Posts Tagged With: AIC

Winter Meeting in Wellington


The conference venue – Te Papa Tongarewa

Kia ora (that’s hello in Maori, the native culture of New Zealand). I just returned from a fabulous trip to Wellington for the Photographs Conservation Joint Meeting of the AIC PMG and the ICOM-CC PMWG. Sorry for all the acronyms. This is only the second joint meeting of the two groups (the first was in Rochester in 2007) as the PMG meets biennially and the PMWG meets triennially. It was definitely a treat for me to fly across the world the soak up some sun…but more importantly the knowledge of some of the field’s most experienced conservators and allied professionals. A huge thanks to all of my funders (listed below)!

I won’t go into detail about every single talk, but I will say that I noticed some overall themes throughout the week. For starters, there is a push for emergency and disaster planning–as there rightly should be–in response to climate change and the increased occurrence of natural disasters. Andrew Robb (Library of Congress) gave an excellent workshop on Collections Emergency Management that was very timely considering that Superstorm Sandy hit the Northeast just last October (see previous post).

Another theme was the dematerialization of the medium (always accompanied by a slight panic for the job security of photograph conservators). Sylvie Penichon (Amon Carter Museum) discussed digital materials and their preservation in her informative workshop on contemporary photography, and other speakers promoted printing hard copies of important digital files as a back-up preservation method. In my opinion, there is still a lot of research to be done on borne-digital materials, including their use in conservation treatments. Victoria Binder (Legion of Honor) presented a beautiful poster on creating digital fills for loss compensation in photographs.

Me with my poster on social media for outreach

Me with my poster on social media for outreach. Photo by Greta Glaser.

There were also many well-research talks on specific photographic processes and innovative treatments, as well as talks and posters on conservation outreach, including my poster on using social media for public engagement (handout attached below). Debbie Hess Norris ended the first day of presentations on an inspiring note (literally, with a slideshow of images set to Imagine by the Beatles). She reported on the current progress of global outreach in photograph preservation and shared a google map showing World Wide Photographic Preservation Projects–be sure to check it out.

Thanks to the National Library of New Zealand and the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa for organizing a lovely conference, including a traditional Maori welcome ceremony at the opening reception, as well as a delicious dinner at The Boatshed on the waterfront. I was sad to pack up my sandals and leave Wellington, but I can now start looking forward to a closer–albeit colder–PMG winter meeting in Boston!

Extending our Reach poster handout.docx

*Thank you to the following organizations for generously supporting my attendance at the conference: The Foundation for the American Institute for Conservation George Stout Grant, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and Tru Vue, Inc., the University of Delaware Graduate Office Professional Development Award, the Winterthur/University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation Professional Development Award, and the Art Conservation Department at the University of Delaware!!

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The first forum call

On Thursday, July 26th, the Emerging Conservation Professionals Network of AIC held their very first forum call. Using a webinar platform, the call was able to bring together around 100 emerging conservators to participate in a presentation by Debbie Hess Norris. If you missed the live webinar, you can watch the recorded version below.

To sum it up, Debbie’s presentation offered emerging conservators tips on how to promote our careers through networking, outreach, education, and fundraising. There was a lot of information packed into one hour, but many of the sources recommended in the webinar are conveniently listed for you in this blog post on Conservators Converse. It sounds like there may be more handy webinars like this to come, so keep your eye on the ECPN Facebook page.

The most amazing aspect of the webinar was bringing together people from around the country (and the world!) to share this knowledge. I’m so happy ECPN took the opportunity to poll the audience about their conservation experience and goals; the results were really interesting, and can be found in the video recording.

Thanks to ECPN and Debbie for your collaboration and hard work to make this happen!

Self Advocacy and Fundraising for Independent Research


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A new year, a new membership

It’s that time again. With the start of the new year, it’s time to renew your memberships to your local museums and to professional organizations, like the American Institute for the Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works. I have to be honest and say that I usually don’t become a member of museums since my staff badges allow me to get in for free, but, without hesitation, I always renew my membership to AIC. For students, the annual fee is $65, plus additional fees if you decide to join one or more specialty groups. I understand that $65 is a large amount when you’re paying for tuition, working unpaid internships, etc., but, for roughly $5 each month, you’re getting a lot in return.

Why join AIC?

The website lists the obvious perks of a membership: free copies of AIC News, the Journal of AIC, and the member directory, the ability to join a specialty group (that sends out emails and post-prints of the meetings), receive discounts for workshops and meetings, and apply for scholarships and grants. In addition, if you’re in your first seven years of conservation, you can join the Emerging Conservation Professionals Network. ECPN has a number of great initiatives going–like the Mentoring Program–that are only available to current members.

ECPN Chair, Rose Cull, heads the business meeting at AIC, 2011.

My experience has found that the greatest benefit of an AIC membership, above all of the tangible stuff, is the opportunity for networking. Building relationships with other conservators through in-person meetings and social networking has taught me a lot about the actual practice of conservation, along with how to approach the field as a student and eventually become a contributing professional. Purchasing a membership is really only the beginning of getting involved with your organization, but I’ll stop my preaching there.

Most importantly, joining an organization like AIC shows your commitment to a code of ethics for conservators. Through your CV or resume, you’re telling your teachers, employers and clients that for X number of years, you have understood the ethics involved with your work, and you have held to them. Personally, I think that says a lot about your qualifications. And, for those of you that don’t agree with a specific set of codes, don’t just complain about it; join a committee and change them. Sorry, I’m preaching again.

Best of luck with school and job applications, research, treatments, and talks in 2012. Happy New Year!

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A Whirlwind Week

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!
Last but not least:

  • 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.
On that note, here’s to the 2012 AIC Annual Meeting in Albuquerque, NM: Outreach and Advocacy!
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The Conservators are Coming!

In only a couple of days, the city will be packed with conservators from all over the country, and even from other parts of the world. I’m so glad the American Institute for Conservation’s 2011 annual meeting will be held here, in Philadelphia. I was planning on making the trip to Pittsburgh for my first meeting, but the fact that the conference will be in my hometown is so much for convenient, and actually allows me to become a little more involved; I wrote a blog post for the AIC website, I’m volunteering to stuff tote bags, and I can continue to help out after the meeting, with the Angels Project at the American Philosophical Society.

For those of you that can’t make it to the meeting, you can stay in the know by visiting the AIC blog–which will have posts about the workshops, talks and tours–and by checking the Emerging Conservation Professionals Network Facebook page for photos. I’m excited to finally attend a conference devoted solely to conservation, and I look forward to meeting a lot of very talented conservators!

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