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O'Connor, Ariel

Objects Conservator

Art Conservation, Objects Conservation, Technical Art History, Preservation, Materials Research, Outdoor Sculpture, Early American Bronze Casting, Chinese Lost-wax and Piece-mould Casting


Geographic Focus

Background And Education

Education And Training

Professional Biography

  • Ariel O'Connor is an Objects Conservator at the Smithsonian National Museum of Asian Art. Prior to joining NMAA, Ariel was Senior Objects Conservator at the Smithsonian American Art Museum's Lunder Conservation Center and held appointments at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, Walters Art Museum, Harvard Art Museums, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. 

    Her research fellowships focused on materials and technology in archaeological Asian art, with a particular interest in early metallurgy, casting, and inlay techniques. She completed a Kress Fellowship at the Harvard Art Museums researching casting and inlay on ancient Chinese ceremonial weaponry from the Shang dynasty, a Baird Fellowship studying excavated Shang inlayed bronzes in China, and a Mellon Fellowship at the Metropolitan Museum of Art studying 7th–10th century Southeast Asian Hindu-Buddhist bronzes.  

    Her archaeological fieldwork includes seasons at the Aphrodisias Excavations, Mugello Valley/Poggio Colla Archaeological Project, and Gordion Excavations Project. She holds an M.A. and C.A.S. in Art Conservation from Buffalo State College, and a B.F.A. in Dance with a Spanish Language and Literature minor and Pre-Med concentration from Tulane University. She served on the American Institute for Conservation (AIC)’s Objects Specialty Group board from 2017-2019, and was the Washington Conservation Guild board Logistics Co-Chair from 2016-2017. 



Selected Publications


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