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Wednesday, May 15 • 10:45am - 11:00am
(Opening Session) Tactics "to preserve the art of art conservation itself"

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The recent Los Angeles Times article noted the “Getty Foundation initiative to preserve the art of art conservation itself” in this case, lining canvases. “’Knowledge is disappearing,’ says Getty Senior program officer Antoine Wilmering. ‘It’s a big problem’”. Indeed it is a problem, and one that not only Getty, but AIC members can help to solve. The research conservators do to determine treatments has dramatically changed in a relatively short time. Even as recently or as long ago, depending on your perspective, as the 1980s there was experimentation that has continued to this day. Previous treatment records are essential for determining new treatments, and for the historic record that accompanies an object. And sometimes old treatments are found to be the best option, even today, or they are the spring board for considering new options. From institutional records to private practice documentation, professional records are key to developing new treatments. Just as importantly treatment and testing are a vital record of our work. Past AIC presentations have urged and shown the importance of keeping test samples. Unpublished records of tests and samples provide a context for the final treatment. Examination and treatment can provide insights to future owners and conservators of art works preserved, which may again need treatment. Art historians might also benefit from having access to such records. A conservator in private practice knows that he or she has the responsibility of finding a home for his or her papers. Planning for that home may not be a top priority during a career. Institutional archives are limited in their storage capacities so a conservator working for an institution may find him- or herself with the dilemma of seeking a home for papers that are not directly related to current works of art in that institution's collection. The conservator whose records are in digital format must also be concerned with the preservation of records digitized or born digital that require organization, indexing, and a hosting server. How do we as a profession preserve our documentation history? And how do we help now and future generations to find that historical record? FAIC and dedicated members have done an amazing job in creating a legacy of oral histories of our colleagues. Those who started that effort were convinced of the need to preserve our history. The documentation of treatment is as essential to our professional history as the oral history effort already established. Let’s come together to share ideas for solving the preservation of our treatment histories large and small. Let’s close the gap of documenting our history by documenting our documentation so it can be found and used by future generations to make sure the as Wilmering so clearly states “”knowledge has to continue to exist—and be passed on.’”

avatar for Jeanne Drewes

Jeanne Drewes

Conservator, Library of Congress
Jeanne Drewes has been the Chief of Binding and Collections Care in the Preservation Directorate at the Library of Congress in the United States, since June 2006. In January 2011 she added Manager for the Mass Deacidification Program to her duties. Previously she was Assistant Director... Read More →

Wednesday May 15, 2019 10:45am - 11:00am EDT
Salon A & B, Uncas Ballroom
  General Session, Opening General Session