Campus & Community

Elizabeth Jones, 94, former conservator at Fogg

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Served 22 years as head of the Conservation Department

Elizabeth H. Jones, former head of conservation at the Fogg Museum, died on May 20 in Woodbury, Conn. She was 94.

Known to friends and colleagues as Betty, she earned a degree in fine arts from Vassar College in 1940 and studied painting at the Art Students League of New York for two years before joining the World War II effort in the drafting department of Pratt & Whitney in Hartford.

Jones came to conservation after the war, apprenticing with art conservator Caroline Keck, while studying chemistry at New York University. She received her master’s degree in fine arts from Radcliffe College in 1948 and immediately began working in the Conservation Department of the Fogg Museum. In 1951, she directed a National Parks Service restoration project at Independence Hall in Philadelphia and later the National Portrait Gallery in Washington. Jones returned to Harvard in 1952 and served 22 years as head of the Conservation Department and “keeper of silver” of the Harvard Art Museums. During that period she also held a lectureship in the Harvard Fine Arts Department.

After an early retirement in 1974, she was called back to Boston in 1975 to serve as chief conservator at the Museum of Fine Arts. She was a fellow of the International Institute for Conservation (IIC) and the American Institute for Conservation (AIC) and served as vice chairwoman of the AIC in the early 1960s.

Beginning in 1967 Jones devoted many months to the preservation and restoration of paintings, sculptures, and structures that were ravaged by floods in Venice, Italy. Working under the auspices of the Committee to Rescue Italian Art (CRIA), she spent the summers of 1969, 1971, and 1972 in Venice. During the academic year, when she was based in Cambridge, Mass., she participated in a number of events to raise funds for CRIA.