2020 AIC Virtual Annual Meeting: August Sessions

Recorded On: 08/20/2020

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Join us for AIC's 48th Annual Meeting, now held virtually online. 


Register today to engage with over a hundred hours of professional presentations on conservation issues, techniques, and advances.

  • Student members need to use a special discount code to register at the student rate.
  • If you cannot register using the link above, use our printable, fillable registration form below. Please email, if possible, as we are still under work-from-home orders. You can use this form for group registrations as well. 

image AIC Virtual Meeting Registration Form


  • They are planned by topic or specialty and will include posters with individual presentations and discussion.
  • They are scheduled from May through August.
  • The schedule of individual presentations are in two-hour blocks and take place from 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time.
  • They will include two to four talks or panels. Individual presentations are not each two hours long. They will just each take place within that block of time.
  • They are listed in the Content tab above.
  • They are not visible through a mobile device or tablet in either live or recorded format. You must use a desktop or laptop to access. 
  • They will be available for viewing by registrants until the end of the calendar year. 

Meeting Theme

This meeting's theme is “Conservation: Reactive and Proactive.” We work in a rapidly changing world. Globally, the economy is volatile, the marketplace demanding, and the negative impact of climate change looms large in conservation. Many collecting institutions have shifted their priorities to preventive conservation for collections and interactive learning in exhibitions, which can decrease emphasis on traditional conservation treatment and the supremacy of original display materials. Conservation professionals are drawing from a wide skill set to respond to these challenges in creative and productive ways. From offering conservation services that go beyond treatment, to focusing on sustainability, to utilizing materials science and technical art history in public education, our field is adapting and evolving. In 2020, we’ll explore ways we can anticipate and embrace change. How are you meeting your biggest challenges? Please join us to share your triumphs and reflect on areas for growth.



Bruker Corporation

Virtual Meet & Greet: June 17, 22, 30; July 13; August 27
5465 E. Cheryl Parkway, Madison, WI 53711 USA
Contact: Kodi Morton 
Ph: 608-276-3017 Fx: 608-276-3006  Email: kodi.morton@bruker.com Website: www.bruker.com

Bruker is one of the world’s leading analytical instrumentation companies. We cover a broad spectrum of advanced solutions in all fields of research and development. Bruker’s innovative methods and non-destructive analytical techniques help to protect and preserve artifacts and historical monuments all over the world.


205 Mount Auburn St., Watertown, MA 02472 USA Contact: Bruno Goppion, Ted Paschkis Ph: 617-297-2546 Fx: 617-848-2641 Email: bgoppion@goppion-us.comtpaschkis@goppion-us.com Website: www.goppion.com 

Goppion designs, develops, builds, and installs state-of-the-art display cases and museum installations. We work with curators, designers, and conservators to resolve all exhibition display-related issues with engineering solutions. Our tradition of innovation is sustained by our collaborations with our clients, including some of the most highly regarded architects, designers, and cultural institutions throughout the world.


Tru Vue, Inc.

Virtual Meet & Greet: August 20
9400 West 55th St., Countryside, IL 60525 USA Contact: Yadin Larochette Ph: 312-758-3737 Fx: 708-854-2660 Email: ylarochette@tru-vue.com Website: tru-vue.com/museums-collections 

What’s New at Tru Vue
Tru - Vue - Learn more about the latest products and solutions aimed to help you grow your business and care for your collections.

With nearly 50 years of proven protection and preservation, Tru Vue fine art acrylic and glass solutions, including Optium Museum Acrylic and UltraVue Laminated Glass, are trusted by conservation and fine art professionals to protect and display the most celebrated artworks in the world. We work closely with the museum community to develop products that meet superior aesthetic and conservation standards. For more information visit our website: www.tru-vue.com/museums-collections


Atlas Preservation Inc.

122 Spring St., Ste. B1, Southington, CT 06489 USA Contact: Jonathan W. Appell Ph: 806-558-2785 Email: sales@atlaspreservation.com Website: atlaspreservation.com 

Atlas Preservation, Inc. was conceived based on the need for a one stop source for all monument restoration supplies. Our mission quickly expanded to include many other fields relating to conservation & historic preservation. such as products for metal conservation, historic window repair, modern stone working, and more. Jonathan Appell is the founder of Atlas Preservation Inc., with over 30 years of experience he has personally conserved some of the oldest dated stones in America. He also performs the majority of historic gravestone preservation workshops throughout America.

Foster + Freeman USA, Inc.

Virtual Meet & Greet: June 29; July 14
46030 Manekin Plaza, Ste. 170, Sterling, VA 20166 USA Contact: David Tobin Ph: 888-445-5048 Fx: 888-445-5049 Email:  usoffice@fosterfreeman.com Website: www.fosterfreeman.com 

Manufacturer of the Video Spectral Comparator (or “VSC”) range of instruments for examining documents, paintings, and similar items. Sophisticated optics and specialized lighting allow viewing at various magnifications, throughout the UV, visible and infrared wavebands. Images are easily captured, analyzed and compared via the user-friendly software. Now with 3D-imaging to help reveal the topography of a surface. Sponsoring: BPG Session.

G.C. Laser Systems, Inc.

Virtual Meet & Greet: June 8, 23; August 31 
900 S. Des Plaines Ave., Forest Park, IL 60130 USA Contact: Magdalena Dajnowski Ph: 844-532-10641 Fx: 773-353-8699 Email: magdalena@gclasers.com Website: www.gclasers.com 

G.C. Laser Systems, Inc. designs and builds unique laser systems specifically for art and architecture conservation. Our compact and portable systems, such as the GC-1, offer unmatched precision and control over the level of cleaning. We also offer custom built laser cleaning solutions and laser cleaning training. 

Hollinger Metal Edge, Inc.

9401 Northeast Drive, Fredericksburg, VA 22408 USA Contact: Bob Henderson Ph: 800-634-0491 Fx: 800-947-8814 Email: info@hollingermetaledge.com Website: www.hollingermetaledge.com 

Hollinger Metal Edge, Inc. has been the leading supplier of archival storage products for Conservators, Museums, Government and Institutional Archives, Historical Societies, Libraries, Universities, Galleries and Private Collectors for over 65 years. Famous for The Hollinger Box – the metal edged gray document cases that fill the shelves of thousands of organizations, we offer a wide variety of box styles made with various appropriate materials to store any collectible. We also supply conservation materials, inert polyester, polypropylene and Tyvek products, archival folders, buffered and unbuffered envelopes, Permalife bond papers, and buffered and unbuffered tissue paper. Hollinger Metal Edge manufactures custom orders on a daily basis and is committed to educational support for preservation workshops. Please contact us regarding your workshop, and we will provide free catalogs and samples as required.

Kremer Pigments, Inc.

247-C West 29th St., Frnt. 1, New York, NY 10001 USA Contact: Roger Carmona Ph: 212-219-2394 Fx: 212-219-2395 Email: roger@kremerpigments.com Website: www.kremerpigments.com 

For over 40 years, Kremer Pigments continues to research, produce, and procure the highest quality pigments and raw materials for all types of historical fine arts recipes. Dr. Georg Kremer began making pigments in 1977 by producing Smalt--a 19th century cobalt-based synthetic blue. His inventory of pigments has grown steadily year by year and continues to grow with the most recent mineral pigment, Thulit. Conservators, gilders, decorative painters, luthiers, dyers, and all manner of artists rely on Kremer Pigments to supply hard-to-find ingredients for their specific needs. Today, Kremer Pigments NYC is the only store outside of Germany to carry the full inventory of over 1,000 historical raw materials. 


7F, No. 91, Xinhu 1st Rd., Neihu District, Taipei 114 Taiwan Contact: Ranganath Varma Tel: +886 2-2796-8909 Fx: +886 2-2796-8910 Email: varma@nanoray.com Website: www.artxray.netwww.nanoray.com 

NanoRay, headquartered in Taiwan, has pioneered the design and development of Transmission X-Ray technology for its application in Non-Destructive Testing – Automated Art Inspection. NanoRay has successfully developed a portfolio of intelligent Automated Art X-Ray Inspection solutions, with patented Transmission X-Ray Technology, to help in preventive maintenance, restoration and research of art objects like Paintings, Sculptures, Relics, artifacts, etc., and ensure the safe keep of priceless heritage of mankind.

TandD US, LLC.

534 N. Guadalupe St., Unit 32886, Santa Fe, NM 87501 USA Contact: Steve Knuth Ph: 518-669-9227 Email: sbknuth@tandd.com Website: www.tandd.com 

T&D Corporation manufactures a complete line of network connected and stand-alone Data Loggers that are optimized for automated, error free data collection, remote monitoring and warning notification. T&D’s products offer an extensive array of connectivity options including loggers with built-in network interfaces, wireless handheld data shuttles, network and cellular gateways, and even BlueTooth interfaces for direct connection to smart phones and tablets. Developed specifically for Museum and Archive applications, T&D produces 4 in 1 loggers that record Temperature, Humidity, Illuminance, and Ultra Violet light, that also maintain internal running exposure totals. T&D offers an exceptional value proposition to its customers through its completely free WebStorage Service. T&D Corporation, the world’s leading supplier of wireless data loggers, is headquartered in Matsumoto Japan, and has been engaged in the design, development and manufacture of high reliability, high quality electronic measurement systems since 1986.

University Products, Inc.

PO Box 101, Holyoke, MA 01041 USA Contact: John A. Dunphy Ph: 413-532-3372 Fx: 800-532-9281 Email: jadunphy@universityproducts.com Website: www.universityproducts.com 

University Products, the leading supplier of conservation tools, equipment and archival storage enclosures, provides a variety of new tools and equipment for conservation.  Working with our international partners, Preservation Equipment (PEL) in Europe and Marco Polo in Mexico, University Products selection of tools and equipment is the most complete selection of products specifically designed for AIC members.



5718 Airport Freeway, Haltom City, TX 76117 USA Contact: Matt Jaroma Ph: 313-320-1877 Email: mjaroma@bmscat.com Website: www.bmscat.com 

BMS CAT offers restoration and reconstruction services to customers all over the world. Over the years, we have helped thousands of clients recover from disasters – both big and small. By providing recovery services to mitigate fire, water and storm damage, we help reestablish businesses and restore communities. When Mother Nature or man-made accidents strike, we are there for you with a full range of disaster recovery and restoration services. Founded in 1948, our company has the experience, equipment and people to handle any size restoration job.

Conservation by Design

2 Wolseley Rd., Kempston, Bedford, MK42 7AD United Kingdom Contact: Lesley Jones Ph: 011-44-(0)1234-846333 Email: lesley.jones@cxdinternational.com Website: www.cxdinternational.com 

Conservation by Design is a part of an international group of complimentary companies dedicated to working with conservators from museums, galleries, libraries and archives around the world, in the protection of our cultural heritage. We believe in a holistic approach to conservation, understanding the essential value of “joined-up” thinking, in the development of innovative solutions that enable the long-term display, storage and survival of valuable materials.

Crystalizations Systems, Inc.

1401 Lincoln Ave., Holbrook, NY 11741 USA Contact: Patricia Ellenwood Ph: 631-467-0090 Fx: 631-467-0061 Email: info@csistorage.com Website: www.csistorage.com 

CSI’s newest innovations, the secure and eminently maneuverable Transporter 101 and 201, arrive fully assembled and are changing how conservators move collections and exhibitions, room to room, gallery to gallery and location to location. CSI has manufactured storage solutions for leading museums, galleries, and private collections since 1976. All CSI storage systems, including Moving Painting, Rolled Textile and PerfectFit Kits, incorporate the masterful application of superior design, quality aluminum materials and aerospace engineering manufacturing techniques.

Gaylord Archival

PO Box 4901, Syracuse, NY 13212 USA Contact: Ronda Buck Ph: 800-448-6160 Fx: 800-272-3412 Email: sales@gaylord.com Website: www.gaylord.com 

Visit Gaylord Archival to see our new and innovative Frank Showcase System! It’s the first patented, fully demountable acrylic showcase system in the world—it ships flat! Let us help you bring your exhibit to life with our unparalleled selection of cases, as well as everything you need to prepare, install, display and protect your collections. If you are looking for something specific, we offer unlimited options for customization. We also carry a comprehensive selection of preservation products and conservation materials, many of which are handcrafted at our headquarters, so we can respond quickly to your custom requirements. Our wide array of museum-quality cabinets, art storage systems and flat files address your long-term storage needs. To maintain your storage environment, look to Gaylord Archival for environmental controls and monitoring devices that will suit any need or budget. Learn more about our products by visiting our website.

Onset HOBO Data Loggers

470 McArthur Blvd., Bourne, MA 05232 USA Contact: Sean Kelly Ph: 508-743-3155 Email: sean_kelly@onsetcomp.com Website: www.onsetcomp.com 

Used in museums, archives, and exhibit spaces worldwide, Onset’s award-winning Bluetooth-enabled HOBO temperature and humidity data loggers protect irreplaceable objects, including the best-surviving copy of the Magna Carta, which was on display to commemorate the document’s 800-year anniversary. And with the new MX Gateway, users can remotely manage data, receive alarm notifications via email or text, and create custom dashboards in HOBOlink, Onset’s cloud software. Based on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, Onset has been designing and manufacturing its products on site since the company’s founding in 1981.

Opus Instruments (Atik Cameras)

Virtual Meet & Greet: June 15; July 23
Unit 8 Lodge Farm Barns, New Rd., Norwich, Norfolk NR9 3LZ United Kingdom Contact: Catherine Wilkinson Ph: 011-44-(0)1603-740397 Email: hello@opusinstruments.com Website: www.opusinstruments.com 

Opus Instruments are the team behind the world’s leading cameras for Infrared Reflectography. The renowned Apollo camera has been used to examine hundreds of artworks at leading institutions, galleries and auction houses around the globe, making notable contributions within the fields of both art conservation and art history.  Apollo allows you to capture and explore infrared reflectographs in more depth and detail than ever before.

Prairie Paper, University of Illinois, Library

1408 West Gregory Dr., Rm 425, Urbana, IL 61801 USA Contact: Jennifer Hain Teper Ph: 217-244-5689 Email: jhain@illinois.edu Website: freshpress.studio/prairiepaper 

Prairie Paper is a sustainable option for conservation and the fine arts, ideal for case bindings, printable, and available in multiple weights. All papers have a relatively stable pH and minimal color change after artificial aging. Our carbon footprint is significantly lower than traditional paper-making studios from using locally sourced ingredients, solar powered studios, and high-efficiency stoves for cooking fibers.

REL, Inc.

57640 North Eleventh St., Calumet, MI 49913 USA Contact: Robert Sturos Ph: 906-337-3018 Fx: 906-337-2930 Email: robert.sturos@relinc.net Website: www.relinc.com 

REL is an Original Equipment Manufacturer located in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. REL has inherent knowledge of material deformation, energy absorption and machining. This understanding allows REL to design, develop, and manufacture the most severely tested, inspection products on the market. REL’s product line consists of the most space efficient FPI systems and highly engineered LED lighting solutions for Non-Destructive Evaluation.


Virtual Meet & Greet: July 9; August 3
19 Butternut St., Greenfield, MA 01301 USA Contact: Michael Dunphy Ph: 413-772-0889 Fx: 413-773-7386 Email: mdunphy@smallcorp.com Website: www.smallcorp.com 

SmallCorp manufactures products for the display, conservation and storage of works of art, textiles and objects. Our frames and display cases figure prominently in museum and corporate collections. SmallCorp customers include picture framers, galleries, art conservators and related institutions, and professionals.

Studio Arts College International

454 W. 19th St., New York, NY 10011 USA Contact: Racini Aranda Ph: 212-248-7225  Fx: 212-248-7222 Email: raranda@saci-florence.edu Website: saci-florence.edu 

Studio Arts College International (SACI) is more than an opportunity to study abroad in Florence, the birthplace of the Renaissance. Accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), SACI offers a wide range of innovative, hands-on graduate and undergraduate programs in traditional and contemporary studio arts, design, conservation, art history, and Italian language and culture. Programs integrate diverse disciplines and emphasize the essential role of art and design in how we shape and sustain our planet both socially and environmentally.


Applied Surface Technologies

15 Hawthorne Drive, New Providence, NJ 07974 USA Contact: Robert Sherman Ph: 908-464-6675 Email: roberts@co2clean.com Website: www.co2clean.com 

Applied Surface Technologies will demonstrate CO2 Snow Cleaning as applied to cleaning and restoring art. We will demonstrate the CO2 Snow Cleaning units, with and without heated compressed air about the CO2 snow stream, for cleaning different materials and items. CO2 snow can remove soot, hydrocarbon oils, fingerprints, dust, particles of all sizes, polishing residues and more. Examples shown include fingerprints on a polymer structure, polishing and wax residues, soot and, more.

Barnett Technical Services

Virtual Meet & Greet: July 9; August 19
5050 Laguna Blvd., Ste. 112-620, Elk Grove, CA 95758 USA Contact: Steve Barnett Ph: 916-549-4423 Email: info@barnett-technical.com Website: barnett-technical.com 

Supplier of Micro Support bench top micromanipulators for precise micro-sampling on a scale that is invisible to the naked eye.  We also supply larger systems to assist with restoration.  Our systems include probes, knives, and scrapers to facilitate chemical analysis or cleaning. Systems can be full micromanipulators with arms or individual arms for sampling on larger works.

Carestream Non-Destructive Testing

Virtual Meet & Greet: June 15, 17; July 2
150 Verona St., Rochester, NY 14608 USA Contact: Stephen Pflanz Ph: 585-627-6705; Cell: 585-230-0972 Email: stephen.pflanz@carestream.com Website: www.carestream.com/nondestructivetesting.html 

Carestream NDT is a worldwide provider of X-ray imaging systems used by Art Conservatories around the world. Products include digital computed radiography (CR) systems, digital radiography (DR) systems, imaging plates, cassettes, DICONDE archiving, conventional film & chemicals, automatic film processing equipment and accessories. Our innovative solutions enable our customers’ success and reveal critical information on priceless works of art and artifacts. Our award-winning products keep conservators at the forefront of technological advancements in art imaging.

CoLibrì System

8616 La Tijera Blvd., Ste. 512, Los Angeles, CA 90045 USA Contact: Tommaso Garavaglia Ph: 415-746-0867 Email: garavaglia@colibrisystem.com Website: www.colibriusa.com 

The CoLibrì Cover System offers the most advanced, highest quality book covering system available worldwide. Our easy and innovative system allows any type and size of book to be covered with the touch of a button. The system consists of a simple desktop machine and polyethylene covers. This carefully designed system is the simplest and most practical book covering system available.

Dorfman Museum Figures, Inc.

6224 Holabird Ave., Baltimore, MD 21224 USA Contact: Chad Grob Ph: 410-284-3248 Fx: 410-284-3249 Email: chad@museumfigures.com Website: www.museumfigures.com 

Dorfman Museum Figures, Inc. is the leader in creating three-dimensional Ethafoam Conservation Forms for archival display and storage of your artifact garments. Choose between our full Economy Ethafoam Man and Woman, Dress and Suit Forms, Classic Forms, Storage Hat Mounts, Conservation Hangers, and more. In addition to our standard product line, we can create custom Ethafoam forms to fit specific needs.

Getty Conservation Institute

1200 Getty Center Dr., Ste. 700, Los Angeles, CA 90049 USA Contact: Anna Zagorski Ph: 310-440-7325 Email: azagorski@getty.edu Website: www.getty.edu/conservation 

The Getty Conservation Institute (GCI) works internationally to advance conservation practice in the visual arts—broadly interpreted to include objects, collections, architecture, and sites. The Institute serves the conservation community through scientific research, education and training, field projects, and the dissemination of information. In all its endeavors, the GCI creates and delivers knowledge that contributes to the conservation of the world's cultural heritage.

Getty Publications

Virtual Meet & Greet: July 2, 23, 28; August 10
1200 Getty Center Dr., Ste. 500, Los Angeles, CA 90049 USA Contact: Kimberley Westad Ph: 310-440-7506 Fx: 310-440-7758 Email: kwestad@getty.edu Website: www.getty.edu/publications 

Getty Publications produces award-winning titles that result from or complement the work of the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Getty Conservation Institute, and the Getty Research Institute. This wide variety of books covers the fields of art, photography, archaeology, architecture, conservation, and the humanities for both the general public and specialists.

Hiromi Paper, Inc.

9469 Jefferson Blvd., Ste. 117, Culver City, CA 90232 USA Contact: Yuki & Hiromi Katayama Ph: 310-998-0098 Fx: 310-998-0028 Email: yuki@hiromipaper.com Website: www.hiromipaper.com 

Specializing in papers from Japan and around the World since 1988, Hiromi Paper, Inc. has been devoted to the creation of a greater rapport between Japanese papermakers, conservators, printers, artists, and bookmakers, while developing new directions and a deeper understanding of Japanese papers or WASHI. We not only strive to support papermakers and the traditions, but to also grow with the present and future needs of the people that use the papers.

Hirox-USA, Inc.

100 Commerce Way, Ste. 4, Hackensack, NJ 07601 USA Contact: Edvina Bassano Ph: 201-342-2600 Ext 205 Fx: 201-342-7322 Email: info@hirox-usa.com Website: www.hirox-usa.com 

Hirox is the pioneer of 3D Digital Microscope System. Our digital microscope system is a versatile tool for measurement, recording, and see things “as they truly are.” Hirox’s high-quality optical and lighting designs allow a magnification range of 0x-10,000x, live focus, and real-time 2D/3D tiling with an automated XY stage.

Huntington T. Block Insurance Agency, Inc.

Virtual Meet & Greet: July 16, 27; August 17
1120 20th St. NW, Ste. 600, Washington, DC 20036 USA Contact: Ever Song Ph: 202-429-8506 Fx: 312-381-0698 Email: ever_song@aon.com Website: www.huntingtontblock.com 

The American Institute for Conservation (AIC) and Huntington T. Block Insurance Agency, Inc. (HTB) have partnered to provide AIC’s members with the Conservator’s Insurance Program – an insurance solution customized to your unique exposures.

Jack Richeson & Co.

557 Marcella St., Kimberly, WI 54136 USA Contact: Chrissy Stuczynski Ph: 920-738-0744 Fx: 920-738-9156 Email: chrissys@richesonart.com Website: richesonart.com 

Jack Richeson & Co. is a manufacturer of fine art materials and BEST stretcher bars. We are dedicated to ensuring that you receive a quality product that is always in stock with on-time shipments and superior customer service. BEST museum quality stretcher bars are available in six profiles from 8" to 144". Every bar is selected from the finest raw materials and must be free of knots and completely straight.

Middleton Spectral Vision

8505 University Green, Middleton, WI 53562 USA Contact: Chris Draves Ph: 608-831-2141  Fx: 608 831 3076 Email: chris.draves@middletonspectral.com Website: www.middletonspectral.com 

Middleton Spectral Vision is an innovative company specializing in hyperspectral imaging and spectroscopy. Art and cultural heritage are an important area of interest to us. Hyperspectral imaging is a proven technique for looking at underdrawings in paintings, color analysis, and chemical composition. We seek to develop easy to use systems that deliver high-quality images along with powerful analysis software to assist in the understanding of valuable works of art.

MuseuM Services Corporation

385 Bridgepoint Way, South St. Paul, MN 55075 USA Contact: Linda Butler Ph: 651-450-8954 Fx: 651-554-9217 Email: info@museumservicescorporation.com Website: www.museumservicescorporation.com 

MuseuM Services Corporation would like to thank the art conservation community for its support in this, our 40th anniversary year. MuseuM Services Corporation remains committed to safely and efficiently serving you with equipment, supplies and services.  Please check out our newly launched website and call or email us with your conservation equipment and supply needs.

National Center for Preservation Technology & Training (NCPTT)

645 University Parkway, Natchitoches, LA 71457 USA Contact: Jason Church Ph: 318-356-7444 Fx: 318-356-9119 Email: jason_church@contractor.nps.gov Website: www.ncptt.nps.gov 

The National Park Service’s National Center for Preservation Technology and Training protects America’s historic legacy by equipping professionals in the field of historic preservation with progressive technology-based research and training. Since its founding in 1994, NCPTT has awarded over $7 million in grants for research that fulfills its mission of advancing the use of science and technology in the fields of archaeology, architecture, landscape architecture and materials conservation.

NEDCC | Northeast Document Conservation Center

100 Brickstone Square., Andover, MA 01810 USA Contact: Bill Veillette Ph: 978-470-1010 Fx: 978-470-6021 Email: info@nedcc.org Website: www.nedcc.org 

Founded in 1973, NEDCC | Northeast Document Conservation Center specializes in the preservation of paper-based materials for cultural institutions, government agencies, and private collections. NEDCC serves clients nationwide, providing conservation treatment for book, photograph, and paper collections, including works of art on paper, Asian art, and oversize works. NEDCC provides digital imaging, audio preservation, assessments, consultations, training, and disaster assistance, and is a trusted resource for preservation information worldwide.

Print File, Inc.

1846 S. Orange Blossom Trl., Apopka, FL 32703 USA Contact: Gene Amoroso Ph: 407-886-3100 Fx: 407-886-0008 Email: gene@printfile.com Website: www.printfile.com 

Print File Archival Storage at www.printfile.com, is your complete source for innovative product solutions that include traditional or digital photographic presentation and storage needs as well as the lowest prices on all document and paper-borne storage materials. With Print File’s expertise, spanning more than 50 years, institutions have been using Print File products in housing their valuable collections and archives. Print File’s commitment to deliver only the highest quality products throughout the world has established our reputation as the world leader in museum quality storage. Print File Archival Storage will continue to be your partner in preserving the memories of yesterday, for the appreciation of tomorrow’s generations.

RH Conservation Engineering

“Meakins Rise” 16 Meakins Rd., Flinders, Victoria 3929, Australia Contact: Robin Hodgson Ph: 011-61-419-892919 Email: rhe@rhconservationeng.com Website: www.rhconservationeng.com 

Established in 1991 by conservator Robin Hodgson, RH Conservation Engineering is a research driven supplier of the most innovative, technically advanced and aesthetically pleasing equipment available, providing consistent quality results in the conservation of human artistic and cultural heritage. Many of the materials and manufacturing techniques used in our equipment come from the aerospace, electronics, and advanced manufacturing industries.


Virtual Meet & Greet: June 16; August 17 
1450 Janesville Ave., Fort Atkinson, WI 53538 USA Contacts: Ben Adamitus Ph: 920-563-0782 Email: badamitus@spacesaver.com Website: www.spacesaver.com 

Protect the past and prepare for the future with reconfigurable museum cabinets, shelving, art screens, compactors, and more. Spacesaver's engineers and project managers team up with your local distributor to provide design assistance, installation, and maintenance for any collections care space, large or small. Call 800-255-8170 to arrange a free on-site consultation or visit us at Spacesaver.com.


330 Morgan Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11211 USA Contacts: Jacob Salik Ph: 212-219-0770 Email: jake@talasonline.com Website: www.talasonline.com 

Bookbinding, Conservation and Archival supplies. Visit our website to see our most recent catalogs and featured new products.

Zarbeco, LLC

Virtual Meet & Greet: July 7; August 6
52 Main St., Ste. 1, Succassunna, NJ 07876 USA Contact: Meryl Zweig Ph: 973-933-2043 Fx: 973-933-2336 Email: mzweig@zarbeco.com Website: www.zarbeco.com 

We will be presenting our MiScope Megapixel MP3 and our new “premium plus” MiScope Megapixel MP4K. These USB 3 powered devices are portable, lightweight, have a small footprint, and are available for every budget. Their micron level resolution, excellent color accuracy and included precision measurement software with patented calibration tools will improve your process and documentation to image and record the finest details and color pigments for your own purposes or to share with colleagues, or customers. We will demonstrate how the MiScope can be used for art conservation and restoration to image book and paper, photographs, fabric, paintings, objects, historic buildings, sculptures, and anywhere you want to image for damages, to compare and match pigments, or to look to see if something is an original or a copy. Proudly designed and built in New Jersey since 2001.


Monday, August 3rd: Textiles Session 1 (Meet & Greet with SmallCorp)
Finding the Ming Style: Reconstructing a 15th Century Tibeto-Chinese Thangka Mounting / Michiko Adachi and Hsin-Chen Tsai
08/03/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes
08/03/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes Mountings are commonly seen in East Asian and Tibetan paintings. They are usually constructed using silk or paper, functioning both as structural support and for displaying paintings. In addition, mountings combined with painting can be viewed holistically which can reflect the corresponding cultural aesthetic, through the use of fabric pattern, colors of the borders, and proportions for example. Mahakala as Panjaranatha is a late 15th century Ming era (1368-1644) court produced Tibeto-Chinese Buddhist thangka painting on cotton. In the 1980s, the thangka was re-mounted in a Japanese style panel format with a thin gold brocade and blue silk borders. Although the panel format kept the thangka stable it did not fit the thangka’s period nor aesthetics, which potentially provided a confusing viewing experience. This format also obscured the inscriptions on the verso, evidence of consecration, which are usually visible. Although the inscriptions were documented, photographs were not taken. Moreover, the thangka had previous repairs and retouching that were crudely done and visually distracting. An opportunity to treat this thangka allowed us to address these issues by removing it from the panel format, re-treating, and reconstructing an appropriate mounting. Research was conducted to determine an appropriate mounting style that reflected both the Tibetan Buddhist and Chinese Ming aesthetics. First, Ming period thangkas from different collections were surveyed by closely observing the mounting style, size, and textile. Next, Ming textiles were researched to find a textile pattern most likely used on Tibetan Buddhist objects but produced in the Ming court. From the results of the survey and research, a mounting was designed for Mahakala as Panjaranatha with small practical adjustments. Finally, treatment involving surface cleaning, aqueous cleaning, partial facing, reinforcement, infilling and inpainting was undertaken. After treatment, the thangka was stitched in the reconstructed mounting along the margins, which was then secured onto a fabric covered padded aluminum panel and framed. Mahakala as Panjaranatha, in its newly constructed mounting was exhibited as part of “FAITH AND EMPIRE: Art and Politics in Tibetan Buddhism” at the Rubin Museum of Art. It is difficult to claim that the reconstructed mounting is completely historically accurate, but the mounting is a step forward, closer to a Tibeto-Chinese aesthetic than its previous state. It is hoped that by sharing this process of the mounting reconstruction, it will encourage some further research or treatment opportunities for other thangkas in similar states.
Highly Interventive: Three tales of treatment from the deep end of the workbench / Chandra Obie Linn
08/03/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes
08/03/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes Modern conservation's emphasis on ethical standards, minimum intervention, reversibility, and general restraint has sometimes created a concern that we are developing a "do nothing" climate in conservation labs, one in which the "best" conservation is no conservation. This paper will venture into the other end of the spectrum: into the world of the "highly interventive." Highly interventive treatments may have fallen out of favor, but they do occasionally still happen—and are still sometimes the right thing to do. This paper will discuss three highly interventive treatments: how and why they came to happen, their success (or otherwise), and how they might fit into the broader ethical climate of modern conservation. The first treatment to be discussed is the care of a Civil War-era flag, first treated in 1925. The 1925 treatment involved covering the entire face of the object in a honeycomb of stitching, per the recommendation of the "custodian of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C." according to a 1925 article in The Confederate Veteran. The flag was treated again in the 1980s and by the author in 2019, but the honeycomb stitching was far too interventive to tolerate removal or modification …but also the reason for the flag’s continued existence. The second treatment to be discussed is the care of a set of 24 rag dolls created by Laura Turpin around 1900 and gifted to the Cincinnati Art Museum by the artist. Turpin’s dolls were on display for long periods at CAM and their condition100 years later was poor, mostly due to light damage and weak, degraded silks. When the curator wanted to explore conserving the dolls for possible future display, a discussion of several highly interventive approaches arose and ultimately, a great deal of (irreversible) adhesive was deployed. The third treatment to be discussed explores the sometimes difficult, ethically fraught but potentially satisfying world of working to satisfy a private client. The author was contacted to care for a lace veil that was an important family heirloom that had been used by family brides since at least the 1890s, though the lace components dated from earlier. It had been treated before, but something was wrong: it sat on the head awkwardly and the soon-to-be family bride wanted to use it, but not in its current configuration. Through extensive consultation with the owner, and ultimately, the kind of highly interventive approach the author had planned to assiduously avoid, the veil was fixed and walked down the aisle once more. These three treatments provide a humble starting point for a discussion of the other end of the conservation spectrum: far from “hands off,” and instead, “sleeves up” and into the sometimes forgotten virtues of the highly interventive.
Mechanical Damage in Historic Tapestries: Results from a scientific investigation on causes and remedies / Rosa Costantini
08/03/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes
08/03/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes Co-Authors Frances Lennard and Philip Harrison. Tapestries represent a key component of many historic collections, as well as a complex challenge for textile conservators who aim to ensure their preservation and mechanical integrity, especially during long-term display. Many different approaches are still used to conserve historic hangings but, in many cases, they are not systematically compared, thus making the treatment choice a subjective matter. The current interdisciplinary study carried out at the Centre for Textile Conservation and Technical Art History of the University of Glasgow employs engineering techniques to better understand the mechanical damage mechanisms of historic hangings and how effectively different conservation approaches and display methods may mitigate them. Namely, Digital Image Correlation (DIC) is used to monitor both actual tapestries (some from the Burrell Collection) and model samples. DIC is an optical contactless technique that measures strain and displacement, providing maps that locate areas susceptible to physical degradation. An overview of the project and its objectives were discussed at the AIC meeting in 2018, and now results and conclusions are shown. The work presented here, after highlighting how different damage mechanisms may contribute to the mechanical degradation of tapestries (i.e. relative humidity related fatigue and time-dependent creep), focuses on evaluating the efficacy of sloping boards in easing strain. The effects of this, untraditional but increasingly frequent, display method were tested considering the role played by inclination and friction. Tapestry-like model samples were monitored when displayed at different angles to observe the impact in reducing time-dependent strain across damaged areas, like open slits. Results show that, when minimal friction is present, small angles, for example 5 degrees from the vertical, do not seem to promote noticeable reductions in strain. On the other hand, fabrics commonly used for backing slanted supports (e.g. cotton molton) demonstrate a high coefficient of friction when in direct contact with tapestries (>1); this is therefore an important variable to be carefully considered. Alongside with strain monitoring, trials to investigate dust accumulation at different angles are currently carried out. Similarly to sloping boards, common stitching and support methods/materials are now tested and compared. The study has contributed to the validation of DIC as a technical tool for the monitoring of cultural heritage artefacts, identifying criteria for the successful analysis of historic textiles.
Tuesday, August 4th: Book and Paper Session 5: Library Collections Conservation Discussion Group and Wiki Discussion
Panel Discussion: When Damage Has Meaning: How Conservation Interacts with Interpretation
08/04/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes
08/04/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes Panelists: Jessamy Gloor, The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens; Lauren Telepak, Harvard Library; Elizabeth Ryan, Stanford Libraries Preservation Dept; Rebecca Wingfield, Ph.D., Stanford Libraries; Victoria Stevens ACR, Library and Archive Conservation and Preservation; Jen Hunt Johnson, University of Notre Dame; Erika R. Hosselkus, Ph.D., University of Notre Dame; Todd Pattison, New England Historic Genealogical Society; Quinn Morgan Ferris, University of Illinois Library; Siobhan McKissic, University of Illinois Library. ===== The signs of creation, use, and damage of library and archive materials provide vital clues for researchers. The Association of College and Research Libraries now considers the ability to “factor physical and material elements” into the interpretation of primary sources to be part of primary source literacy. But these same signs can be easily erased or obscured in the conservation treatment of library materials. How do conservators, curators, and collections managers collaborate to balance the sometimes competing priorities of usability and long-term preservation versus signs of use? What is the role of conservators in interpreting and sharing these signs of use and provenance? Conservators and curators discuss their approaches to these problems and opportunities, followed by a discussion with the audience for questions, comments and sharing of experiences.===== Curator Rebecca Wingfield and Conservator Elizabeth Ryan share "Salvaged from Lake Erie: Conserving Ginsberg’s Improvised Poetics and preserving a story." They discuss the history and conservation of a water-damaged publishing proof that tells the story of an abandoned publishing project. Teaching with ephemeral Beat Generation collections, material evidence of use, conservation tracking and information sharing, and documenting damage that has research significance will be addressed.===== Conservator Victoria Stevens discusses "Appetite for Destruction: The Judgements behind the Conservation of Intentional and Unintentional Damage." The conservator has a privileged viewpoint on an object’s overall materiality and construction, revealing aspects that may be hidden to other users. This candid look into an object's history is a powerful interpretative tool, but one that could be easily lost in the need to stabilize objects for current use. Through an analysis of the condition of three written heritage survivors from the Salters' Company, London, Jesus College, Oxford and the Wordsworth Trust collections, this paper shows how the intentional and unintentional damage they have sustained not only adds to their interest as information conveyors but also how their stability was balanced with the need to maintain this evidence of use and abuse.===== Conservator Jen Hunt Johnson and curator Erika Hosselkus share "Intentional Accidents: Identifying Corrections in Early Printed Material." Iron gall ink burn-through is a common but typically unintended feature of early manuscripts. One example at the University of Notre Dame’s Hesburgh Libraries proved to be clearly intentional. During treatment of The Gaceta de Lima, an early printed Peruvian periodical, two unusual burn marks were discovered, each obliterating a single word of text. These artifacts point to unexpected editorial practices occurring during the expedited process of printing a newspaper. Ongoing research seeks to understand how extensive these corrections were, to confirm the point at which they were made, and to understand what this might reveal about printing in colonial Peru.===== Conservator Todd Pattinson discusses "The Role of Conservation in the Electronic Age." The increasing use of digital surrogates is changing the role of physical books as their primary importance is no longer tied to providing access to the text. Instead, books and other physical library objects will increasingly be valued and researched for their physical components, methods of production and evidence of use. This talk will highlight two areas of damage in printed books that have led to a greater understanding of the production and dissemination of print culture in America and why the conservator is often the best individual to identify and convey that information to researchers and educators.===== Conservator Quinn Morgan Ferris and Archival and Literary Manuscript Specialist Siobhan McKissic share "Reconsidering Damage: Collaborative Approaches to the Conservation of the Gwendolyn Brooks’ Archival Collection." In 2013, Gwendolyn Brooks’ archives were acquired by the University of Illinois Rare Book and Manuscript Library. While Brooks was many things--a writer, teacher, Poet Laureate and the first Black person to win a Pulitzer Prize--she was also an avid record keeper. As she tore lines from her notebooks, ripped photographs, and taped return addresses to correspondence, her materials became a sweeping reflection of her personality. Her “intentional damage” was such a feature of the unprocessed acquisition that collection managers wanted to preserve--not “fix”--it. This presentation, a collaboration between conservator and archivist, proposes a paradigm shift in how we consider damage--both intentional and incidental--based on our experience with Brooks’ papers.
BPG Wiki Discussion: 4:00 - 5:00 p.m.
08/04/2020 at 4:00 PM (EDT)   |  60 minutes
08/04/2020 at 4:00 PM (EDT)   |  60 minutes BPG Wiki Coordinators: Diane Knauf and Michelle C. Smith This discussion session will keep the membership informed about the progress of the BPG Wiki, bring together people who have made contributions, and encourage the formation of new editing groups. New and improved Wiki pages will be introduced. Attendees will be invited to provide input to shape the development of the wiki for the coming year. As in past years, feedback on the changes to the wiki will be welcome. A discussion with the audience on selected BPG Wiki topics will follow and give direction on how to proceed with updating the wiki. We invite conservators from all stages of their careers to attend this session and partake in the lively discussion that will add to the continued effort to build this collaborative knowledge base. We want to thank the BPG Program Committee for including this session in the schedule. The feedback that we receive during these sessions is invaluable in planning for the future of the BPG Wiki and maintaining an engaged and active membership.
POSTPONED TO SEPTEMBER 2ND - Wednesday, August 5th: Collections Care: Current Standards for Storage Materials
Thursday, August 6th: Architecture & Objects Historic House Session - Part 2 (Meet & Greet with Zarbeco)
Reactive, Proactive and Interactive - The Conservation and Reinstallation of the Cassiobury House Staircase at The Met / Mecka Baumeister and Lisa Ackerman
08/06/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes
08/06/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes Coauthors: Ivo Kipre, Nick Pedemonti, Jody Hanson, Jesse Ng PLEASE NOTE: There is a technical glitch that occurs during the recording, resulting in several slides not displaying correctly and a period of inactive time where the issue was being resolved. When viewing this presentation, please download the PDF with the script of the presentation, which you can find in the Links section. Use the script with embedded slides to follow along during the 21:20-25:33 section of the presentation where the slides are not displaying. You can then skip ahead to when the issue is resolved at 31:00. Our apologies for the inconvenience. An architectural highlight reinstalled in The Met’s new British Galleries is the 1680s wooden staircase from Cassiobury House in Hertfordshire which was acquired by the museum in 1932, and was first installed in 1956. In the new British Galleries, the staircase has been reinstalled in a configuration aiming for a closer approximation of its original 17th century layout. To fully experience the elaborate pierced, double-sided acanthus scroll carving of the baluster friezes, which are also depicted in the reconstructed trompe l’oeil paintings on the stair’s wainscoting, visitors will be welcomed to walk up and/or down the staircase which required a different approach to the conservation treatment. To realize this concept the conservation team was responsible for structurally stabilizing the staircase, rejoining staircase elements that were cut during the previous installation, and making replacements of missing sections and fragile elements. Additional precautions were made including a supporting steel structure installed underneath the stair, a modern handrail attached to the wall, and a carpet runner on the original stairs using a similar mounting system to when the staircase was at Cassiobury House. Another conservation challenge was the surface treatment of the staircase, which was constructed using three different woods: elm for the newel post finials and the double-sided carved baluster friezes; pine for the newel posts, stringers, baluster bases, and handrails; and oak for the treads and risers. Prior to the Museum’s acquisition of the staircase, the original and subsequent finishes were chemically stripped by the dealer to reflect an unpainted aesthetic associated with the renowned Grinling Gibbons (1648–1721), to whom the carving was attributed at the time. It is now believed to be the work of Edward Pearce (ca. 1635–1695). Our research and examination revealed that the balustrades of the staircase were originally painted, however, there is not enough residual evidence to determine its earlier appearance. Developing a protocol for treating the extremely compromised surfaces of the elm, pine and oak elements while preserving the integrity, protecting all surfaces of the staircase elements and creating an aesthetically unified uncoated appearance of the staircase was a complex task. Given the fragility of the original carved elm newel post finials, they needed to be replaced to withstand possible touching by unruly visitors. Laser scanning of the most well preserved original finial was carried out in The Met’s Imaging Department and losses could be digitally reconstructed in the resulting three-dimensional image. A 3-D print proved essential for reviewing the shape and details of the “digital” finial before the data could be used to mill wooden reproductions from a solid block of oak, recycled from a one hundred twenty year old church balcony beam. The new finials are hand-finished by a professional carver and their surfaces treated to blend in with the rest of the staircase elements before a custom mounting system locked them in place.
The Dark Side of the Gilded Age: An Investigation into Soot Deposition at the Vanderbilt Mansion / Margaret Breuker
08/06/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes
08/06/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes An on-going investigation of soot deposition that began in 2014 is being conducted at the Vanderbilt Mansion by the Historic Architecture, Conservation and Engineering Center (HACE), of the National Park Service and EYP Architects. Interior surfaces, furnishing and historic objects in the mansion have been chronically subjected to soot deposition for the past 120 years. Though the soot may be entering the supply ductwork, and then the historically furnished rooms, the placement of furnace filters over the registers had been previously employed to mitigate the effect. Since it has not, it was determined that a more detailed examination of the soot, heating system and air circulation in the Vanderbilt Mansion should be performed. Initial efforts of the investigation included an assessment of heating system configurations, the collection of soot samples throughout the mansion, running X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS), Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM), Portable X-ray fluorescence analysis (pXRF), and Infrared Spectroscopy analysis of the samples in order to determine their source. Designed by McKim, Mead and White and built in the late 1890’s by Frederick and Louise Vanderbilt in upstate New York, the Vanderbilt Mansion was the height of opulence and Gilded Age luxury. Mrs. Vanderbilt’s Louis XIV bedroom, with expertly painted and gilt walls designed by Ogden Codman Jr., and Frederick’s masculine Renaissance Revival bedroom with its dark wood and tapestry covered walls still retain an exceptional degree of integrity to the Vanderbilt period and original construction. The Vanderbilts occupied the mansion during the summer and early fall months, occasionally staying over a weekend in the winter months. During this time, the mansion was heated by convection- based warm air system utilizing a fully ducted supply air distribution system driven by two coal-fired steam boilers located in the sub-basement of the north side of the building. When the National Park Service received the property from Mrs. Vanderbilt’s niece, in 1939, several upgrades were made to the property, including the installation of new coal fired steam boilers that were eventually retrofitted with oil burners in 1950. In the early 1970s, a portion of the convection system was reconfigured as a forced air system utilizing an air handling unit and the existing boilers. It was originally believed that this system produced the large amounts of soot that can be seen on the historic fabric in the mansion today due to poor combustion draft conditions. Consequently, in 2004 new oil boilers were installed to replace the coal fired boilers. However, large amounts of soot continue to be deposited throughout the mansion. The study thus far has hypothesized that the soot may circulating throughout the mansion directly from the subbasement level. More testing, including Differential Pressure Monitoring will be conducted this fall in order to either confirm or refute this hypothesis.
Friday, August 7th: Textile Specialty Group Business Meeting
TSG Business Meeting
08/07/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes
08/07/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes AIC's Textile Specialty Group (TSG) is holding its annual member business meeting, open to all TSG members.
Monday, August 10th: Wooden Artifacts Session 2 (Meet & Greet with Getty Publications/GCI)
Digital 3-D Reproduction and CNC Milling: Putting the Finial Touches on an Architectural Highlight, the Cassiobury House Staircase / Ivo Kipre and Jesse Ng
08/10/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes
08/10/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes In 1932, The Metropolitan Museum of Art acquired the wooden staircase from Cassiobury House in Hertfordshire, England, ca. 1680. Attributed at that time to the renowned carver Grinling Gibbons (1648–1721), the surfaces finishes were chemically stripped by the dealer prior to the Met’s acquisition of the staircase, to reflect Gibbons’ preference to leave the carved wood unfinished. It is now believed to be the work of Edward Pearce (1635–1695). To enjoy the full experience of the pierced, elaborate double-sided carved elm balustrade friezes and exquisitely carved newel post finials, visitors will be welcomed to walk up and down the staircase. In allowing the public to interact with this architectural highlight, a proactive approach was taken in determining the course of treatment. The elm finials are extremely fragile due to pest damage, stripping, previous alterations and repairs. At the same time, the position of each finial catches the eye and its tangible qualities will inadvertently cause the public to touch. Considering these factors, the decision was made not to use the originals, but to reproduce the finials for the staircase in a way that best resembles their original splendor. In collaboration with the Met’s Imaging Department, the reproduction process began with laser scanning of the most well-preserved original finial. Losses and damages were digitally reconstructed resulting in a digital model that was first 3-D printed, proving to be an essential step for reviewing the shape and details of the “digital” finial. The data was then used to CNC mill reproductions from solid wood. Sourcing elm or a timber of similar ring porous open-grain structure in the necessary size had its challenges until a reclaimed oak balcony beam from a one hundred twenty year-old church in Indiana was found. To prepare for milling, the sections of the beam were carefully selected, treated and packaged to withstand climate fluctuations during shipping. The milled replacement finials were hand-finished at the Met by a professional carver and the surfaces were treated with a protective and aesthetic coating to blend in with the rest of the staircase elements. Mounting the finials really was the final touch in bringing this architectural highlight back to life.
The Conservation of Medieval Polychrome Wood Sculpture: History, Theory, Practice by Michele D. Marincola and Lucretia Kargère (Getty Publications / GCI)
08/10/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes
08/10/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes The Conservation of Medieval Polychrome Wood Sculpture: History, Theory, Practice by Michele D. Marincola and Lucretia Kargère https://shop.getty.edu/products/the-conservation-of-medieval-polychrome-wood-sculpture-history-theory-practice-978-1606066553
Technical Study and Cleaning Treatment of the Egyptian Coffin of Nakht / Luke Addington and Nancy Odegaard
08/10/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes
08/10/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes The Egyptian Coffin of Nakht is an Eleventh Dynasty (2120-1981 B.C.) painted wooden coffin of the scribe Nakht from Asyut, Egypt. To safely and effectively stabilize the coffin a technical study was undertaken, during which several novel approaches to the cleaning of ancient matte paint and identification of binding media were developed. The coffin is constructed of several materials. The wood was identified by visual analysis as acacia, tamarisk, and sycomore fig which are consistent with the literature. The calcium carbonate preparation layers were identified by FTIR and chemical spot testing. The paints consisting of yellow, blue, and red were determined by p-XRF. The white and black were identified by FTIR. All pigments are reported in the traditional Egyptian funerary palette. Characterization of paint binding media in regard to polychrome wooden Egyptian artifacts is often difficult or impossible, even with analytical instrumentation. FTIR and p-XRF analysis of twenty-five samples from the coffin and over thirty individual chemical material characterization tests did not yield conclusive data pertaining to the binding media of this object. We identified proteinaceous binding media in multiple paint samples by modifying the lead acetate and pyrolysis material characterization test by conducting the test inside half of a 1mm dia. capillary tube, with a lead acetate test paper cut to 0.3mm in width. The technique provided a reliable test which cost only a few dollars. Traditional Egyptian technology would suggest the proteinaceous binder is likely from domesticated animals or wild game. To appropriately clean the object’s surface we understood that the nature of matte paint with ancient soiling materials is complex and presents a wide variety of challenges. Some ancient soiling materials become less soluble over time and cannot be removed effectively without risking significant damage to or alteration of painted surfaces. We considered the Modular Cleaning Program (MCP) approach and developed an aqueous buffered chelating solution consisting of Tris, citric acid, and pH 8 deionized water conductivity adjusted to 1,000µS. To clear this solution, we prepared a second pH 8 solution consisting of glacial acetic acid, 10% ammonium hydroxide, and deionized water. The slightly basic nature of both solutions aided in deprotonating portions of the aged soiling material, hence increasing the solubility of ancient grime ingrained in the surface. To clean the surface with an aqueous solution without the typical disadvantages of grime migrating into the pores of the paint, discoloring the paint, or creating tide lines it was necessary to restrict the aqueous phase to the topmost layers of paint. A range of solvents and absorptive textiles were investigated. Decamethylcyclopentasiloxane [(CH3)2SiO]5 commonly called cyclomethicone D5 and Evolon CR micro-filament textile were used. The Evolon CR textile served to restrict the aqueous phase and for its wicking properties. Once we understood the materials involved, these novel methodologies enabled us to successfully clean the surface of the ancient matte paint without damaging or saturating the paint, altering its color, or creating additional tide lines, along with significantly reducing tide lines present at the start of treatment.
Monday, August 10th: Electronic Media Session 5: Caring for Time-based Media in Institutions
Preservation and Documentation Projects for Time Based Media Art at the Reykjavik Art Museum / Sigga Regína Sigurthorsdottir
08/10/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes
08/10/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes In recent years, the Reykjavík Art Museum has been establishing new workflows and improving documentation regarding electronic and time based media art in the museums collection. The process was jump-started with the exhibition project titled Bout (Hrina) in 2017, where the majority of the 75 time based media artworks in the collection was exhibited. The museum had identified gaps in the documentation of its time-based media art and so the project was conceived of as a response. The installation of these pieces provided an opportunity to examine these gaps further and address them with the assistance of the artists. A series of public artist interviews were conducted by conservation, collection and curatorial staff as part of the project, and the documentation for the works grew profoundly. Using the setting of a public interview to address the museums documentation and the artists priorities and intent provided an opportunity to engage the public and simultaneously to harness their interest during the sessions. Audience questions provided an insight into public reception and generated further dialog. In the summer of 2019, the institution continued the project with the Icelandic Rannís innovation and research grant. A researcher, Sigridur Sigurthorsdottir, was hired to perform a survey of the time based media artworks in the collection, assess the storage conditions specific to the media and bring documentation from the Bout exhibition into context with findings from the survey. The needs of various media formats were addressed as well as the more theoretical grounding for various preservation practices, different for every piece following the artists intent and the requirements of the media. One example of a piece from the collection examined as a part of the survey was Steina Vasulka’s Tokyo Four, a multi screen moving image piece originally projected from Laserdiscs, but currently stored and projected using Blu-ray discs. The transfer and display of this piece on derivative media, as well að the storage on a format not intended for preservation, bring up a bounty of questions regarding the nature of the original, the digital display taking over from analog (Laserdiscs are an analog medium), the issues brought on by technological development and the importance of documentation that deals with all of these issues. This is just one example of the many interesting cases found in the collection. The collection can always be examined more thoroughly and striving to meet individual pieces' needs takes evaluation and reevaluation, interpretation and reinterpretation, installation and reinstallation. In this presentation, Sigridur, the project researcher, will discuss the results of the survey as well as the analysis of the Bout project and interviews, delving into how the public became engaged participants in the ongoing preservation research for the collection, the steps already taken and the work yet to be done for the collection.
Fitting the Pieces Together: Moving Towards a Collaborative Approach to Time-Based Media Conservation / Kristin MacDonough
08/10/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes
08/10/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes With support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Art Institute of Chicago (AIC) has, in the last three years, undertaken to build up our practices regarding the exhibition and conservation of time-based media art. In that time, we have progressed very quickly, striking a fine balance between becoming more proactive in our manner of care while remaining flexible and responsive to new developments. This presentation will go into detail about our transition towards building sustainable processes and the growing pains along the way. AIC has found equal success by both marshaling the expertise of existing staff as well as through the pairing of two fellowship roles, one in curatorial and one in conservation, each devoted to the questions around time-based media art and co-organizers of AIC’s Time-Based Media Working Group. As the conservation fellow, I will share both the intended and unexpected outcomes of this approach, and explain how, as a result of our efforts, the museum has changed its overall strategy in areas such as staffing, media acquisition, and preservation procedures. Throughout this process, I have referenced models and principles from fields unrelated to art conservation to help identify gaps in our thinking and methods. As many members of the Electronic Media Group are aware, conserving electronic and digital media requires creative thinking and problem solving. What can we learn from disciplines outside of conservation where attention to detail and habit forming are essential to bringing about lasting change? I’ll describe how this approach has led to the development of new practices, and how it will be useful for reviewing established ones. Our TBM Initiative has also established the Midwest Media Arts Consortium, a community network committed to field-testing best practices and addressing challenges related to time-based media installation and preservation. Our symposia and workshops have provided opportunities for museum professionals in the midwestern United States to attend more participatory events and connect with regional colleagues. This presentation will also outline the development of the consortium and next steps for its continued growth.
One Size Does Not Fit All: Adapting the institution for collecting TBM artworks / Morgan Kessler and Joseph G. Heinen
08/10/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes
08/10/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes The past couple of decades have seen enormous strides in terms of institutions tackling the issue of managing time-based media artworks. Dedicated positions have been created, professional organizations, training programs, and interest groups have been formed, residency and fellowship programs have been established, and open-source resource platforms and starter templates have been freely shared. However, some institutions are struggling to make a case for a TBM program beyond the occasional internship, fledgling committee, collection assessment, or one-off fellowship. Too often TBM artworks are brought in before the infrastructure is in place to manage, let alone preserve them. Museums are plentiful with opportunities for this kind of dedicated conservation work but they are also political environments - projects need to fit in with strategic initiatives, budgets fall under certain degrees of oversight and control, new positions need to go through rigorous rounds of approval, and staff turnover leads to information gaps and for work of this nature to slip through the cracks. While the standard for TBM management appears to fall within the purview of Conservation, not every institution has a Conservation department nor are these departments always in a position to lead this type of work relative to the institutional structure. It takes a village to manage TBM works after all, so what are some alternative ways that this work can be done which bears in mind institutional context? How can a TBM program be created across departments and budgets (or in the absence of a dedicated TBM budget line per se) or built off of existing infrastructure? How do you advocate from within and generate excitement and buzz around this work when museum’s are tackling so many initiatives at once and issues such as this are considered less pressing? How does one begin to break down silos and challenge gatekeepers, particularly in large institutions when work is divided and turfs are often explicitly defined? What options or platforms exist for sharing the work across institutions? Based on our experience at The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), we will demonstrate how we have grown our TBM conservation program from scratch on a strict budget with limited resources, particularly when change is initiated without a mandate from above. We will cover digital storage solutions, leveraging collaboration within various departments in order to effectively condition screen incoming TBM artworks, and creating institutional buy-in by creating an active and effective TBM committee. This talk will focus on suggestions and priorities for institutions with limited resources and employees as we discuss the lessons we have learned in our work. We are also planning on conducting a survey to gauge the varieties of ways that institutions are approaching this work, particularly ones who similarly are responding to the challenges of caring for TBM without the aid of dedicated staff, budgets, or defined programs.
Tuesday, August 11th: Book and Paper: AP Discussion Group
Art on Paper Discussion Group - Presentation and Panel
08/11/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes
08/11/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes Imaging in Practice: Techniques for the Examination of Works of Art on Paper / Becca Pollak and Linda Owen Description: While photographic documentation has long been integral to conservation practice, recent advances in digital equipment, instrumentation, and image processing have both improved existing technologies and introduced new techniques to conservators. These developments have allowed more conservators to examine works on paper in ultraviolet, visible, and infrared spectral ranges and expand into hyperspectral imaging. Collaboration with allied professions to perform elemental mapping of paper objects and computer-assisted integration of imaging with other data increasingly contributes to the scholarship on prints and drawings. The Art on Paper Discussion Group (APDG) of the Book and Paper Group (BPG) will gather together practicing conservators to make short presentations followed by a panel discussion on imaging techniques paper conservators have incorporated into their practice and how they inform our connoisseurship and treatment of paper artworks. Panelists & Presentations: Technical Studies of Works of Art on Paper: What IR Luminescence Can Reveal Theresa J. Smith, Garman Art Conservation Department, SUNY Buffalo State, Buffalo, NY A Practical and Versatile Microscope Imaging System Victoria Binder, Legion of Honor, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, San Francisco, CA Investigating Process Using a USB Microscope Jennifer McGlinchey Sexton, MS Conservation, Colorado Springs, CO Multiple Imaging Modalities Reveal Evolving Imagery in Picasso’s Gouache Kristi Dahm, Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL Searching for Moldmates in Leonardo's Papers Margaret Holben Ellis, Conservation Center, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, New York, NY
Tuesday, August 11th: Textiles Session 2
Frosting on the Cake: Creating a Showcover, Substructure and Underupholstery for Marie-Antoinette’s Fauteuil from her Cabinet Intèrieur at Versailles / Nancy Britton
08/11/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes
08/11/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes Showcovers on seating furniture are a highly visible component of their presentation in period rooms and galleries, conveying the owner’s status, taste and financial resources. Their fragility and ease of succumbing to subsequent owner’s tastes (including museum curators) results in the original textile rarely surviving, or surviving in a severely altered state. Using the perspective that reproduction or replacement showcovers are compensation for loss, the conservator is led to consider the information available for understanding and identifying the fibers, colors, twist, and weave structure of the original showcover. To complete a period presentation, the underupholstery must have an historically appropriate form, and convey period techniques. The intersection of textiles being affixed to the furniture frame must be believable, but must also adhere to conservation standards of introducing minimal new information on the frame. The conservation decisions’ challenges were due to the extensive documentation and textile complexity. The large suite that includes this chair appears in several period inventories at Versailles. The brocade is a well-known design woven in the late 1770s and reproduced heavily during the mid-19th c. with alterations. A confluence of historical events preserved some of the suite on this side of the Atlantic when Gouverneur Morris, Minister to France in 1792-4, bought them for his New York estate. One is preserved intact in the New York Historical Society (N-YHS), another is in the Museum of the City of New York. These two chairs, one intact but in poor condition, the other with the original brocade showcover removed and preserved, provided an inordinate and unusual amount of information for the showcovers, trims, boxings, and underupholstery. This brocade would be technically demanding to weave and numerous dyes were degraded necessitating dye analysis to determine hue. Using 21st c. advanced modern textile industry technologies to produce a high-end 18th c. handwoven fabric isn’t possible for a high quality reproduction, and specialized compatible technologies were required. The chenille yarns would be particularly challenging to source. Passementerie is another highly specialized business. Because we determined the chair originally had a cushion, not a tight seat, the boxing for the cushion required locating an exemplar. After a false start with one company, a second company was found that could meet the high level of execution required. An example of the specialized skill sets required meant that only a single weaver was capable of weaving the brocaded components of the showcover. Specialty skills within the silk mill, such as computer assisted designing, expertise in complex woven silk structures, and an in-house archive were invaluable. The Met’s contingencies include an exhibition driven schedule, meaning objects not scheduled for exhibition are low priority. Pest infestations are a major concern and substructure and underupholstery materials were frequently chosen on this basis and not preferential historically and visually alternatives. Non-interventive techniques used carbon fiber for slender and durable showcover carriers. The project was highly successful and took nearly four years to completion, receiving acclaim on French television. The chair is now situated in a period rooms.
The Use of Non-woven Support Materials for the Conservation of Three-Dimensional Painted Silk / Chuance Chen
08/11/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes
08/11/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes Co-author: Karen Thompson. This research aimed to determine the effectiveness of non-woven support treatment for stabilising splits from three-dimensional painted silk. A literature review established that Tengujō (a Japanese paper made from the kōzo plant) was the most frequented non-woven support material in paper and textile disciplines. Available literature from the paper conservation has also indicated that cellulose nanofibers (CNF) to be a promising cellulose-based support. The effectiveness of Tengujō and CNF support, applied using a non-aqueous adhesive method, were evaluated for their strength, removability and flexibility. The strength of the material was determined through a tensile test and comparative shear test. Results were interpreted with stress-strain graphs and visual analysis of the tested samples. Removability of the material was established by characterisation of the adhesive residues left on the supported silk substrate using optical microscopy. Sensory evaluation was used to establish the flexibility of the material by assessing the physical attributes of supported samples. The results determined that Tengujō and CNF can effectively be applied to stabilise splits in silk textile. CNF is stronger than Tengujō in term of material strength, whereas the Tengujō gave the best results for use as support material.
‘Riggisberg’? A Mexican Stitch to Remember / Laura Garcia-Vedrenne
08/11/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes
08/11/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes This paper inquires the story behind the term ‘riggisberg’ which has been used in Mexico over the last 40 years to refer to the self-couching conservation stitch. The term is now falling out of use and being replaced with the phrase ‘costura de restauración’ (conservation stitch), which might be an imprecise term for the purposes of documentation. This paper reflects on the diverse forms of speech related to conservation stitching. A questionnaire directed towards Spanish-speaking conservators was distributed to survey differences in the usage of words. Although inherent conflicts of adapting vocabulary from other languages have hindered communication between conservators in the past, it is time to revisit and assess if the information is flowing more effectively nowadays. A review was completed about how the profession of textile conservation was born and spread across Mexico, specifically with regards to stitching treatments. By looking at previous documentation and comparing it with references published outside of Mexico, the paper explores how information travelled for the term ‘riggisberg’ to be adopted for daily use within confined geographic borders. A possible explanation is offered after revisiting topics such as the textile conservation workshops held by Spanish chemist María del Socorro Mantilla in Mexico (1977) and the decades-long debate between “stitchers and gluers” (mainly 1980’s). These scattered ideas have not been previously connected by conservators, despite showing unique aspects and traditions of current textile conservation practice in Mexico. The value of this contribution lies in keeping practitioners informed of recent changes and developments relevant to their field of work, specifically with regard to documentation. The author calls for action to promote discussion, to keep the creation and maintenance of records up to date with adequate lexicon, and to increase the amount and availability of publications written in Spanish.
Wednesday, August 12th: Collections Care - Big Data
Assessing the Condition of the National Collection / Fenella France
08/12/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes
08/12/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes Co-author: Ian Bogus. An Andrew W. Mellon funded research project has begun providing data to objectively assess the condition of the textblock of books held in the United States. The research study is performing in-depth scientific analyses on a representative sample – measuring the same 500 volumes from five partner research libraries. The contribution of this research data will provide the necessary pre-requisite for developing a national plan that will ensure that books retained and preserved in shared print programs have the best physical properties for long-term preservation. Many institutions are currently making withdrawal and retention decisions based upon subjective and incomplete information. The collections data will help ensure that large-scale withdrawal of materials does not compromise the overall robustness of cultural heritage collections, informing the shared print, preservation and digitization communities. A number of shared-print and future of the print-record initiatives have noted the need for objective data to assist with decision-making. The project is characterizing the physical, chemical and optical characteristics of a selection of general collection library materials across five large research libraries in distinct regions of the United States for paper-based collections spanning the time period of 1850-1950, a time period when the mass production of print collections included less stable pulp types. The data will be used by institutions, collections care managers and librarians to determine the current physical state of items held nationally with the intent of identifying those materials that are in good condition, where they can be found, and inform institutions about the potential risk of loss for preserving the printed corpus held within the country. The ultimate goal is to fill gaps in our knowledge to guide the community as it develops a national print archiving effort as part of shared print initiatives by answering questions on how materials naturally age and decompose as well as allowing institutions to be able to predict with a strong probability of accuracy good quality and poor quality copies of books. The project has begun comparing the same titles and editions to quantify and objectively assess the condition of these volumes to create a comparable and reliable decision-making method for retention, to avoid disposal of materials that may be crucial to a national preservation effort.
Measuring Collections Care: Survey, Index, Self-assessment, Consultant / Lesley Langa
08/12/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes
08/12/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes Collections care is a coordinated practice of several functions within memory institutions to help preserve collections items. It includes conservation alongside many other responsibilities like security, funding, making digital surrogates, and more. In theory, any institution with a collection that performs these responsibilities - regardless of staff size, location, or conservation practice - should be able to perform them at an appropriate scale to their collections size. This presentation will provide an overview of several methods to measure collections care practice. It starts with an overview of the HHI 2014 study, the largest and most comprehensive tool to measure practice across the U.S and compares it to other surveys. Second, there is an overview of an original index derived from the the HHI survey questionnaire to distill several key practices for their centrality to collections care and consistency across all collections types from archives to libraries to museums. The index follows the standard methods to test for the statistical relationships, and likeness of the questions and then calculates assigns a score to each measure and then all measures are compiled into a single composite index score. The score is meant to aid institutions in self-assessment of their collections care practice, where there are many other tools. This presentation will then provide a brief overview of these tools with a discussion about their similarities or differences for institutions to consider before closing with the final assessment tool of hiring a professional consultant whether through the Conservation Assessment Program (CAP) or directly.
Thursday, August 13th: Objects Session 3
Saving Moth Man: Conserving John Hampson’s Insect Art / Nora Frankel
08/13/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes
08/13/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes John Hampson created intricate and works of art using insects as a medium. These works used thousands of dried animals, mostly lepidoptera (moths and butterflies) and coleoptera (beetles) to create images, often of historical themes. The Fairbanks Museum & Planetarium (St. Johnsbury, VT) currently owns Hampson’s entire collection of insect art, created in a period between his immigration to the US in 1860 and his death in 1923. The piece General Slocum was fragile with large areas of loss, and the museum considered it too damaged to display. Slocum was previously brought to Williamstown Art Conservation Center (WACC) for consolidation to stabilize the crumbling, aging insect bodies. Following further funding, Slocum returned to WACC to address the aesthetic aspects of the treatment to allow for future display. Due to the pictorial nature of the work, the second phase of treatment of Slocum focused on loss compensation and visual infills to enhance readability of the image. As the piece consisted of several species across multiple genera, a wide range of techniques were required to create appropriate fills for lost or damaged insects. While initially using real insect specimens was explored, it was determined that replicas would be more consistent, durable, and reversible. Moths were replicated with Japanese tissue, utilizing digital printing, hand toning, and folding to achieve the appropriate effect. Tissue wings were mounted on original pins and secured with Klucel G. Where losses of beetles were distracting, replicas were hand molded or cast in acrylic resin from silicone molds taken from detached specimens. The opalescent color on some species was replicated with mica powders and replica beetles were tone with acrylic paints.
Coating Iron: A Reactive and Proactive Solution / Gyllian Porteous and Anna Funke
08/13/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes
08/13/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes Co-authors: Flavia Puoti, Johanna Rivera-Diaz, Justin Schwebler, Chris McKenzie, and Claire Achtyl As the theme of this year’s AIC conference states, conservation can include both reactive and proactive interventions. This paper will closely investigate two case-studies of cast iron cannons that were treated with an epoxy and polyurethane three-part outdoor marine coating commonly used in historic preservation. It will discuss how the same coating system can be used both as a reactive treatment when it stops advancing corrosion as well as a proactive treatment when it prevents future damage. In addition to the detailed discussion of these complex treatments, this paper will investigate the challenges that metals conservation in particular faces around the principle of re-treatability. The first case study discussed in this paper is a cast iron cannon from the revolutionary war that was recovered from the Cooper river in South Carolina in the 1980s. After recovery it was left to dry out. Over the years, large fragments had started to fall off the surface due to chlorides trapped in the iron. A treatment reacting to mistakes made in the past was therefore required. Given that the object is owned by a small county museum, funds for this project were very limited and made full desalination impossible. It was therefore decided to use the afore mentioned coating system as it would eliminate interaction between the iron and oxygen and was therefore the best option in trying to prolong the life of this rapidly corroding object. The second case-study discussed here is the treatment of three civil war era cannons. While these were in very good condition when they were recovered from the PeeDee river, it was discovered half way through the treatment that they would be displayed outside where they would be exposed to the harsh climate of South Carolina as well as roaming visitors. This prompted us to take a much more proactive treatment approach and apply the same heavy coating system, which would be able to protect the underlying material from a harsh environment and prevent future damage. While the coating system described here is significantly more interventive than would usually be advisable for conservation treatments, the nature of these two case-studies required both reactive and proactive approaches in order to ensure the longevity of these cast iron cannons. Furthermore, these treatments presented an interesting opportunity for exchange between conservation and historic preservation. Given that the latter often deals with treatments that must withstand much greater pressure from both the environment as well as human interactions.
The Treatment and Reinstallation of Neo-Assyrian Northwest Palace Reliefs at the Brooklyn Museum / Victoria Schussler
08/13/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes
08/13/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes Co-authors: Tina March and Lisa Bruno The Brooklyn Museum collection includes twelve monumental gypsum stone reliefs from the Northwest Palace of Ashur-nasir-pal II (883 to 859 B.C.E.), King of Assyria. Ashur-nasir-pal II chose to build his palace in the city of Kalhu, also known as Nimrud, now in Iraq’s Nineveh Province. Almost three thousand years later, Sir Austen Henry Layard, a British archaeologist, rediscovered the palace in 1840 and began excavation with British funding in 1846. Traveling through London and Boston, the reliefs arrived at the Brooklyn Museum, first on indefinite loan from The New York Historical Society in 1937 and finally acquired in 1955. Since their arrival at Brooklyn, the reliefs have been on display in various galleries throughout the Museum. When the reliefs were installed in the Kevorkian Gallery, their current location, the fragments were assembled with small brass rods and plaster and pinned to the wall. After nearly five decades on display, six of the twelve reliefs were fully conserved in 2002. Through the generous support of a Bank of America Conservation grant, the remaining six reliefs have been treated over the last two years. Because of their size, weight, and previous installation, the reliefs were documented in situ in the Kevorkian Gallery and treated in a temporary work space created in the Museum’s adjacent Egyptian Galleries. The current treatment was greatly informed by the 2001-2002 treatment, while incorporating new and newly available tools. In addition to digital photography in visible and raking light, conservators were able to document the objects before treatment with a partial multiband imaging suite including visible-induced infrared luminescence imaging to characterize Egyptian Blue. In conjunction with conventional hand tools, the use of a Compact Phoenix Nd:YAG 1064nm laser from Lynton Lasers Ltd. allowed for the sensitive reduction of non-original mortar from the reliefs’ surfaces, revealing previously obscured carving. The two-year project proceeded in view of the Museum’s visitors, with signs encouraging visitors to ask questions, take pictures, and post to social media. Working in a gallery space imposed important limitations on treatment material choices but also afforded Brooklyn Museum’s objects conservators the opportunity to engage with the public, sharing information about the project, the field of art conservation, and the ethos of cultural heritage preservation. The need for visual consistency with the 2002 treatment of the other six reliefs in the collection created constraints on the method of the reliefs’ mounting; however, the resulting compatibility has allowed the Museum the opportunity to revisit the reliefs’ installation and interpretation in the Kevorkian Gallery, creating physical and iconographic groupings more representative of the objects’ original architectural context. In 2015, the Iraqi government announced that the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL, had purposefully destroyed much of the Northwest Palace site, part of a program of obliterating cultural heritage monuments in their original archaeological contexts. This type of violence makes urgent the need to support cultural heritage preservation and unfortunately timely the conservation of these Neo-Assyrian reliefs, which have endured, and will endure.
Monday, August 17th: Reacting to Hazardous Collections (Meet & Greet with Spacesaver and Huntington T. Block Insurance Agency, Inc.)
Navigating Deep Currents – Treatment of an Artifact with a Traumatic Origin and Potential Hidden Hazards / Steven Pickman
08/17/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes
08/17/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes Co-authors: Grant Czubinski and Kate McPhaul Artifacts born out of traumatic and desperate circumstances often serve and remain as the only tangible memories directly accessible to particular historical events by their museum audiences. When rooted within a context of survival, they can also reflect evidence of displacement, ingenuity, and rebirth. As such, the meanings and values of these charged objects are imbued with added emotional and psychosocial significance that resonate in the present and must be taken into consideration when developing treatment protocols and procedures. Balanced along this tightrope are the needs of an artifact’s material landscape, often never intended for long-term use or preservation, and requiring both responsive and pre-emptive considerations. This paper will explore the concerns and treatment of a Cuban refugee raft in preparation for 3D scanning and loan. Part of the museum holdings within the Anacostia Community Museum and intended for loan to a new permanent gallery space at the National Museum of American History being developed by the Smithsonian Latino Center, the raft is a representative artifact of the Balseros and the precarious vessels on which they attempted transit (balsas). For many of those who attempted this route, little to no evidence exists of the voyage or their passing; numbers indicate that between 1959 and 1994, at least 20% of those who attempted the crossing perished with sources indicating a possible death rate as high as 75%. Having gone into storage soon after acquisition and remaining there for the last 24 years, existing documentation on the scavenged composite artifact itself was relatively scant with limited information available about its overall construction and condition. Treatment needed to be carried out within a limited scope, budget, and timeline, preserving the overall integrity and visual impact of the raft while stabilizing any physical and chemical deterioration present. Concerns during the development phase of treatment methodology, procedures, and protocols left the contract conservator needing more information and advice regarding potential biological related contaminants present on surfaces, confirming or modifying existing proposed actions. This project became a collaborative effort between the contract conservator, project managers, industrial hygienists, the larger conservation community, and other relevant stakeholders. Approaches were kept fluid and flexible to adjust for limited accessibility to resources from smaller institutional entities but allow for ongoing communication, precautionary health and safety risk assessments, and ultimately, towards a successful treatment.
Forces and Radiation: Dealing with the hazards involved with acquiring, displaying and lending a collection of artworks by Takis / Carla Flack
08/17/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes
08/17/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes Co-author: Deborah Cane In 2018, when Tate acquired twenty artworks by the Greek artist Takis, one of the most technologically innovative artists of the 20th Century, it was clear the works were going to pose many challenges for the Sculpture Conservation department. Over half of the works contained kinetic and light elements driven by various forces including electricity, magnetism and physical motion; and all were in their original mid-20th century condition. The complexity of displaying and preserving kinetic artworks has been widely discussed within contemporary art conservation and the difficulty of balancing the authenticity of the original motion against conserving or replacing original material is a constant challenge. Something highlighted by the Menil Collection when they spoke about conserving their own Takis works at the 2016 ICOM: Keep it Moving conference in Milan. These challenges and complexities certainly existed for our collection, however they were increased significantly by the hazards inherent to many of the artworks, which meant Health and Safety legislation and procedures needed to be adhered to in order to safely display and lend the collection. As conservators we are trained in the hazards of working in our studios and well versed in COSHH and risk assessment, however, how does this translate when the works themselves are hazardous? There were many hazards within the artworks however the main focus will be on electro-magnetism, mercury and radiation, as these posed the biggest issues for display and handling. As well as the complexities the contemporary art conservator usually faces, such as retaining the artist's intention, the hazards brought additional challenges. For example the potential impact on the health of the public or those handling the works, managing curatorial expectations of what can be achieved while adhering to EU and UK legislation and documenting these complex issues for those dealing with the works in the future and external to Tate. The talk will highlight how experience from working with social history and industrial collections led the preparation for the intake of these works and how it was crucial to work with various specialists within differing hazard sectors. Finally, how the conservation team dealt with the challenge of researching and understanding very complex fields of knowledge to apply to fine art, and ultimately what compromises had to be made.
Toxic Taxidermy and More: Evaluating Hazards and Developing Safety Guidelines at the Museum of Vancouver / Hayley Monroe and Fiona Hernandez
08/17/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes
08/17/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes The Museum of Vancouver (MOV) has spent the past year developing a risk management strategy for hazardous collections. This project aimed to address concerns from both the City of Vancouver as well as museum staff about the presence of hazardous materials in the museum environment. Most recently, preparation for an exhibition consisting primarily of heavily contaminated taxidermy specimens made it increasingly clear that guidelines for safe handling, storage, conservation, display and appropriate disposal were needed for the entire collection. This project consisted not only of hazard identification, but also the production of a safety manual, training sessions for staff, physical tagging of objects and the improvement of a hazard module within the object database. Not least of all, this work set out to provide a balance between the realities of daily museum work and compliance with City of Vancouver and government guidelines. This talk will briefly cover the steps taken to identifying hazards in the MOV collection, as well as the framework developed for determining risk and guidelines for staff to use when approaching known or suspected hazards. Since the project began in the spring of 2018, a wide range of hazards were identified, including organic and inorganic pesticides, heavy metal pigments, botanical toxins, radioactive materials etc. Following identification, a rubric was designed to plot the overall risk posed by individual objects. The final risk score designated an object as either no/minimal, low, moderate, or high risk. This information then corresponded to requirements for personal protective equipment, handling, transportation, conservation and display. Colored hazard tags corresponding to the risk score are attached to objects to provide a visual warning. Further information and additional instructions are entered into the hazard module of the object’s database record. For museum staff, the manual provides a comprehensive overview of the new system as well as relevant background information. Training sessions provided by the conservation department for the collections staff were instrumental in setting the new guidelines in action and empowering staff to feel both safe and confident that if proper procedures are followed, even hazardous collection items can be handled, displayed, and visited with minimal disruption to staff and minimal environmental impact. To properly address risk into the future, this project has provided the MOV collections department with a framework for strategic planning as well as an interdisciplinary working team. Ongoing staff time and effort will be required to proactively manage the risks to staff and the environment.
Tuesday, August 18th: Proactive Collections Care for Smaller Institutions
Three Approaches to Sustainable Collections Care / Anastasia Matijkiw
08/18/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes
08/18/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes Co-author: Dyani Feige Across the United States, important historical records and other cultural collections are held by organizations large and small, urban and rural, professionally staffed and volunteer-run. Many of these organizations operate on the margins of professional standards and require conservation and preservation services, but do not have access to them through traditional means. Since 2002, the Conservation Center for Art & Historic Artifacts (CCAHA) has developed and administered programs geared towards helping these organizations build capacity and make sustainable preventive conservation decisions. These ongoing programs have helped CCAHA to establish an adaptable approach that has a proven positive impact on preservation and conservation activities across the country, regardless of size and type of collecting institution. This session will focus on three programs managed by CCAHA: the Philadelphia Stewardship Program serving the Philadelphia region, the Documentary Heritage and Preservation Services for New York (DHPSNY) in New York State, and the Regional Heritage Stewardship that serves three distinct regions across the United States (Northern Appalachia, the Eastern Gulf Coast, and the Intermountain West). This session will touch on the development of each program, how they meet the needs of their respective regions, and what funding structures allow them to exist. While each of these programs have similarities, there are intentional and conscientious differences in their approach, depending on the region, funding, and resources available - as well as lessons learned along the way from participants and regional partners. Each program has grown over time to become three distinct offerings that offer feasible, scalable solutions adapted to the regions they serve. The success of these programs has been the direct result of CCAHA’s ability to offer adaptable, flexible, and responsive programs that meet organizations where they are, rather than impose standards beyond their capacity. Just as each program is different in their approach, so too are their funding streams. From state funding to grant funding, each face questions and issues of sustainability. The presenter will also address the ongoing hurdles of sustainability CCAHA is constantly addressing, both in regard to participating organizations being able to support preservation and conservation activities and CCAHA’s own ability to offer these programs.
Broadening the Dialog with our Allies through the Connecting to Collections Care Community / Heather Galloway
08/18/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes
08/18/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes The act of seeking, giving and receiving advice in an online community can seem like a fraught endeavor at times. Those who seek advice can feel anxious that gaps in their experience are being publicly exposed, while those who offer up advice can feel concerned that they are providing how-to instructions that will encourage others to perform tasks outside their area of expertise. The apparent ease with which one can post a query is at times at odds with the actual time-consuming task of communicating one's needs clearly. The responding audience is often at a disadvantage to the full scope of the issue while those looking for guidance can have difficulty in discerning whether the expert advice offered up is in fact the advice of an expert. The Connecting to Collections Care (C2CCare) Community is the only community hosted by the AIC website that is specifically geared to a broader collections care audience, outside the foundational audience of treating conservators. In addition to representing a diverse range of collection care professionals, the forum members also constitute a wide gamut of training and experience from volunteers at small institutions to graduate-trained professionals. As it is an outward facing effort to reach a larger public the answers are monitored by volunteer conservators in an effort to assure that posted answers represent best practices within the professional field. Where uncertainty exists volunteer-experts are contacted by the monitor and the Find-A-Conservator function of the AIC website is often linked to in order to direct community members to the professional help they may need. This talk will explore the ways in which the C2CCare Community has created a venue that has brought together conservators and collection care personnel in an explosion of direct communication that has been overwhelmingly positive but not without its hurdles. Questionable advice and products have been offered up, high-standard yet financially unattainable solutions have been suggested and members have at moments felt shut-down or disrespected in their quests for new knowledge. Yet both communities, conservators and non-conservators a like, have also gained an opportunity to observe more directly the most pressing concerns for their allied professionals within a social setting that is raising awareness and building more constructive relationships. The C2Care Community, at the time of this writing, with 2,600 members is the forth largest discussion group after the recently introduced Global Community which has 7,600 members, the Emerging Conservation Professional Network which has 4,000 members and the AIC Member Community itself, which numbers 3,700. When viewed alongside the other communities, the number of discussions on the C2CCare Community has made it the second most trafficked community hosted by the AIC coming in slightly behind the Global Community. As such this forum represent an outreach opportunity that can benefit traditional membership and expand upon AIC’s efforts to raise awareness of conservation and preservation. This talk would like to posit that it remains our responsibility, as members of AIC to welcome into our discussions a greater variety of voices for the advancement and benefit of us all.
Conservation Within Reach: Conservators and Lab-less Conservation for a Higher Standard of Care / Katharine Corneli
08/18/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes
08/18/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes Of more than 35,000 museums in the United States only a small proportion have a conservation lab and in-house conservator. Most institutions lack the capacity or the funds for either. Though professional conservators are increasingly reaching out to smaller, unequipped museums many barriers still exist to the long-term preservation of these collections. Hence, many institutions must outsource their conservation or do without. From contracting with conservators in private practice to attempting “do-it-yourself” solutions after some online research, the disparity in available resources leads to a disparity in standards of care. Incorporated herein are the results of a nationwide survey exploring how cultural heritage institutions care for their collections. Some have conservation labs but no conservator, relying on occasional training by off-site professionals. Some museum conservators make do with limited resources, including using distilled water and working with limited solvents. Occasionally a lab space may be rented off site. Roving conservators may cover many smaller institutions at once. These and myriad other solutions are discussed. There are ways in which any museum, no matter the size, can enhance their standards of in-house conservation, both preventive and remedial. Herein are discussed methods for making the most of a minimal budget with respect to materials and equipment as well as creative solutions, such as renting equipment or collaborating with local schools and businesses. The argument is made that employing a formally trained conservator, in any available capacity, raises the overall standards of care within an institution even in the absence of a conservation lab. Therefore it is recommended that conservators gain experience in collections management, registration, and other (more commonly funded) museum positions. Much of the content is based on the personal experience of the author. Katharine Corneli is a professionally trained objects conservator who is currently the collections manager for a mid-sized rural museum where, with no formal lab and a limited budget for conservation materials, much is still accomplished in-house.
Wednesday, August 19th: Paintings Session 3 with Exhibitor Meet and Greet with Barnett Technical Services
Project Blue Boy: The public conservation treatment of a painting with iconic status from The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens / Christina O'Connell
08/19/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes
08/19/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes Project Blue Boy was a multi-year and multi-faceted public conservation project of Thomas Gainsborough's The Blue Boy. First exhibited at Britain's Royal Academy of Arts in 1770 and acquired by the Huntington's in 1921, the painting has been on almost constant view since the gallery opened to the public in 1928 due of its iconic status. The painting has undergone several conservation treatments over the past nine decades, but many of those treatments were minimal and designed to limit the time the painting was off display. When The Huntington hired its first full time paintings conservator in 2013, structural and visual condition issues were noted that warranted treatment. With new staff and funding that made public conservation possible, Project Blue Boy was planned as a thorough technical study and comprehensive treatment with a strong outreach component. A satellite conservation space was set up in The Huntington's Thornton Portrait Gallery where the painting is normally on long-term display. This location provided art historical context and made it possible to adopt a flexible conservation timeline that could run separately from the temporary exhibition space that operates with an ambitious rotating schedule. The flexibility in treatment schedule was also critical as The Huntington employs only one paintings conservator on staff. Project Blue Boy was treatment and education driven, as opposed to deadline driven. When planning the satellite conservation space within the gallery, considerations were given to security, visitor access and experience, healthy and safety, and the intense focus necessary for a conservator during treatment. To achieve these criteria, a temporary half-wall was built in the gallery which provided enough space for the conservator and equipment. The half-wll was fabricated with a slanted surface to display didactic content and interactive media for audience engagement. Huntington docents were trained and scheduled to be in the gallery during all public hours to prevent interruptions of the conservator’s work and to allow security staff to focus on their tasks. Regular conservator gallery talks comprised the bulk of the public programming for the project. A set schedule of treatment hours and public presentations by the conservator was kept throughout the year-long public phase. These talks provided details on how a conservator examines a work of art to understand the materials and condition, how decision-making unfolds for treatment, and professional guidelines of practice and code of ethics. By directly engaging the public, the conservator was able to foster a deeper understanding that went beyond what a visitor might observe on their own. Public conservation is intensive work and can pose many challenges because it takes place outside of the regularly equipped work space. There are also benefits, such as institutional education, especially when certain conservation expertise is new to that institution. Overall, what made Project Blue Boy successful was the painting’s status and ability to draw visitor interest, the flexibility in the conservation schedule, and the financial support to appropriately plan the public space.
New Insights into a Collection Highlight: Study and Treatment of Renoir's The Great Bathers / Kristin Patterson and Kate Duffy
08/19/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes
08/19/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes In advance of a 2019 collection exhibition, The Impressionist’s Eye at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s The Great Bathers was the subject of intensive study and treatment supported by the Bank of America Art Conservation Fund. This presentation will discuss technical study of the painting, which informed an understanding of structural weaknesses inherent to both original and restoration materials and therefore guided treatment decisions on stabilizing the painting. This presentation will also address decades-old scholarly questions about presumed shifts in Renoir’s materials and technique.  With new technical information, it will examine why this artwork is considered the epitome of Renoir’s mid-career shift known as his “crisis” period. Imaging techniques including scanning macro-XRF and hyperspectral imaging were combined with pigment and media analyses to reveal how Renoir continuously adjusted the composition in large and small ways over the course of three years, in a process uniquely complex within his body of work. Research into the painting’s treatment history revealed that the artwork underwent significant restoration in the 1930’s and 40’s, including transfer of paint and ground layers to a new canvas. Identification of old restoration materials and the discovery of Renoir’s repeated reworking of thick, rigid paint layers, clarified the unstable arrangement which allowed for notable movement of cracks with changes in the environment. This condition resulted in large, open, horizontal and vertical cracks concentrated near the center of the painting, which cupped forward severely. Repeated movement of these cracks posed serious risks for the long-term stability of the painting and resulted in the work being banned from loan due to its fragility.  Guided by the information outlined above, treatment involved removing old, disfiguring restoration materials and restoring the surface legibility of the painting.  Improving the structural stability of the canvas became a primary focus.  Structural work was carried out in partnership with the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, sharing equipment and personnel resources with a neighboring institution. The extraordinary thickness of paint layers and the reactivity of old restoration materials necessitated relaxing cracks into plane and attaching the canvas to a solid support in order to restrict future movement.  By minimizing risks of propagating cracking, the painting can be safely displayed for generations into the future. 
MUNCH. Monitoring change in monumental Unvarnished oil paintings of Norwegian Cultural Heritage: a proactive perspective to a historically reactive approach / Jan Cutajar
08/19/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes
08/19/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes Co-authors: Tine Froysaker and Jon Yngve Hardeberg Academic research on the paintings of the esteemed Norwegian artist Edvard Munch spring-boarded in the 1970s. In 2005, a new front of conservation research was initiated as part of the Munch Aula Paintings Project (MAP) which targeted the study of eleven monumental oil paintings on canvas at the University of Oslo (UiO) Aula, made by Munch between 1909-1916. MAP elucidated the conservation history of the paintings since their initial installation in 1916. Resultantly, the paintings’ original materials were analysed so as to propose and execute their most recent conservation treatment. The project served to highlight the unfavourably high frequency of remedial conservation cleaning, with six campaigns carried out within the span of 70 years. These findings also emphasised the high occurrence of soiling of the paintings. Spectroscopic readings furthermore permitted MAP to trace visual and chemical changes over time, and also highlighted the need for monitoring of environmental airborne particles. These results have elevated the importance of establishing the most appropriate proactive and preventive conservation measures necessary to care for the composite dynamic systems that compose the paintings. Additionally, the Aula’s listing as a heritage building implies that innovative approaches are necessary order to secure the condition of these paintings for the future. Consequently, the latest UiO research on the conservation of the Aula paintings has targeted a further in-depth understanding of the environmental conditions, accretions and constituents of the paintings. Based upon this foundation, novel cleaning techniques are being adapted and currently tested on painted mock-ups. This research context calls for the appropriate tools to further monitor and document the changes at hand with hitherto untrialled techniques. Advances in microscopy, colorimetry, spectroscopy and cultural heritage imaging all offer exciting opportunities for the mapping and documentation of change in Munch’s Aula paintings. In heeding this call, the present EU ITN-CHANGE ESR10 project (https://change-itn.eu/2018/08/09/esr10/) – tentatively renamed “MUNCH. Monitoring change in monumental Unvarnished oil paintings of Norwegian Cultural Heritage” – aims to develop a novel, accessible toolkit for the documentation of cleaning tests of unvarnished oil paint mock-ups, which in turn may be optimised and applied to the in situ documentation of the Munch’s Aula paintings, as well as other unvarnished paintings by Munch and his contemporaries. Framed within this context, this presentation will outline the detailed high-profile case study of Munch’s monumental Aula paintings as described above in order to present the first updates on the early stages of this doctoral research fellowship, treating the proactive monitoring of change within 20th-century unvarnished oil paintings. The talk shall thus highlight how conservators can adapt recent advances in imaging technology, namely hyperspectral imaging, to document conservation treatments (and related degradation products), and discuss the research rationale guiding this process to secure its implementation into contemporary conservation practice. The expected results of this work shall similarly be commented upon in highlighting promising avenues for the next steps in this multidisciplinary endeavour to expand the conservator’s toolkit in the dynamically changing 21st-century.
Treading New Ground: Technical examination and treatment of two eighteenth-century Philadelphia portraits by William Williams / Mina Porell
08/19/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes
08/19/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes Co-authors: Matt Cushman, Rosie Grayburn, Stephanie Delamaire, Jason Fischel, and Donald Sparks Defined by a handful of surviving paintings of shifting style and a limited archival record, the work of eighteenth-century painter William Williams (1727-1791) has long evaded straight-forward interpretation. Born in Bristol and forced into labor as a seaman in the Virginia trade, Williams is first recorded in Philadelphia in 1754 as a painter; how and where he was trained remains a mystery. An ongoing in-depth technical examination and conservation treatment of his paintings, conducted at the Winterthur Museum in preparation for an upcoming exhibition, has shed light on the artist’s materials, technique, and possible sources. This investigation is centered primarily on Williams’s 1766 portraits of William and David Hall. Along with that of their sister Deborah, now in the collection of the Brooklyn Museum, the paintings are considered the earliest full-length portraits executed in the Philadelphia area and the most ambitious of Williams’s colonial works. Examination of the paintings at the onset of treatment revealed areas of degraded paint, pervasive drying and mechanical crackle, and suspicions of overpainting. These observations accelerated the already planned investigation of Williams’s materials and process. The multi-analytical approach included non-invasive imaging and destructive sampling to characterize the original inorganic and organic components, as well as restoration materials of special interest. Among the extensive study’s most significant discoveries is the identical preparation of the primary supports. Each canvas is pieced together from three strips of linen and coated with three ground layers of distinct colors, consisting primarily of very coarse iron earths, silicates, and lead white. Such triple colored-ground preparation has not been reported previously in American paintings and is rare in published occurrences in Western painting. Additionally, the characterization of the extraordinarily thick preparatory layers contributed to our understanding of the present state of the paintings and highlighted potential pitfalls of the planned structural and aesthetic treatment. The analysis of the artist’s palette revealed few surprises, but indicates deliberate choices in the use of orpiment (As2S3). Williams’s selective use, and the mineral’s tendency to degrade to colorless and water-soluble arsenic oxides, likely caused the differential deterioration of specific passages of green paint, which exhibit color changes and undermined organic binder susceptible to abrasion. Synchrotron based micro-X-ray absorption near edge spectroscopy (μ-XANES) reveals photodegradation of orpiment at the paint surface to arsenate (As5+) compounds. Just below the surface, arsenic remains bound primarily as arsenite (As3+) compounds, with some still complexed to sulfur as orpiment. In the ground, hotspots of As5+ can be found where humidity transported As5+ in the aqueous phase via capillary action. This paper discusses the results from the extensive technical study of the two Hall brothers’ portraits in light of our concurrent archival and comparative research, as well as the ways in which these findings have informed conservation decisions. The potential for water-induced mobility of orpiment’s oxidized degradation products is of special concern and was a major point in the discussion of the structural treatment of the paintings as part of a Getty Foundation Conserving Canvas masterclass at Winterthur.
Thursday, August 20th: Research * Technical Studies, Collection Care, & Contemporary Art Joint Session (with Tru Vue Meet & Greet)
Addressing a Growing Concern: Preliminary Research Towards an Understanding of Mold on Modern Paints / Kyna Biggs
08/20/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes
08/20/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes Co-authors: Alison Murray and Patricia Smithen Microbial activity is a critical concern within museum and cultural institution collections due to the ability of microorganisms to contribute to many deterioration processes and the limited treatment protocols available. The extent of mold damage and the physical and chemical nature of the affected material can quickly complicate potential conservation treatments. To date, most research performed on microbial activity within cultural heritage focuses on stone, textiles, wood, and other plant-based objects. However, little research has been done to investigate microbial degradation of modern paint films. Due to the limited foundation of prior studies, very little is known about the species of mold that can develop on modern paint films, or the vulnerability of certain paint films to mold infestations based on their chemical composition. Furthermore, modern paints provide a particular challenge for mold cleaning and treatment due to their generally sensitive nature, the risk of material loss and deformation with both wet and dry cleaning methods, and the ability of the mold spores to become deeply embedded within the structure of the paint. In order to improve the understanding of microbial activity as it pertains to modern paint films, appropriate protocols, preferably ones that involve easily accessible materials and techniques, must be developed that allow for reproducible research to be conducted. This study explores the complex microbial ecosystems that can arise with modern paintings and their degradational effects, as well as presents the development of a simple protocol to promote microbial growth on experimental paint samples to be used for further studies. Mold species were identified from the painted surface of a mold-ridden 20th-century oil painting, using DNA extraction and sequencing. Experimental samples of fresh acrylic paint films, in a range of colours, were then inoculated with the isolated mold species and subjected to increasing relative humidity conditions using saturated salt solutions to determine the optimal conditions for microbial growth. The challenges in inducing microbial growth on experimental samples to be used for subsequent research as well as best practices for studying microbial activity will be discussed. The results of this study, combined with additional future efforts, will provide insight into the microbial activity, and related degradation, associated with modern paint materials and will inform future conservation efforts. Keywords: Microorganisms, microbial activity, biodeterioration, modern paint films, DNA analysis, relative humidity, saturated salt solutions.
Scratch That: Conservation Treatment of Abraded Plastic, a Technical Study Towards a Flexible Future: A National Approach to Managing Time-Based Media Art Collections in Australia / Sarah Barack and Sarah Lavin
08/20/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes
08/20/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes Co-authors: Jessica Waltew, Beth Edelstein, and Greg Lastrapes Between 2013 and 2018 SBE Conservation LLC, a Brooklyn based private objects conservation firm, conserved three vacuum-formed reverse painted UVEX (Cellulose Acetate Butyrate or CAB) sculptures by Tom Wesselmann, created in the mid-1960s. These complex, large-scale objects presented a range of condition issues, including that related to fabrication stress, expected plastics degradation, and past restorations. The conservation treatments carried out focused on overall stabilization of the fragile objects, visual reintegration of areas of plastic loss using a fill technique commonly used in glass conservation, surface cleaning and polishing, and replacement of the deteriorated backing. Two other similar reliefs were examined but not treated. This comprehensive project led to further investigation of treatment strategies for degraded plastics and a technical study utilizing samples of discarded, aged CAB as well as recently manufactured “fresh” CAB. As plastics often exhibit scratches, abrasion, and other surface damage as they age and cycle through display and other use, discussion around treatment options typically includes the question of cleaning and/or polishing. This on-going technical study of aged CAB, a collaborative effort involving Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, SBE Conservation LLC, the Cleveland Museum of Art, and Case Western Reserve University, attempts to contribute to this conversation through consideration of a commercial product marketed for plastic/acrylic objects, the NOVUS 7100 Plastic Polish system. This three-part system includes a more aggressive polishing solution (number 3, “heavy scratch remover), a mid-range compound (number 2, “fine scratch remover”), and a polishing solution (number 1, “plastic clean and shine”). Samples of both fresh and aged CAB will be abraded with known grit sizes of Micro Mesh, and then treated with NOVUS solutions 1-3. Optical profilometry and ellipsometry will be used to compare before and after treatment surface texture; these results will be contrasted with Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI). Together, these imaging techniques will be used to consider the effectiveness of the Novus system. Samples will then be aged under controlled conditions and re-examined to assess long-term effects of different polishing techniques and materials, including questions of residues left on sensitive plastic surfaces.
Accessible and State of the Art Pollution Monitoring Systems for Enclosures / David Thickett
08/20/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes
08/20/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes Enclosures are a very valuable approach to individually controlling environments and offer very significant improvements in sustainability. Their major drawback is the concentration of pollution from materials and objects. In both the British Museum and English Heritage all instances of observed corrosion were investigated. Corrosion products were identified, environmental conditions and pollution levels were measured and any materials not previously Oddy tested were tested if possible. In over 1000 instances no gas phase corrosion was observed where materials passed Oddy tests. Several instances of direct contact corrosion and object-sourced corrosion were recorded. The Oddy test has been modified to also include direct contact. A test has been published using paper instead of metals, and evaluating with viscometry. This has now been modified to use the more accessible ATR-FTIR. Additional tests to evaluate materials including silk and archaeological bone have been developed. English Heritage has showcases that date from as early as 1840. Although testing is essential for new cases, measuring pollution levels or corrosion rates is also critical for existing enclosures. Several instances of objects causing corrosion of other objects or components within themselves are documented, meaning even comprehensive materials testing will not eliminate the problem. Research over the past three decades has developed several continuous monitors and dosimeters. Whilst there is no doubt continuous measurement is desirable, such systems are expensive and dosimeters tend to cost less, but give more limited information. The function and utility of coated piezo electric quartz crystals, resistance based metal sensors, tVOC and single gas sensors, glass slide dosimeters and early warning organic dosimeters will be reviewed. Costs are often a critical restriction for many smaller institutions, simple, more accessible methods have been developed. Exposure and colorimetry of Acid/detection (A/D) strips can measure equivalent acetic acid levels. Visual examination of exposed lead and silver coupons should also be used. This combination of rapid and long or very long term monitoring provides tools covering the whole gamut of common needs. Colorimetry can be used with silver coupons to provide quantitative results, if available. This approach deals with the most commonly reported damaging pollutants. The weaknesses of each method will be discussed. The response of A/D strips to formic acid at a range of RH values, and to light has been assessed, as well as response times. A guide chart has been developed to assess A/D strips semi-quantitatively, without a colorimeter. A survey of heritage institutions found a lack of knowledge was another major barrier to pollution monitoring. The EU funded MEMORI project developed a decision support model to guide non-expert users through the measurement, assessment and mitigation process. The basic data has now been expanded to include sulfur gases and silver and the impact of RH on metal corrosion rates, allowing the incorporation of archaeological iron and copper alloys. Improved use of enclosures has dramatically reduced English Heritages carbon footprint. Pollution issues can derail such improvements without adequate measurements and suitable mitigation.
Effect of Long-term Impact of Climate Change and Urban Pollutantson Cultural Heritage Sites and Collections / Peter Brimblecombe
08/20/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes
08/20/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes A changing climate is now widely observed. Within the field of heritage protection, it is seen as important factor, even though it is not always clear how its impact will be revealed. Coastal flooding and increased tropical storms are key cause of concern. Gradual change to climate can also have effects, although a few degree increase in temperature or 10% change in rainfall amount might seem of little relevance to monumental structures. However, small changes can be amplified: ice melts at 0oC, so a very small increase in temperature can cause the loss of an archeological site in permafrost. Small changes in humidity can cycle salts between crystals and brines, so induce salt weathering in porous stone. Biology can also amplify small changes. Insect infestations may be catastrophic after only a slight change in temperature or a new species may suddenly become a threat, while microbial growth on surfaces can be affected by subtle shifts in relative humidity. Air pollution though decreasing in many cities is changing in character resulting in altered pressures on heritage. As historic houses often lack climate control, the changed climate can propagate indoors. Landscape, the context to heritage sites is affected by climate change altering the picture they offer visitors. This presentation will explore with a range of examples of changes under way, the effect on heritage and attempt to project these through the current century.
Monday, August 24th: Sustainability
Cradle to Grave: Sustainable Manufacture, Use, and Disposal of Collections Care Materials in Museums / Justine Wuebold
08/24/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes
08/24/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes Managing material waste requires a customized and collaborative design to control the museum’s ecosystem of buying, using, repurposing, and discarding material. This presentation takes a closer look at commonly used collections care and storage materials to determine their sustainability based on responsible manufacturing, length of transport, durability, and recyclability. The following materials were investigated for their lifecycle sustainability: Green Solvents, Tyvek®, Ethafoam®, Acrylite®, and Plywood. In researching these materials, conclusions were made based on literature review and interviews with industry professionals in manufacture, use and recycle. On a practical level, specific companies were investigated for their sustainable manufacture (DuPont, Evonik, Sealed Air), specific materials were chosen for their use in collections care (Tyvek®, Ethafoam®, Acrylite®), and specific recycling facilities were interviewed regarding their acceptance of museum quality materials (Terracycle and SuperLink Plastics). Surveys performed by Sustainability in Conservation (SiC) and the AIC Materials Working Group (MWG) informed material investigation and provided data about sustainable use in the collections care field. Conclusions and results of this investigation will be presented to paint a better picture of sustainability in our most-used materials. Here are some of the practical issues to be discussed: recycling pre-consumer waste; cost and carbon footprint for shipping material scraps; reuse of materials in storage; excess custom displays and enclosures; non-curbside recycling materials; and hazardous contamination and disposal. On a behavioral level, accountability plays a strong role in how museums choose to focus their efforts toward sustainability. In some cases repurposing can be problematic due to material contamination or enclosure customization needs. Storing scraps for special recycling is a major issue in overcrowded collections departments, and hasty decision-making leads to inappropriate disposal of trash, recycle and hazardous waste. It is necessary to consider how recycle and disposal best-practices can be better encompassed within the Collections Policy, a document that should be accessible and familiar to all employees regardless of their status within the department. This level of accountability requires every professional working in the collections environment to understand proper material disposal. Accountability is most effective in collaborative circumstances, where everyone plays a role in successful environmental initiatives. Special recycling measures involve a monetary cost, which is often the decision of a higher ranking professional within an organization or department. Involving everyone, including important decision-makers, is the only way to make a successful transition toward a more environmentally responsible workplace. This research is intended to lay the groundwork for future Life Cycle Assessments and raise awareness of sustainability issues that exist in collections care. Defining criteria for considering a material sustainable will provide a necessary tool for collections care professionals to help them be more informed about the impact of these materials that are ubiquitous in collections departments. Accountability and collaboration are key elements to building a more sustainable practice as a collections care team. Continuing research will take into consideration the practical and behavioral changes required in the manufacture, use, and disposal of collections care materials.
The Nunalleq Center and Archaeological Site: Community and Cultural Preservation in Southwest Alaska's Rapidly Changing Climate / Frances Lukezic
08/24/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes
08/24/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes In the Yup’ik language, Nunalleq means ‘the Old Village.’ Nunalleq is a pre-contact archaeological site, dating from 1400 to 1670 AD, and is located in Southwest Alaska near the Native village of Quinhagak. Confronted with increasingly violent winter storms and the tundra’s melting permafrost, villagers of Quinhagak noticed that coastal erosion was endangering the site and exposing perfectly preserved organic artifacts. Concerned their cultural heritage was being lost and swept out in to the Bering Sea, Quinhagak’s village corporation of Qanirtuuq Incorporated partnered with archaeologists from the University of Aberdeen and conducted rescue archaeological excavations from 2009 to 2018. The excavations produced over 60,000 artifacts, the largest collection of prehistoric Yup’ik artifacts in the world. All the artifacts remain in the village of Quinhagak, housed in the newly created Nunalleq Culture and Archaeology Center. During the final excavation season of 2018, the Center also served as a conservation lab. In prior years, wet organic artifacts had been shipped to the University of Aberdeen in Scotland for conservation then back to Quinhagak after treatment, at an unsustainable tremendous cost. This paper presents the work undertaken at the Nunalleq Center during the 2018 excavation season, highlighting the adaptations required to conserve wet organic artifacts in a geographically remote location with limited resources and modifying the building to accommodate the archaeological collection, all in an environment affected by climate change. The paper will also discuss the Nunalleq Center’s future as it weathers the rapidly changing climate of Southwest Alaska.
Collaboration and innovation: developing the potential of environmental monitoring data at the National Library of Scotland through industrial and academic partnerships / Julie Bon
08/24/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes
08/24/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes Co-author: Ian Symonds The National Library for Scotland cares for over 30million items held in trust for the people of Scotland. The Library cares for and protects these collections through a rolling programme of interventive conservation in combination with a robust preventive conservation approach ensuring that our collections are stored and displayed in conformity with our environmental parameters. The Collections Care and Estates teams at the Library work closely to ensure that these parameters are maintained. This work has become much more streamlined following the recent introduction of a new front-face to our BMS. The new LEEP (Library Environmental Energy Platform) has redesigned how Library staff can access and analyse data within the BMS. Real-time data for environmental conditions and energy consumption can be accessed via a user-friendly and highly intuitive platform. This open protocol platform has been designed by the Library in conjunction with their industry partner, Craigalan Controls. The innovative and collaborative approach taken on this project has resulted in two recent nominations for national facilities management awards in the UK. This paper will introduce the new platform and demonstrate the benefits that it has brought to the Library in terms of energy consumption reductions as well as facilitating quick and proactive collections care responses to environmental issues that have arisen. The paper will then go on to outline the next steps in this work which involves partnership working between the Library and Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh to undertake research utilising the real-time data that is now available. A research proposal has been submitted which would apply ANN (Artificial Neural Network) modelling techniques to examine environmental fluctuations on a number of Library microclimates. The aim of this research is to establish acceptable fluctuations to allow a relaxation of tight hygrothermal controls and therefore reduce energy consumption to enable the Library to meet, and exceed, national climate change targets. Tight environmental controls in exhibition areas are crucial to ensure that the Library complies with its obligations in loan agreements with lending organisations as well as with Government Indemnity Insurance requirements. The modelling developed will improve exhibition design and planning and will allow the Library to provide lenders with the reassurance that the microclimates in use are protecting the collections. Another outcome of relaxing tight environmental parameters for display when using microclimates will be to allow NLS (and possibly other national organisations) to display collections in smaller libraries, museums and galleries that are currently unable to meet such parameters. This will enable Library collections to reach a much wider audience, which is a key strategic priority for the Library’s new 2020 – 2025 strategy.
Glenstone: A Case Study in Energy Saving Measures in a Modern Museum Building / Samantha Owens and Steven O'Banion
08/24/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes
08/24/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes Glenstone is a museum of modern and contemporary art integrated into nearly 300 acres of rolling pasture and woodland in Montgomery County, Maryland, allowing for a contemplative experience of art and architecture within a natural environment. In 2018, Glenstone opened an expansion that includes a new 204,000-square-foot building called The Pavilions. Designed with Glenstone’s environmental mission in mind, the building features green roofs, controlled natural lighting, and cisterns that collect rainwater. Through precise mechanical manipulation, Glenstone was able to cut energy usage in half over the course of the first year of operation. To achieve this goal, the building management system was configured to provide useful information that highlights inefficiencies at a glance. Temperature and relative humidity are controlled with moving set points that allow for gradual drift in response to seasonal fluctuations in the weather. In coordination with the expansion, Glenstone’s original 30,000-square-foot museum building, termed The Gallery, was upgraded and optimized. The careful attention paid by Glenstone’s staff allows the Museum to maintain environmental conditions that minimize energy consumption while still meeting the needs of the collection.
Tuesday, August 25th: Proactive Digital Methods
Applying a Technology-Driven COMPSTAT Model to Collaborative Collection Protection Strategies for Artworks in the Galleries of the Detroit Institute of Arts / Eric Drewry and John Steele
08/25/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes
08/25/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes In January of 2019, the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) quietly launched a new internal initiative modified from a statistical analysis model used by police departments across the country to combat crime. COMPSTAT – short for “compare statistics” – includes four components: timely and accurate information or intelligence, rapid deployment of resources, effective tactics, and relentless follow-up. The DIA adapted this model not to fight crime, but to understand how and where visitor behavior threatens the collection and to find ways in which the museum can better protect the art on display. For the DIA, the process begins with information gathering from a variety of sources, including object protection systems, security technologies, attendance tracking systems, historical records and data, and anecdotes shared by museum staff. Data from incidents that affect the collection are visualized using heat maps that show their location and frequency. This information is then analyzed and discussed by a cross-departmental team representing multiple disciplines across the museum including staff from Protection Services, Conservation, Collections Management, Registration, Curatorial, Interpretation and Visitor Services. Regular review of COMPSTAT data is now key to informing staffing decisions for front-line employees, physical and technical object protection strategies, and curatorial and interpretive planning efforts. With this model, the DIA has created a near real-time risk assessment tool for its public galleries with truly fascinating and sometimes unanticipated results. It has also allowed for both the rapid deployment of protective measures as well as valuable information for long-term strategic planning. This session will introduce the COMPSTAT model and describe how it has been successfully implemented at the DIA, encouraging institutional collaboration to proactively develop and implement collection protection strategies for artworks in the galleries.
Uses and abuses of eye-tracking techniques in conservation decision making / W. (Bill) Wei
08/25/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes
08/25/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes Co-authors: IJsbrand Hummelen, Oliva Barry, and Katherine Kelley Increasing numbers of objects are entering museums and other collections around the world, and requests for objects for exhibitions or loans are also increasing rapidly. This state of affairs is putting pressure on limited conservation resources, thus exacerbating discussions and debates about what needs to be restored and how. One of the main goals of conservation is to try to return an object to a state in which viewers can see what the maker intended them to see or how the object was intended to be used. Making the necessary conservation decisions and setting priorities is a complex task, often made after much research and discussion on artist’s intent, historical context, originality and previous conservation efforts. However, this begs the question as to what it is the average viewer is “supposed to see”, who decides, and on what basis. In order to better understand current viewer perception as related to conservation decision making, the RCE has begun using so-called eye-tracking techniques to determine how viewers look at an object. Modern eye-tracking equipment uses infrared light to follow eye movements as a subject observes a given object. It produces so-called gaze plots which document what the subject looks at, in what order and how long, and so-called heat maps which document which features of the object the subject focusses on regardless of order. Low-cost eye-trackers which the RCE has used study how subjects look at computer displays of objects. More sophisticated eye-trackers worn as glasses allow subjects to move around the objects they are observing. Due to budget limitations, the RCE has used interviewing techniques to roughly simulate the work of such portable eye trackers. Interviewers ask people to look at objects and say which features they are looking at the moment they do. They are then asked to recall the features that stand out in their minds, simulating the heat map. For three dimensional objects and installations, subjects were anonymously filmed while they interacted with (or not) the objects. Based on the films, plots were made of how they moved around the object, where they stood still, and how long. Initial results confirm earlier RCE perception tests that there are often areas of objects which conservators consider very important, but which are not at all noticed by many viewers. However, this should not imply that conservation priorities should be solely based on what viewers see or perceive. As pointed out by, among others, Baxandall, Jay and Crary, what might not attract the attentions of a viewer today may have been very important at the time the work was made. On the other hand, Maisey, et al. reports the results of eyetracking experiments which show that viewers can fill in a large lacune based on the information around it. Thus, while eye-tracking techniques can be quite useful in “objectively” determining how current visitors interact with objects, care must be taken in the (“subjective”) interpretation of this type of data with considering the historical context in which the object was made.
Taking It All Apart: The Use of 3D Technology and Imaging in the Conservation of a Large-Scale Cambodian Stone Sculpture / Amaris Sturm
08/25/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes
08/25/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes Co-authors: Beth Edelstein and Colleen Snyder General Session Proactive Digital Methods Taking It All Apart: The Use of 3D Technology and Imaging in the Conservation of a Large-Scale Cambodian Stone Sculpture All Programmes Authors Instructors PreSession Authors Locations Presenters Co-Presenter Guest Presenters Submissions Opening General Sessions Pre-session Seminars Workshops Sponsors Exhibitors Organisations Bookmarked Entries Friday, 22 May 3:00 PM - 3:30 PM Title General Session Description General Session Proactive Digital Methods Presenter Amaris Sturm The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, The United States of America Co-Author Amaris Sturm The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, The United States of America Co-Author Beth Edelstein The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, The United States of America Co-Author Colleen Snyder The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, The United States of America A centerpiece of the Southeast Asian permanent collection of the Cleveland Museum of Art (CMA), Krishna Lifting Mount Govardhan depicts a young Krishna, an incarnation of Vishnu, holding up a mountain to protect villagers from a flood brought down by Indra. Now fractured into multiple pieces, this once monolithic sandstone sculpture stood at nearly eight feet tall within a cave temple at Phnom Da, the earliest known sacred hilltop site in Cambodia. The only one of a group of figures from this site housed in a US institution, this monumental sculpture exemplifies the early transition of Hinduism from India to Southeast Asia. Initially treated in 1978 at the CMA, the sculpture and its previous treatment were recently revisited in order to incorporate an original fragment reacquired by the museum. Treatment required four major steps: the deconstruction and removal of restoration materials, treatment of the stone’s surface including stain reduction and stabilization of extensive contour scaling, reconstruction of the fragments using contemporary conservation techniques, and mounting of the sculpture for display. This paper introduces the complex collection history of the sculpture and its conservation, while focusing on the use of digital technology as an essential tool supporting global collaborations, decision-making, and treatment, as well as its use in the final presentation of the object. 3D scanning and photogrammetry were employed throughout the treatment process to document and model both the CMA’s Krishna and additional sculptural fragments from Phnom Da housed at the National Museum of Cambodia. The resulting digital models were used as during treatment documentation, to digitally adjust fragment orientation, to study Cambodian sculptures in collections globally, and to enhance conservation outreach. These digital models were printed both at 1:1 and miniature scale, which was essential for creating treatment mounts and further testing fragment orientation, and as well as for didactic purposes. Additional imaging, including CT scanning and x-radiography, was also employed to better understand the internal structure and stability of the stone fragments. Ultimately, these imaging, modeling, and printing techniques facilitated communication with conservators and scholars in Cambodia: something that was impossible during previous decades. This opportunity for digital sharing and comparison of stone fragments, which reduced the cost of travel for people and artworks and limited handling of the fragile stone surfaces, was essential for the successful treatment of the sculpture. Funded by a Bank of America Art Conservation Project grant, this project brought together an interdisciplinary team of professionals, including conservators, curators, mount makers, structural engineers, materials scientists, and technology specialists, who worked to better understand, treat, and display the sculpture. Through these collaborations, non-traditional tools and specialized equipment were used to support the conservation and curatorial goals. The culmination of this work is a fall 2020 exhibition where Krishna, in his newly realigned form, will be displayed for the first time alongside other sculptures from Phnom Da. Digital technology will continue to be an essential tool in the exhibition, with physical didactics and augmented reality applications being used to tell Krishna’s mythology, history, and conservation.
Thursday, August 27th: Photographic Materials Session 3 (Meet & Greet with Bruker)
The Niepce Heliograph, at the Harry Ransom Center / Diana Diaz and Heather Brown
08/27/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes
08/27/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes In 2002, Harry Ransom Center conservator of photographs Barbara Brown and Getty Conservation Institute (GCI) scientist Shin Maekawa joined forces to create a long-term, anoxic display case for one of the most treasured items in the Ransom Center collection, The Niépce Heliograph. The goal of the project was later expanded to include scientific analysis with GCI, and with The Getty Museum, create the first reproduction of the plate since Helmut Gernsheim’s analog attempts in the mid-twentieth century. The results were successful at providing the Ransom Center with valuable information regarding the materiality of the unique object and documenting the condition of the plate in a sophisticated way. Now, looking back, Google was only six years old in 2002. Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram didn’t exist, the most popular world wide web browser was Internet Explorer, and BlackBerry was the smartest phone commercially available (iPhone was first released in 2007). Human visual literacy has evolved tremendously since then, as technology keeps pushing the boundaries of visual perception. Therefore, cultural institutions have also been pushed to change the ways their collections are digitally accessible. In 2019, this became true for the Ransom Center when curator of photographs Jessica McDonald revisited the historiography of The Niépce Heliograph. With newer monitors and many image requests for publication, it became apparent the need for new digital images of the “earliest photograph produced with the aid of the camera obscura known to survive today”. Ransom Center photograph conservators Diana Díaz-Cañas and Heather Brown began working with the curator to obtain new images, while also seizing the opportunity to review the anoxic case system and study the plate more closely. The goals of the project were to gather more information about the condition and materiality of The Niépce Heliograph through photo-documentation and instrumental analyses, to update the case as needed, and to create a reference manual for the long-term care and maintenance of the plate and case. This collaborative project was a team effort involving many professional staff at the Ransom Center as well as other photograph conservators, conservation scientists, and engineers across the U.S. It fostered beneficial partnerships with institutions such as The Lens Media Lab and the Institute for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage at Yale University, The Menil Collection, The Museum of Fine Arts Houston, The Science Department at the Getty Center Institute, and The High-Resolution X-ray Computed Tomography Facility at The University of Texas at Austin.
Removal of aged filmoplast® P 90 tape from inkjet prints / Saori Kawasumi Lewis
08/27/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes
08/27/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes A line of ilmoplast® tapes by Neschen Coating GmbH, Germany, has been marketed as “self-adhesive repair tapes,” and found their way into book, paper, and photographs conservation laboratories and preservation-forward frame shops. Among the filmoplast products, one of the most commonly seen tapes in conservation laboratories today is filmoplast® P 90 owing to its archival qualities as advertized by the manufacturer. Suggested applications of filmoplast® P 90 include various paper and book repairs, as well as perhaps not-so-recommendable application by photographs conservators, “fixing originals to passé-partouts or rear mounts.” Manufacturer’s advertisement efforts were successful. Conservators have adopted filmoplast® P 90 tape in various applications around art, and, consumers outside of art conservation profession appear to have adopted the tape even more liberally. At The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, MO, a group of oversized inkjet prints were found to be mounted to a backing board using tabs of filmoplast® P 90 tape. These tabs were attached by a framer to prepare the prints for an exhibition in 2012. Since their display, the prints remained framed and stored in room temperature art storage. The tape attachments were located near the sheet edges, where there is no image on recto, therefore there is no risk of the adhesive affecting integrity of the image. The margins, however, is a calculated visual component in final presentation of the image, and a decision was made to attempt removal of the tape to avoid future issues that may arise due to the creep of the tape adhesive. The inkjet prints were executed on Hahnemühle Photo Rag® paper which contains optical brightening agent. In order to soften the adhesive without impacting the paper support or the optical brightener, Evolon® CR, non-woven micro-filament textile was used as poultice medium. Testing on a mockup and the actual artwork proved acetone to be effective for freshly applied tape, but petroleum benzine was needed to remove aged tape without leaving tacky adhesive residue or skinning soft surface of the paper. During the test, it was also found that petroleum benzine did not visibly (when observed with UV-A) move optical brightening dye, while acetone created distinct tideline even with minute contact with the paper. Results of accelerated aging tests of select inkjet paper samples treated with p-benzine poultice is reported. With anticipation of similar treatment challenges with filmoplast® P 90 and P 90 Plus tape removal, this paper will also touch on investigations into the two products’ aging properties, methods of identification and suggested removal protocol.
Deconstructing the creation of Daguerre’s dessins-fumées: a photographic process or just smoke and mirrors? / Sarah Freeman, Nathan Daly, Lynn Lee, Michelle Sullivan, and Karen Hellman
08/27/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes
08/27/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes In the years before the public announcement of the daguerreotype process in 1839, Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre and others experimented with variations on photographic processes. Daguerre wrote a letter in 1827 to future partner Joseph Nicéphore Niépce describing a new process “tending more to perfection than to multiplicity,” used to create a group of objects known as dessins-fumées (or “smoke drawings”). Exacting in style, and miniature in scale, each of these objects depicts one of a limited number of architectural motifs in black media. While compositions are repeated within the small set of known dessins-fumées, variations in superficial details and shading are observed between “copies.” No explicit primary documentation of the creation of these objects exists, and the limited secondary descriptions that do exist do not agree on the materials and methods used. Therefore, a research project was undertaken to ascertain whether Daguerre used photographic processes or more traditional drawing and printing techniques to create his “smoke drawings”. Two of these rare objects, “Fantasies”: Moorish Arch and Courtyard of a Gothic Castle, in the collection of the J. Paul Getty Museum, were studied using a combination of non-invasive analytical methods, including digital microscopy, macro x-ray fluorescence (MA-XRF) scanning, Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), and Raman micro-spectroscopy. The array of black materials used by Daguerre were identified and their potential methods of application assessed by comparison to mockups. The findings of this research will be discussed and how they address the uncertainty surrounding the development of photographic processes by Daguerre and others in the 1820s and 1830s.
Monday, August 31st: Collections Care: Emergency Response Session (with G.C. Laser Systems, Inc.)
Few Resources, Much Creativity: Proactive actions to reduce the impact of major disasters / Juçara Farias, Gilcy Azevedo, Gabriela Lúcio, and Aline Ferreira
08/31/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes
08/31/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes Brazil's Chamber of Deputies has a historical, artistic and cultural heritage comprising about 23,000 linear meters of objects, in which are included rare and current books, historical documents, museum collections, videos and photographs. As most of the South America Institutions, the Chamber of Deputies does not have all fire protection devices being this agent one of our major risks. The Heritage Preservation Services is the area responsible for the preservation of all collections and has been always developing projects aiming to minimize the challenges of preventive conservation in a creative and cost-effective way. The objective is to reduce the impact of a disaster and improve security in the storage areas while the Institution cannot implement an effective measure. In this presentation, we will highlight two practical actions, which were developed by the preservation area technicians in collaboration with the fire brigade: the mapping of storage areas and the development of the Emergency Collections Security Kit (in Portuguese, KESA). The first action covered the elaboration of maps entitled “Location of Collections and Rescue Priorities”. They were developed to provide an easy and fast reading in emergencies situations. With detailed subtitles, colorful design, collection’s type and priority, air conditioning systems, location of combustible materials and KESAs position they provided a clear vision for brigades, firefighters, managers and even untrained people. The maps were plotted and fixed in strategic places of the Chamber of Deputies, enhancing understanding about storage areas and reducing considerably the time of action in case of a disaster. The other action, was the conception of an Emergency Collection Security Kit (KESA), were a set of equipment to assist in collections damage in case of emergencies and disasters were assembled. Depending on the severity of the accident, the KESAs can be used for immediate action while expert support is underway but definitely, they will be helpful during recovery. Twelve identical sets of properly marked yellow containers were strategic placed near the storage areas or strategic points. Each KESA has 27 items, including lockable bags to isolate and store objects, paper towels, flashlights, sandbags, personal protection equipment, and first aid kits, among others. In conclusion, we want to show that wait for the ideal solutions is not the answer. We need to react to the continuous cutting of budget in the preservation area. It is necessary to have ideas and proactive. Before the ideal resolution, there will be short and medium term methods that can reduce the level of risk and its impact on the cultural materials. On top of that, it is essential to build a teamwork in your Institution and this can be achieved by an education program all over the Institution. The preservation area of the Chamber of Deputies believes that resiliency makes you go far, teamwork keeps you strong and creativity allows solution with low cost and efficiency.
AIC Emergency Committee: Are you prepared to respond?
08/31/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes
08/31/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes We are all vulnerable to emergencies. Similarly, we are vulnerable to disasters which are large emergencies that overwhelm our capacity to effectively respond with the resources on hand. Collecting institutions need to consider how to deal with emergencies and disasters, which have the potential to damage or destroy collections. For example, the Emergency Committee has been addressing top issues in the AIC News. Committee members have been looking into what types of disaster preparedness initiatives are being carried out by allied professional organizations, such as the American Library Association (ALA), American Alliance of Museums (AAM), the Society of American Archivists (SAA), etc. and how the AIC may increase awareness of the conservator’s role in emergency planning for these allied partners. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, it has become apparent that we are all in this disaster together. Every cultural heritage institution is working on emergency preparedness, drafting their continuity-of-operations and re-entry plans, and thinking about the health and safety of their collections, staff, and visitors. Moreover, collections care has been brought to the forefront as institutions are considering the safest way to handle objects and actively disinfecting spaces to prevent virus transmission. Numerous webinars addressing these issues feature conservators and collections care specialists discussing how we can protect our staff and visitors from potential transmission.
Construction Fires and Museums / Jeffrey Hirsch
08/31/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes
08/31/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes If the museum building is a tool for preventive conservation, then its maintenance is critical to the safekeeping of cultural heritage. Repair and renewal projects are necessary for the long-term preservation of the building, but the construction process itself introduces risk to the people and objects within the museum. Recent fires at the Museu Nacional in Rio De Janeiro and at Notre-Dame de Paris demonstrate the vulnerability of historic buildings undergoing renovation. What are the most serious threats to building contents during construction, and where can planning help museum professionals mitigate these risks? This oral presentation uses a critical path schedule to present an overview of the construction process. Discussion will identify how risk changes during construction, where work increases the vulnerability of collection material to damage and what measures can be taken early in a project to manage these factors. The presenters will focus on fire protection engineering, referencing published reports about fire incidents and their causes, then connecting this data to challenges unique to museum projects. Budgets and museum professionals’ time should be directed toward mitigating damage based on a risk assessment built upon data from multiple sources within the construction industry.
Tuesday, Sept. 1st: General Session: Public Conservation Labs
Are Conservation Visible Labs Effective? Evaluation of an interactive conservation lab at a science museum/ Rebecca Newberry and Melissa Amundsen
09/01/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes
09/01/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes The Science Museum of Minnesota has a long history of showcasing conservation work in visible labs. The museum strongly emphasizes interactive experiences in all of the exhibits. Staff working in visible labs are expected to interact with visitors. There is a dedicated lab in one gallery which has been used to showcase multiple types of behind the scenes work for the past 20 years. It has numerous windows that open so workers can speak directly to visitors. We began a new project in 2014 by hiring a full time conservation technician to work in the visible lab, preparing objects for We Move and We Stay, an exhibit about the Dakota and Ojibwe in Minnesota. The technician was expected to staff the lab during busy time periods and to interact with visitors. The project also included front end formal evaluation by the museum’s Evaluation and Research Department to gauge visitors’ interest in what they wanted to see in the lab (Spoiler alert, it was dinosaurs.) While there was no summative evaluation of the lab, other subsequent evaluations shed light on visitors’ experiences. This case study will explore the highs and lows of working in the visible lab and how we adapted to better engage visitors. We developed Agents of Deterioration hands-on activities and trained volunteers to present them. We honed our science communication skills and scheduled the most engaging work for the busiest times. We will discuss the challenge of continuing conservation public outreach in the space when the project funding ended. We will also discuss the importance of evaluation for visible lab and recommendations for future evaluation work.
Conservation Behind Glass – Interacting with the Public in a Lab on Permanent Display / Alicia Halligan
09/01/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes
09/01/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes Co-Author: Louise Beck When museum visitors wander to the back of the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation, they might discover two large windows, glowing from the bright work lights inside. The windows are nestled between steam engines and machinery, and they reveal the object conservation lab. The work on display in the lab since 2013 is primarily that of a team tasked with a storage relocation project funded by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. In addition to the hard work of cleaning a myriad of objects from storage, this team faces many challenges in the work they do to expose their project, from communicating the intricacies of conservation to visitors as best as possible in the short timespan they are at the window, to toeing the line in terms of collaborations without creating work for other departments such as IT or programs. The fundamental goals have remained the same: to engage visitors in conservation, with the hope that they learn something new about the field, and to highlight the grant-funded nature of the work. A small visitor exit survey in 2017 revealed that fewer than 5% of visitor could recall information about conservation or IMLS, leading the team members to explore new ways to reach out to in-person visitors. Efforts over the past few years have included: a whiteboard of daily activities, a tablet with a cycling slideshow, and a QR code in the window with links to our blog posts. Specific efforts have been made to engage visitors rather than act as a passive viewing window. A “sneak peek” object has been very successful – a photo of a light-sensitive object is placed in the window, with a caption indicating that visitors should speak up if they’d like to see “the real thing”. The boxed object is then unveiled to excited audiences, with an explanation of the damage that light can do to certain materials and how conservators make efforts to prevent that and other types of damage. Another successful engagement is a “seek and find” game in the slideshow – pictures of parts of objects are included on a few slides, and the visitors are encouraged to look closely at the lab and see if they can find the whole object. The resources required for these interactions varies, but time is almost always the major factor. The weekly slideshow takes more time overall to update than the daily whiteboard did, for example, but has proven easier to schedule and keep up to date. The time spent interacting with visitors also varies, depending on factors from weather to attendance, and there is a balance to be struck between the interruption to the flow of the conservator’s work and the value that visitors receive from the interaction. These day-to-day outreach efforts are punctuated by other types of interaction, both digital and in-person. Digital outreach includes a monthly ‘Facebook Live’ video from the lab, blog posts about the project, and photo posts on other sites, such as Instagram.
Conservation in Action: One Museum’s Experience with Public Conservation Projects Over the Past Two Decades and How That Will Inform Programming in a New Conservation Center / Lydia Vagts and Tanya Uyeda
09/01/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes
09/01/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes Co-authors: Charlotte Ameringer, Linsly Boyer, Andrew Haines, Gordon Hanlon, Abigail Hykin, Evelyn Mayberger, Louise Orsini, Christine Storti, Mei-An Tsu Over the past 20 years the MFA has carried out many conservation projects in full view of the public. These projects began with the conservation of the murals and sculptures by John Singer Sargent in the Rotunda and Colonnade of the original building and the treatment of a monumental Roman floor mosaic. Starting in the early 2000’s the organization of these projects was formalized under the theme of “Conservation in Action.” Since that time approximately 20 such projects have been undertaken, with two currently underway. These projects have crossed disciplines within conservation, and have involved the Paintings, Objects, Furniture and Frames, and Asian Conservation departments, with the participation of the Scientific Research staff as well. The original impetus for these public conservation projects arose from the necessity of finding spaces to work on very large artworks that couldn’t fit into our conservation studios, or else needed to be treated before they could be moved. However, these projects became increasingly popular with the public and were in some cases woven into the exhibition schedule. The MFA has in general two types of public conservation projects: ones behind glass walls where the interface with the public is minimal, and ones where the project takes place in an open-air gallery setting. Each type of project has evolved over time in the ways in which the conservators can share information about the treatment. From simple white boards with daily notes, to more sophisticated PowerPoints scrolling on screens, the MFA’s conservators working behind the glass have tried to engage their viewers with relevant information. For the conservators working in direct contact with the public, they have developed a relationship with the Museum Associates or guides who are actively involved in interpreting the projects for the public. In addition, for each type of project there have been public lectures, tours, and private events with the development staff for various groups of patrons and donors. This paper will involve a discussion of the evolution of the MFA Boston’s public conservation projects, as well as the virtues and pitfalls of working on view. Conservators at the MFA are actively evaluating our public conservation programs, past and present, as we formulate content and programming for our new Conservation Center which is scheduled to open in the spring of 2020. The Conservation Center will feature the MFA’s first permanently visible conservation and collections care studios and will include a publicly accessible lobby space. With this lobby space we have the opportunity to showcase our work in a variety of ways: live, static, and through interactive media. Our aim is to apply the lessons learned from these previous projects to inform our decisions about what types of projects and experiences appeal to the public, and what will keep them coming back to visit the Center over time.
Building Conservation Support by Creating Public Value at the Walters Art Museum/Julie Laftenburger and Terry Drayman-Weisser
09/01/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes
09/01/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes Building Conservation Support by Creating Public Value at the Walters Art Museum In 1999, the Walters Art Museum’s then director of Conservation and Technical Research, Terry Drayman-Weisser, wrote to the Director of the Walters Art Museum asking if “a studio with a window for public viewing is still in the plan?.” This brief handwritten note documents the proactive approach taken by the department in establishing a dedicated public conservation space. The Walters Department of Conservation and Technical Research was established in 1934 with the opening of the public museum, making it one of the oldest museum conservation labs in the United States. For most of that history, conservation reported directly to the museum director, which resulted in a multifaceted role for conservators from the start, including curating exhibitions as early as 1954. This presentation will focus on how our public-facing work has expanded the role of conservation at the Walters, which has evolved into one that is fully integrated into the larger program of the museum. On January 23, 2009, the Conservation window at the Walters was established as a small studio space with an open window where the job of the conservator was to interact directly with the public. For the past 10 years the Conservation window has been continuously staffed Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays to reflect peak visitor hours. Rather than responding to a need for additional space for treatment, the mission of the window was to provide a space where the public could regularly observe conservation treatments in progress. In the initial proposal, the type of object selected for viewing was carefully vetted to meet specific criteria. Over the years, our approach has broadened to emphasize visitor engagement. This includes not only demonstrations of treatment in progress, but discussions highlighting materials and techniques and, with our conservation scientist playing a strong role, presentations on how science intersects with art. Since its opening in 2009, staff conservators, fellows and interns have engaged with over 70,000 visitors to the Conservation window. From its inception, we have tracked meaningful data points including daily number of visitors, engagement in the subject and duration of visit, which has allowed us to customize our hours and offerings based on visitor feedback. Certainly, this 10-year commitment has not been without its challenges of staffing and financial support, and in this presentation, we will share our experiences both challenging and rewarding and how this opportunity to interact with the public directly has become part of the continually evolving role of conservation at the Walters Art Museum. While the mission of the window began with an opportunity for the public to view conservation work in progress, it has expanded in its intention to create additional points of access to our collections through an understanding of the materiality of the collections, which we hope translates to a more sustained connection to the museum and its collections.
Wednesday, September 2nd: Collections Care: Current Standards for Storage Materials
When the Rubber Hits the Road: A Panel Discussion about Current Standards for Plastics as Storage Materials
09/02/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes
09/02/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes Panelists: Paige Schmidt, Molly McGath, PhD, Gina Watkinson, Kate Wight Tyler, Thea Van Oosten, Catherine Stephens Note: This panel will be hosted in Zoom. Given the growing number of concerns and unanswered questions regarding plastics as storage and display materials, conservators faced with the responsibility of assessing, recommending, and approving said materials can feel overwhelmed and underprepared. This panel discussion will bring emerging and seasoned conservators and scientists to a common table to speak openly and candidly about the status quo (or lack thereof) of guidelines for selecting plastics as storage materials, the standards by which we vet plastics, current accepted analytical methods for assessing plastics against these standards, the accessibility of these methods, and the ethical considerations that the field and individual conservators must make when choosing plastics as storage materials. Panelists will present a framework for assessing plastics, in addition to highlighting available resources and how conservation and museum professionals can utilize and contribute to these resources moving forward. After the planned question and answer period, questions and comments will be open to the audience.