Well, the AIC annual meeting has come and gone, and I have to say that I’m a little exhausted! Each day of the conference was packed with opportunities to network with other conservators and absorb the most up-to-date treatment information. Overall, my favorite part of the meeting was listening to seasoned conservators lecture, as well as debate, the practical and theoretical issues involved with conservation.
Here is just a sampling of what I took away from my whirlwind week:
- Volunteering–whether it’s with a committee, or with conference set-up–is a great way to meet people.
- You should strive to become a Professional Associate or Fellow of AIC. More importantly than the little badge that you get on your nametag, PAs and Fellows have more opportunities to apply for grant money.
- Everyone needs a business card, including emerging conservators. There have been occasions where I want to contact someone that I’ve met, but can’t remember their full name to look them up; on this occasion I was the one without a card.
- It’s a good idea to broaden your focus outside of one specialty. There were so many interesting sessions throughout the meeting, and sometimes they were even more relevant to me than a book and paper talk.
- Collaboration with people of varying skills and interests is always a good thing. Each of my team members on the Angels Project contributed something useful and, even if we didn’t completely finish our work, I think (and hope) Anne Downey gained a lot.
- Conservation has come a long way in a short amount of time. Bob Feller’s speech upon accepting the first Lifetime Achievement Award was really moving, and I didn’t even know the guy. There’s definitely room to make your mark on this profession, if you want to.
- Someone told me that it’s the responsibility of younger members to push AIC forward and continue its progression [insert visual of a fist pushing against a palm].
- Conservators can be fun! With over 1,200 attendees, this was a very large AIC meeting, and it was so great to see everyone reunite with past classmates and colleagues. I think the refreshment breaks ran over every single time!
- Outreach is a conservator’s obligation. Barbara Appelbaum made a point that has stuck with me above everything else: a lot of art and artifacts are falling apart while we sit around and talk about editing our Code of Ethics; ethics are an integral part of our organization, and our profession, but reviewing documents is not our #1 priority.