Timothy Vitale is a conservator and consultant with over 30 years of treatment, research, imaging, management and consulting experience. Institutional venues include: Winterthur Museum; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Pierpont Morgan Library; National Archives and Smithsonian Institution. Now in private practice, Preservation Associates, he works out of his Emeryville, CA, imaging studio and the Oakland Museum of California conservation lab (Oakland, CA).
In 1980, as Chief of the Preservation Branch of the National Archives, he instituted their first conservation laboratory with professional conservation staff. At the Smithsonian Institution (1981-93), he initiated the Advanced Training Seminars for professional development at the Conservation Analytical Laboratories (CAL) and, in 1984, helped plan and facilitate the move of the Conservation Section to the Museum Support Center, where he developed and managed the Paper Conservation Lab, major CAL/SI educational symposia and a state-of-the-art photographic studio, with imaging consulting (analog and digital) to staff and visiting specialists.
Vitale was the principal researcher at CAL for the project: Science and Treatment of Albumen Photographs. His conservation science research also includes the physics of paper (wetting, drying, crystallinity and macrostructure), fundamentals of suction treatments and essential links between drying and paper surface texture. He was a founding officer of the AIC Book and Paper Group (1981) and initiated (1984) the development of the Paper Conservation Catalog (conservation's first Body of Knowledge), as its Chair. Vitale has invented several conservation tools including the small-area suction table, the combined lateral/downflow large suction table, a real-time monitoring system for suction tables and (with a UK firm) developed an in wall (radio telemetry) moisture monitoring device. His work with analytical tools and techniques (non-destructive and micro-sampling) of works includes leading a project on the coloration (XRF, XRD, SAXS, ESCA, PIXE & FTIR) of white lead pigment in Frederic Edwin Church drawings; participation in an CAL/NIST auto-radiograph investigation of Thomas Wilmer Dewing paintings as image analysts (UV, IR, X-ray and light photography); and was principal on the analysis of numerous prints, drawings, watercolor, photographs and paintings. In 1995, he was invited to the Glasgow School of Art (Scotland) for a yearlong project to treat Charles Rennie Mackintosh drawings, and to install a radio-telemetry environmental monitoring system. He was recently the lead contractor for the treatment and digital-offset-lithograph-facsimile, on parchment, of the California State Constitution.
Vitale is an adjunct Special Project Conservator with the Intermuseum Conservation Association (Oberlin, OH) managing the development of an online photographic image database for the Black River Historical Society (Lorain, OH). He is also a lead investigator on a team creating a Knowledge Base web site combining the art, science, technology and treatment of albumen photographs. In 2000, Vitale was a group leader for TechArcheology: a Symposium on the Preservation of Installation Art. He was a founding officer (1998), and currently serves as Chair, of the AIC Electronic Media Group, leading the Digital Documentation in Conservation initiative. Vitale has a Bachelors degree in Art History/Chemistry from California State University at San Jose (1974) and a Masters of Science in Art Conservation from the University of Delaware (1977).