Dawn Heller was first introduced to the field of art conservation by her college advisor, leading to a four-year internship with her mentors, Tom Edmondson and Nancy Heugh. Additional internships were completed at Winterthur Museum and Library, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Conservation Center for Art and Historic Artifacts and National Museums and Galleries on Merseyside (England).
Ms. Heller graduated from Baker University in 1995, with a Bachelor of Arts Degree (double major in History and Studio Art). In 2002, Dawn received a Masters of Science/Certificate in Conservation from the Winterthur Museum/University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation. She spent her third-year fellowship at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC. Following graduate school, Dawn was awarded a Samuel H. Kress Fellowship in Paper Conservation at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Dawn went into private practice in 2003, joining the group of conservators at Belmont Hills Art Conservation Studios. She was also a supplemental faculty member of the Winterthur Museum/University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation from 2002 to 2010, teaching seminars on digital photographic documentation. In 2010, Dawn and Tom relocated to Nashville to have a more rural lifestyle. She has experience working on a variety of paper-based materials ranging from prints, drawings and family documents to historic wallpaper and contemporary art. Additionally, she has worked on three-dimensional paper objects, Asian materials such as screens and scrolls, mounted botanical specimens and photographic materials.
Professional memberships include the American Institute for Conservation (AIC), International Institute for Conservation (IIC), The Institute of Conservation (Icon), and the Society of Winterthur Fellows. In 2005, Dawn became a Professional Associate of AIC. She was a core member of the AIC Digital Photographic Documentation Task Force (2007-2008) and one of the authors of The AIC Guide to Digital Photography and Conservation Documentation published in April 2008. A second expanded edition was published in June 2011. Dawn and the other members of the Task Force were awarded The Presidents Award from AIC and a Publications Award from the Society of American Archivists in 2009 for their work on the AIC Guide.