Proposal for the creation of an AIC Collections Care Network
This proposal recommends the creation of the Collections Care Network (CCN), a group of collections care, conservation, and allied professionals united in promoting a preventive approach to collections care.
The CCN will respond to the directive in the AIC’s Guidelines for Practice to “recognize the critical importance of preventive conservation as the most effective means of promoting the long-term preservation of cultural property”. It will do so by: providing resources to support collections care and conservation staff; creating awareness of preventive care; identifying and developing standards and best practices, training, and other projects to advance preventive care in institutions of all types and sizes, locally, nationally and globally; and working with related groups to reach and support key collections care constituents.
- Create a network of collections and conservation professionals committed to the preventive care of collections by providing a focused forum for current AIC members and encouraging non-member collections care professionals to become AIC members.
- Advance the understanding that preventive care preserves our cultural heritage in a way that post-damage interventive treatment cannot restore.
- Advocate for professional recognition of all collections care professionals and support the development of the role they play in institutional preservation planning.
- Create a forum for collections and conservation staff to exchange preservation information, ideas and research.
- Provide preventive care programs and resources that will be of interest to the broad spectrum of constituents the CCN intends to serve.
- Network with related collections and conservation organizations to better support shared goals.
The creation of the CCN offers AIC the opportunity to more efficiently support the growing number of conservators with strong preventive responsibilities and interests. This change in role and focus affects conservators from all AIC Specialty Groups. Thus, the creation of this network would build a bridge between groups, allowing conservators to discuss needs in a topical, rather than media specific way.
Today, many collections care staff have difficulty selecting a professional organization that fully represents their interests. Creation of the CCN would offer AIC the opportunity to significantly expand its membership by welcoming collections care staff and positioning AIC as a professional organization relevant to their needs.
Ultimately, strengthening the connection between conservators and collections staff as professional peers will enable AIC to further the preservation of collections by facilitating exchange and dialogue, support the development of training and resources that interest collections care groups, and ultimately, lead to the application of sound standards for collections care practice in cultural institutions.
Anticipated groups to be served:
The audience for this network will include those with stewardship responsibilities in museums, libraries, archives, historic sites and other institutions working to preserve tangible and intangible heritage, including but not limited to:
- Collections managers
- Art handlers
- Collections care staff
- Packing and crating staff
- Libraries and archives staff
- Preservation architects and engineers
- Historic house museum staff
- Exhibition mountmakers
- Preventive conservation supply vendors
- Exhibit designers
- Heritage preservation students
- Conservation students
Ideas for future projects:
Collections Care Resource Development
- Create an online resource that would help to codify resources and offer a platform for the sharing of projects, curricula, and material sources.
- Advocate for and identify people to write needed text books in the field
- Identify or develop best practices for the care of challenging collections.
- Develop formal standards of commitment and practice for collections care that can guide institutions and staff
- Develop educational materials to promote preventive conservation approaches and conservation planning to institutions at conception, building, renovation and operational stages
- Support AIC projects and Committees
- AIC wiki Exhibition Standards & Guidelines
- Web module on collections storage (STASH – Storage Techniques for Art, Science and Humanities collections)
- RATS sponsored wiki on materials and materials testing
- Environmental Guidelines Working Group
- Emergency Committee effort to develop risk assessment and preparedness resources and AIC-CERT
- AIC Health and Safety Committee
- Identify and encourage development of continuing education programs for collections care professionals
- Advocate for job creation and permanence for collections care and preventive care staff
- Provide training activities that will address
- collections care activities
- project management
- obtaining institutional support
- professional development
Outreach and Networking
- Connect with related professional groups world wide to explore joint programming and resource development, including but not limited to
- AAM and related sub-groups, RC-AAM and PACCIN
- Allied professionals in universities
- American Institute of Architects
- International Institute for Conservation
- Mountmakers Forum
- RegionalMuseumorganizations, such as New England Museum Assoc (NEMA), Virginia Association of Museums, (VAM), and the Small Museum Association.
- Support the preventive conservation session at 2012 SPNHC meeting – Yale, June 2012
- The Association for Preservation Technology (APTI)
- Work with other AIC committees and specialty groups to develop joint programming
- Support the CAP program
To be submitted to the AIC board by the CCN organizing committee, October 15, 2011:
- Rachael Perkins Arenstein, A.M. Art Conservation, LLC
- Julia Brennan, Textile Conservation Services
- Rebecca Fifield, Collections Manager for the Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas, MetropolitanMuseum of Art
- Gretchen Guidess, Mellon Fellow, HistoricNew England
- Catharine Hawks, Conservator, NMNH Smithsonian Institution
- Wendy Jessup, Conservator, Wendy Jessup and Associates, Inc.
- Karen Pavelka, Lecturer,School ofInformation, TheUniversity ofTexas atAustin
- Patricia Silence, Conservator, Conservator of Museum Exhibitions and Historic Interiors, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation
- Joelle Wickens, Assistant Conservator, Head of Preventive Conservation Team and Winterthur Assistant Professor, Winterthur Museum