Monthly Archives: March 2019

Using science to enhance our understanding of the Ruby Slippers from the 1939 classic film, The Wizard of Oz


The Ruby Slippers, worn by Judy Garland in the 1939 movie The Wizard of OZ, are an iconic piece of cinematic history and popular culture. Since 1979, one pair of these slippers has been in possession of the Smithsonian Institute, but merely possessing such a piece is not enough: informed conservation strategies are necessary so that many generations to come will be able to enjoy these slippers. But what are Dorothy’s slippers made of? A detailed material analysis published in Heritage Science tries to answer this question.

Material Science

Big data and heritage collections


When analysing the decay of heritage objects, and how that process can best be prevented, looking at data on those objects is crucial. Using a big data approach, a study published in Heritage Science examines how data science applied to heritage collections can reveal how and why objects degrade with time and use. In this blog, authors Cristina Duran-Casablancas and Matija Strlič make a call for more statistically underpinned research on real objects.

Material Science

Unveiling the invisible – mathematical methods for restoring and interpreting illuminated manuscripts

Image I featured

When an old painting shows signs of decay, most people’s instinct would be to restore it, so as to bring it closer to how it originally looked like. However, some paintings – especially illuminated manuscripts – are too delicate to physically be restored. Surprisingly, mathematics may be able to help in this case: as a new article published in Heritage Science shows, mathematics can be used to not only digitally restore a painting, but also re-establish original versions of overpainted paintings, and even animate artworks.

Material Science Uncategorised

An adventure in art conservation and science among the Norwegian fjords

Paint tubes

Harriet Backer is one of Norway’s most famous painters, known for her use of vibrant colors. A material analysis of micro-samples from her original paint tubes has the potential to fill several gaps in conservation science, painting conservation, and art technology. It also offers scientific information about different oil colours from the late 19th to the early 20th century by Dr. Schoenfeld & Co., Düsseldorf whose archives were depleted during the Second World War.

Material Science Open Access

Reverse-Engineering Conservation: Revealing the secrets of the first scientifically described dinosaur

Figure 1

The right dentary of Megalosaurus Bucklandii – the first scientifically described dinosaur – has been part of the collection of the Oxford University Museum of Natural History since 1797. Yet surprisingly little is known about the specimen’s history after it was acquired by the museum. A new analysis published in Heritage Science tried to reverse engineer that conservation history and in doing so discovered new findings.

Material Science Open Access