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Ebenezer Kotei

Hagley Museum & Library
Newark, DE
Ebenezer Kotei is the General Objects Conservator at the Hagley Museum & Library in Wilmington, Delaware. As the only Objects Conservator, he is charged with the conservation and preservation of over forty thousand objects in the museum’s collection. This ranges from heavy industrial artifacts of the E. I. Dupont gunpowder manufactory to small family relics of the duPont family, as well as synthetic materials including frail and explosive cellulose nitrate and samples of nylon, fabrikoid, Dacron, etc.

After acquiring a certificate in chemistry, physics and biology from his native Ghana in West Africa, Kotei studied at the Institute Of Archaeology of the University of London, England, where he acquired an Honors degree in Archaeological Conservation and Materials Science. He carried out advanced internships at the National Maritime Museum, the Ancient Monuments Laboratory, now English Heritage, and the Scottish Heritage Department in Edinburgh. In 1986, Kotei was hired as the Archaeological Metals Conservator at the Passmore Edwards Museum in the London Borough Of New Ham, England. At the same time, he studied for the Master’s degree in Chemical and Materials Analysis at the Thames Polytechnic.

Though Kotei completed his credit requirements, he did not stay to complete the course paper. Instead, he accepted an Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship at the Detroit Institute Of Arts (DIA) in Michigan and left London for the United States. At the DIA, Kotei designed a method for cleaning the three-story marble walls, capitals, and cornices surrounding the Diego Rivera frescoes in the courtyard of the museum. The Detroit Industry Murals had first been unveiled in 1933, and portray the industrial life of Detroit, especially in the automobile industry. The travertine marble surrounding the frescoes had not been cleaned for over fifty years. This treatment was published in the DIA magazine in January 1989.

Since September 1988, Kotei has been the Conservator at the Hagley Museum, where he has designed and built two laboratories and has worked on hundreds of objects with a range of materials. During this period he has worked with many students from the University Of Delaware and WUDPAC. In 2009 Kotei earned the Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree from the University of Delaware.