Class of 1989
Elizabeth Yuda moved to New Zealand to work as an objects conservator at the Auckland Museum. There are two and a half million artifacts at this museum, including tiki, weavings, and ceramic pieces from Japan, China and Korea. But, probably the most remarkable item that she has worked to preserve is an eight-foot tall moa skeleton. The moa was a bird with a long neck that has been extinct since the 18th century.
An artifacts conservator’s tools include white, surgical gloves, scalpels, tweezers and cotton balls to gently clean mold and dirt from items that need to be preserved. Most conservators work in art galleries and museums. The goal of a conservator is to treat objects to stabilize their condition; it is also important that whatever they do can also be undone, or is re-treatable. Whatever is done takes a lot of patience. For instance, Elizabeth mentioned that the conservators working on the DaVinci painting, the Last Supper, could clean the equivalent of one quarter’s circumference in a day!
After graduating from Waiakea High School in 1989, Elizabeth majored in the classics and German language at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine. She learned the practice of conservation of cultural materials at the University of Canberra in Australia. She also spent an internship in Leipzig, Germany at a musical instrument museum as well as at the Bishop Museum in Honolulu. She co-owns a conservation company called Artifacts Conservation, Ltd., which does preventive treatment and remedial restoration of materials such as ceramics, glass, metal and ethnographic objects.
Elizabeth is currently pursuing a degree in environmental engineering at the UNITEC in Auckland. A member of the girls’ soccer team in high school, she still plays soccer and enjoys hiking and traveling. Her advice to fellow Warriors is to learn a foreign language, travel wherever you can before you settle down, and study what you’re interested in, not what’s going to get you a job. Elizabeth’s career journey beginning with her study of classics and German has certainly led her to unique work experiences.