Early in 2017, Ashley Jehle (BA 2007) joined the staff of the National Museum of African Art in Washington, D.C., as Objects Conservator. Ashley previously worked as the Objects Conservation Fellow at the Yale University Art Gallery in New Haven, and as the Andrew W. Mellon Fellow in Objects Conservation at the Michael C. Carlos Museum at Emory University in Atlanta. She graduated with a Master of Arts with a Certificate of Advanced Study in Art Conservation from Buffalo State College in 2013.
As an FSU undergraduate, Ashley majored in art history, minored in chemistry, and took additional classes in studio art, in order to gain the prerequisites she needed for graduate study in conservation. She also served in a leadership role in the Undergraduate Art History Association, and received the Helen J. Beard Fellowship for Excellence in the Major. After receiving her BA, she moved to Washington, D.C. and completed an internship at the National Museum of the American Indian. There she became interested in the conservation of ethnographic objects – both because of their organic, often composite materials and because of the ethical considerations of treating objects with complex histories of use, collection, and display. Thanks to the breadth of her undergraduate education and internship, Ashley was then accepted into the Buffalo State College graduate program in art conservation. Her graduate and post-grad career included training and professional positions at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Michael C. Carlos Museum at Emory University and at the Yale University Art Gallery.
Her new position at the NMAfA is part of a grant initiative, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, designed to promote conservation training, diversity in the profession, and African art scholarship.
My education at FSU gave me a solid foundation from which I was able to pursue a career in art conservation. In my art history, chemistry, and studio art classes, I was exposed to a broad academic background and developed a range of skills that helped me transition into a specialized graduate program. During my coursework in art history, I was always interested in knowing more about the materials and techniques used to make the works I studied, and now my career lets me more thoroughly investigate these questions on a regular basis.
Watch a film of Ashley discussing conservation treatment of a Dogon mask while working at at the Carlos Museum: