Irene Karsten

Senior Preventive Conservation Advisor, Preventive Conservation Division

Main areas of work and/or specializations

  • preventive conservation
  • facility assessments and advisory services
  • risk management
  • emergency preparedness and response


Photo of Irene Karsten
Irene Karsten

Irene Karsten completed an M.Sc. and a Ph.D. in Human Ecology with a specialization in textile conservation science at the University of Alberta in 1998 and 2003 respectively, following training in general art conservation techniques at Fleming College (Diploma in Art Conservation Techniques, 1994) and museum studies at the University of Toronto (Master of Museum Studies, 1987). In 2003–2004, she completed further research related to adhesive support treatments for textiles at the Canadian Conservation Institute (CCI) as a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council Post-doctoral Fellow. From 2005 to 2009, she was the Museum Conservator for the University of Alberta Museums in Edmonton, where she was responsible for a preventive conservation program for 35 collections on a large university campus. She also taught undergraduate courses on preventive conservation and textile conservation treatment and supervised graduate students in textiles and collections conservation.

Irene joined CCI as a preventive conservation advisor in 2009. She conducts broad-based facility assessments and develops strategies and project management solutions for museums, heritage groups, galleries and other specialized institutions with respect to the management of collections. She contributes to risk management projects for museums, galleries and archives and provides training in risk management methods. She teaches the CCI workshop “Emergency and Disaster Preparedness for Cultural Institutions.” Irene is active in the Canadian Association for Conservation of Cultural Property, serving as President from 2004 to 2006, and she is currently the Managing Editor of the Journal of the Canadian Association for Conservation.

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