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Helen Alten, Director and Objects Conservator of the Northern States Conservation Center has been an Objects Conservator for 20 years. She graduated from the Institute of Archaeology, University of London, with a degree in Archaeological Conservation and Materials Science and holds an undergraduate degree in Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology with a minor in Chemistry from Bryn Mawr College. She built and managed the Montana Historical Society's Conservation Laboratory and was Alaska's State Conservator for six years. Ms. Alten has published over fifty articles on collections care and conservation including the quarterly bulletin The Collections Caretaker.
A long time member of the American Institute for Conservation, she is the past president of one of their sub-groups. She has developed and taught numerous collections-care courses, including courses over the video-teleconference networks of Minnesota, Iowa and South Dakota. She is currently teaching a dozen courses over the internet through www.museumclasses.org. Ms Alten is a long time instructor for the Campbell Center for Historic Preservation Studies and teaches several courses there each summer. A member of the Materials Research Society since 1986, she has published two articles with them, one on deterioration processes in waterlogged glass and one on presenting materials science education to Native practitioners. With a commitment to continued learning, she attends at least two continuing education workshops per year.