA 23185
(757) 565-8594 office
PreservationTheory.org
j-dot-watson-at-jrw1-dot-com