The ARCHE Community

The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the CNRS/University of Bordeaux are the two pillars of the ARCHE platform. Our research projects stem directly from questions raised about cultural heritage objects’ composition, origin, ageing, conservation treatment, and degradation. The work always starts with the object and, although great material knowledge is possible, the work is balanced against its value to the interpretation, preservation, and contextualization of the object.

Our goals are to advance our understanding, interpretation, and knowledge of cultural heritage by delving into the complex chemistries of some of the most challenging and overlooked materials, as well as to increase the accessibility and value of the study of organic polymeric materials, especially biological, in cultural heritage.

In order to explore the chemical complexity of the samples, their assemblies and interactions, and to map macromolecules, we aim to develop the most advanced and the next generation high resolution mass spectrometry methods for the field of cultural heritage. A fundamental challenge is to bridge the gap between the information currently available, which is mainly based on individual classes of molecule independent of their matrices, with understanding “multi-component materials” that inherently have highly complex interactions.

The platform leverages the resources of universities with the collections, questions, and knowledge of museums and archives to ensure that the producers of knowledge and the stakeholders who benefit most closely from this knowledge, collaborate intensively. This is true for both the articulation of challenges and research questions and the dissemination, sharing, and application of research results. As we build the shared resources (databases, protocols, methodologies, workflows, novel analysis approaches, etc.), the growing ARCHE community enables access to researchers of all levels to biological material analysis of cultural heritage.

The ARCHE community invites multidisciplinary and multisectoral collaboration and for an innovative strategic approach to organic polymer material analysis for the field of integrated cultural heritage research.

Please contact us if you are interested in ARCHE projects or areas of investigation.