Debra Hess Norris is Chair of the Art Conservation Department, Director of the Winterthur/University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation and Professor of Photograph Conservation at the University of Delaware. Since 1985, Norris has authored more than 45 publications on care and treatment of photographic materials, emergency response, ethics, and conservation education; and taught more than135 workshops and seminars for conservators and allied professionals globally– across North America and Europe and in the Middle East, in South America, Asia and Africa.
As chair, Norris has raised more than $19 million dollars to support preservation initiatives worldwide. She has co-led the Middle East Photograph Preservation Initiative (MEPPI) with the Arab Image Foundation, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Getty Conservation Institute. Norris helped to develop and implement the Iraqi Institute for the Conservation of Antiquities and Heritage in Erbil, Iraq; where more than 200 Iraqi heritage professionals have been trained in basic preservation techniques.
Norris co-edited with Jennifer Jae Gutierrez – Issues in the Conservation of Photographs – published by the Getty Conservation Institute in 2010.
She was the chair of Heritage Preservation (2003- 2008) and president of the American Institute for the Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (AIC) (1993-97). She has served as president of the Conservation Center for Art and Historic Artifacts Board (CCAHA), US commissioner to UNESCO, and project director of The Andrew W. Mellon Collaborative Workshops in Photograph Conservation.
In 2002, Norris was inducted into the University of Delaware’s Alumni Wall of Fame. Norris received the Rutherford John Gettens Merit Award for outstanding service to the AIC (1998), the Sheldon and Caroline Keck Award for excellence in the education and training of conservation professionals (2004), and the AIC University Products Award for distinguished achievement in the conservation of cultural property (2008) and the College Art Association/ AIC Award for Distinction in Scholarship and Conservation (2016).