Belmont College

Belmont College Student Chosen for Fellowship

Building Preservation/Restoration student receives opportunity of a lifetime at the Australian National Maritime Museum recovering and stabilizing artifacts from shipwrecks. 

St. Clairsville, OH (July 13, 2012) – Building Preservation/Restoration (BPR) students at Belmont College learn by doing; they apply in-class learning to real historic projects and buildings that are in need of repair. BPR student Rebecca Torsell is one of those students, and she is about to take her experience to the next level. Rebecca has had a passion for metals and artifacts for quite some time and this enthusiasm for relics of a time past has led her to what she calls “an opportunity of a lifetime.”

Building Preservation/Restoration student receives opportunity of a lifetime at the Australian National Maritime Museum recovering and stabilizing artifacts from shipwrecks.

Rebecca has received the Ambassador Bill Lane USA Gallery Fellowship that takes place in Sydney, Australia at the Australian National Maritime Museum (ANMM). This fellowship is a chance for her to work in a professional museum setting conserving metals recovered from shipwrecks.

According to ANMM’s website, the primary goal of the fellowship is to foster professional relations between the Australian National Maritime Museum and significant American cultural institutions, as well as to develop synergies between the Australian National Maritime Museum collection and the prominent maritime collections in the United States. The ANMM maritime archaeology program advises and actively helps commonwealth and state agencies and overseas government authorities responsible for underwater cultural heritage.

“I consider this fellowship to be an opportunity of a lifetime,” said Rebecca. “I will leave for Australia on November 1 to begin working at the museum and I will complete the fellowship next January. These specific months were chosen to allow me to join ANMM members as they go out to sea to search for new artifacts.”

Rebecca boasts an impressive background full of experience and knowledge about preservation. Prior to attending Belmont College, she earned a Master of Science in Historic Preservation at Eastern Michigan University in 2008. Additionally, she has worked at the Steamship Historical Society of America in Rhode Island as their Executive Assistant and later was promoted to Assistant Director. As a part of her role with the Steamship Historical Society, Rebecca became familiar with maritime history and learned about the ANMM Ambassador Bill Lane USA Gallery Fellowship at a conference in 2009.

Rebecca will graduate from Belmont College in the fall of 2013 with an Associate’s degree in Building Preservation/Restoration. She is currently a resident of St. Clairsville, Ohio but is originally from St. Marys, Ohio.

“Rebecca has a passion for preservation and it shows in her work,” said Dave Mertz, BPR Program Chair. “I am very pleased that she has received this fellowship and I know that she will be successful in her future endeavors in the preservation field.”

According to Rebecca the BPR program at Belmont College has helped to prepare her for this opportunity to work abroad. “My classes have helped me to prepare for this experience. I'd like to thank my advisors, Dave Mertz from Belmont College and Norman Weiss of Columbia University for their encouragement and guidance. I hope that I can successfully fulfill the needs of ANMM and help link together the maritime histories of both countries.” 

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