In 2020, CWAM established the Carl Patterson Emergency Response Fund. This fund supports Colorado and Wyoming museums as they respond to and/or recover from an emergency situation The fund is named for the late Carl Patterson, a long-time member and supporter of CWAM and all museums.
Carl Patterson was an art conservator in the Denver area for over 40 years. His many passions included art conservation, mentoring students, animals, and travel, to name just a few.
A graduate of Duke University, Carl was among the students who participated in archaeological digs at Winchester Cathedral in Hampshire, England. Through that experience, he discovered conservation, later graduating from University of London Institute of Archaeology where he received a Diploma in Conservation in 1970. After graduation, Carl worked at the British Museum and later that same year he became the conservator at the Horniman Museum in London. There, the rigors of his duties ranged from inventorying and cataloguing, to collection management, to conservation treatment – and all the while he was committed to training interns.
Carl returned to the US in 1979 and joined the staff at the Rocky Mountain Regional Conservation Center at the University of Denver. By 1984, he ascended to Director, overseeing the staff, cultivating projects, and training interns. In 1990, the museum world beckoned and Carl started work at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Later in 1991, Carl became the first conservator on staff at the Denver Art Museum. Over the next 18 years, he would wear the hats of Director of Collection Services and Director of Conservation, outfit three conservation laboratories, and consolidate collection storage into discrete, purpose-built areas, undertake collection surveys, as well as play a key role in the design and opening of the Hamilton Building. He both guided and inspired the paths of dozens of students, interns, and fellows. In addition, Carl had a cadre of devoted volunteers who worked tirelessly with him over the years. In 2009, Carl retired as Director Emeritus of Conservation.
Carl was active in numerous professional organizations including International Institute for Conservation, IIC-UK Group, the Scottish Society for Conservation and Restoration, American Institute for Conservation, Western Association Art Conservation, the Colorado Wyoming Associations of Museums, Mountain Plains Museums Association, the Greenwood Fund, among others.
Carl’s intelligence, charm, generosity, and warm smile were the reasons so many people readily connected with him throughout his life and career. He passed away peacefully at his home in Denver on February 16, 2020, but his legacy lives on through his generous spirit of giving.
It is in tribute to that spirit that CWAM has dedicated this fund. This program will be donor-funded. Please donate using the button below or with your membership renewal.