2020 AIC Virtual Annual Meeting: July Sessions

Includes a Live Event on 07/13/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)


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Sessions

  • 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.

2020 EXHIBITOR PROFILES

PLATINUM LEVEL

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.

Goppion

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.


DIAMOND LEVEL

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 

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


GOLD LEVEL

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. 

NanoRay

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.


SILVER LEVEL

BMS CAT

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.

SmallCorp

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.


STANDARD LEVEL

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 

Exhibitor Meet & Greet Topic: GCI/Getty Publication
Museum Lighting: A Guide for Conservators and Curators by David Saunders
https://www.getty.edu/conserva...
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.

Spacesaver

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.

Talas

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.

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Thursday, July 2nd: Paintings Session 2 (Meet & Greets: Carestream and Getty Publications/GCI)
Identification and Removal of Disfiguring Zinc Oxalates from the Surface of a Frank Benson Portrait / Christine Gostowski and Gregory Dale Smith
07/02/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes
07/02/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes This research characterized and informed the removal of opaque, white patches on the surface of a 1904 portrait of Laura Bowker Chapman, painted in oil on canvas by American Impressionist Frank W. Benson. The white surface hazes were obfuscating the sitter’s face and lace collar, as well as blue sky, gray clouds, and distant mountains. The painting had no record or evidence of previously being treated. The white exudates were chemically analyzed through collaboration with Dr. Gregory Smith, Conservation Scientist at the Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields. Chemical imaging of a cross-section using Scanning Electron Microscopy-Energy Dispersive X-ray Spectrometry (SEM-EDS) identified zinc oxide. Raman and Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) spectroscopies conducted on a sample scraping of white material indicated an oxalate compound. The unknown sample was identified as zinc oxalate when its spectra were compared against that of a reference sample. Zinc oxalate, an ionic salt, may have formed in a metathesis reaction between oxalate anions, putatively derived from the oxidation of either the oil paint binder or natural resin varnish, and zinc white pigment cations. Although several cases of metal oxalates, most commonly oxalates of calcium, have been analyzed on painted surfaces, zinc oxalates have rarely been found. Metal oxalates have been reported to be insoluble in typical cleaning solutions, and hence, treatment attempts to remove them have had limited results. This quandary has prompted conservators to mask oxalate efflorescence with inpainting, which is less than ideal. After conducting several cleaning tests on the Benson portrait, an aqueous solution proved to be safe and effective at solubilizing zinc oxalate hazes, which were lying beneath the natural resin varnish layer. From this realization, a cleaning system was developed and incorporated into the overall treatment plan. Cleaning dramatically improved the aesthetics of the painting by re-establishing brighter, more saturated colors, more distinctive forms, increased spatial depth, and Impressionistic light effects, so essential to Benson’s paintings. The portrait was framed with glazing, and returned to the owner, where it has been on display since 2013. Maintaining climate control is imperative for retaining its stability. A visual examination in August of 2019 verified that zinc oxalate hazes had not reappeared on the painting’s surface. This study may provide answers to the identification and treatment of zinc oxalate exudates on painted surfaces.
Meet & Greet - Getty's "On Canvas," by Stephen Hackney
Recorded 07/02/2020
Recorded 07/02/2020 Getty Conservation Institute introduces "On Canvas: Preservation of the Structure of Paintings" by Stephen Hackney, who talks about his new book.
Max Beckmann’s Karneval: A Record of Turmoil and Evolving Philosophies / Rita Berg and Joyce Tsai
07/02/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes
07/02/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes The University of Iowa Stanley Museum of Art acquired the monumental triptych Karneval just three years after German artist Max Beckmann executed the work under duress in exile. Early on in its history, it became clear that the painting bares traces of the constraints under which the artist worked. Beckmann reported running out of commercially primed canvas and painting on bedsheets. In fact, the central panel of the triptych was executed on a commercially primed canvas, while side panels were painted on an artist-primed fabric. The University bought the painting in 1946, but the triptych already exhibited condition problems by the 1950s. The painting has undergone numerous interventions that initially responded to condition issues stemming from the inherently problematic materials the artist used. One of these responses included varnishing despite Beckmann’s own preferences. More invasive treatments, aimed to address the ongoing flaking, continued in the following decades. By 1964, painting professor Byron Burford worked to establish a paintings conservation training program at the University of Iowa. He sought advice from Caroline and Sheldon Keck to amass the tools for a modern conservation studio. When the painting was examined at the university, its fragile appearance caused the painting to be described as “capable of destroying itself.” Thus, in keeping with the philosophy and developments of the time to address flaking paint, all three panels were wax lined. Throughout the years the varnish was partially removed, and flaking was repeatedly consolidated. In 2018, the Midwest Art Conservation Center (MACC) and the Stanley Museum of Art embarked on an in-depth examination to fully identify the painting’s reoccurring problems. Research on Beckmann’s paintings in exile often suggests that the artist used poor quality paints, specifically for black hues. To help characterize materials used, the three panels of the triptych were examined using X-Ray Fluorescence Spectroscopy (XRF) and Fourier-Transform Infrared Radiography (FTIR). Examination also revealed extensive compositional changes. To better understand the artist’s revisions, the paintings were photo-documented using various techniques including Infrared Reflectography (IRR) and Transmitted Infrared Photography (IRT). This research provides a more comprehensive understanding of Beckmann’s changing techniques and working methods in relation to the world events of his time. It places him within the broader context of artists working in war-time environments and illustrates the drive of creativity during the most trying of circumstances. These factors contributed adversely to Beckmann’s choices and options in his materials and technique in terms of the long-term preservation of his work. However, the painting offers a palimpsest that captures evolving conservation philosophies, enacted upon a painting that held deep significance for the public university that acquired it. The history of treatment and care contributed to complex problems evident in the current state and condition of the triptych. The most recent treatment sought to use this knowledge of the painting’s history to provide a sympathetic resolution to its condition issues while regaining Beckmann’s original vision of the work.
Nanogels: An Investigation into Nanotechnologies for the Cleaning of a Painting by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner / Caroline Hoover and Laura Maccarelli
07/02/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes
07/02/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes There is no better exponent of German Expressionism than Ernst Ludwig Kirchner. A founding member of Die Brücke formed in Dresden in 1905, Kirchner’s paintings are composed of flat, bold colors. The surfaces feature evident brushstrokes and textures that illuminate the painting process in addition to an overall surface quality that could be matte, dry and unvarnished. Such was the painting, “Still Life with Jug and African Bowl” from 1912, given to LACMA in 2003, before it was varnished in more recent times, a fate of many paintings of this type. In preparation for the reinstallation of LACMA’s galleries for modern art, this painting was examined by Paintings Conservation for cleaning. Analyses such as Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) were performed in order to determine the composition of the paint, the surface dirt and grime, as well as the coating across the surface of the work. It was determined that the coating was likely a water dispersed polyurethane, an unusual coating to find on a painting since it is typically used as a coating for wood. No evidence of earlier varnishes was discovered. While this type of painting with its dry, underbound paints, originally left unvarnished, presents numerous problems for cleaning of any kind, a variety of traditional techniques were tested to reduce the modern coating. For example, free organic solvents rolled over the surface with a cotton swab and an isopropanol CarbopolⓇ gel were problematic. The painting technique coupled with the unusual coating, required a new approach for safely reducing this varnish to reveal the original surface. The application of Peggy 6 from Nanorestore GelⓇ, an innovative technology based on a nanostructure matrix of poly (vinyl) alcohol, was found to be the most successful technique to reduce the coating while preserving the surface quality of the painting. The treatment of this modernist painting offers a preliminary study into novel techniques and solutions for solving the complex challenges that are so often associated with modern and contemporary artworks.
Tuesday, July 7th: Objects Session 2 - Exhibitor Meet and Greet with Zarbeco
Her Majesty’s Portable Museum; A 19th Century box of specimens from the animal, mineral, and vegetable worlds / Tom Braun
07/07/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes
07/07/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes This talk will discuss the treatment of a late 19th century wooden cabinet (a bit bigger than a breadbox), containing approximately 300 specimens from the animal, mineral, and plant worlds, in addition to examples of refined products made from these raw materials. Cabinets such as this were created by Thomas E. Dexter and were part of a royal mission intended to educate military orphans in Britain, and to help them find professions that could sustain them as adults. Specifically Dexter’s efforts were directed at the Royal Military Asylum, which at that time, was located in Chelsea, England. Each cabinet was accompanied by several books, also authored by Dexter, which explained the contents of the cabinet as to its place of origin, the manner in which the raw materials were harvested, prepared, refined, and finally manufactured into finished products. Often examples of intermediate stages of the refining process are also present, in addition to the examples of finished products. The cabinet has particular emphasis on the textile industry which was very strong at the time in Britain, but there are also many other specimens related to most other major industries of the 19th century, including farming, ranching, forestry, and mining. The cabinet also emphasizes the breadth of the British colonial system, with many examples of rare and unusual materials only available at the time in faraway lands, and many samples such as these are no longer used commercially. Treatment of this cabinet involved mainly identifying and organizing the samples, which by the nature with which this cabinet had been used, were highly disorganized. Many samples had to be analyzed before they could be properly re-organized. Many samples as originally labelled were not familiar today, and had to be identified via historical research; for example the reference to mined graphite as “plumbago”. Proper labelling of the samples and the sample trays also became an important part of the treatment, to help prevent the samples from getting disorganized again. Some samples such as lead and mercury had toxicity issues that needed to be addressed. Many of the samples will be familiar to conservators as those used to make art and artifacts of many kinds.
Respecting the Service / Respecting the Surface: Treatment of the copper alloy USS Utah ship’s bell and the development of treatment procedures for historic metal surfaces in the Naval History and Heritage Command Conservation Branch / Karl Knauer
07/07/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes
07/07/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes Co-Authors: David Krop, Melissa Swanson, Yoonjo Lee, Abigail Preston Naval History and Heritage Command (NHHC) conservators have been developing methodical, proactive procedures for approaching the treatment of ships’ bells in response to frequent requests for display. Borrowers include Navy museums and facilities as well as a wide range of civilian institutions around the globe. The Navy’s collections include over 1500 ship’s bells and bell-related objects. Bells are symbolically important artifacts often used to convey the histories of ships, their service members, and significant battles. These bells are typically cast copper alloys; others are iron alloys, have nickel or chrome plating, or have painted surfaces. The range of unpainted metal surfaces observed on these bells includes highly polished surfaces, applied patinas, patinas of age, uneven areas of corrosion, and extensive overall corrosion. The treatment of the USS Utah ship’s bell represents a case study in developing and utilizing an adaptive treatment protocol. The 775-pound copper alloy bell was recovered from the submerged hull of a US Navy battleship sunk during the attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941. After recovery, the bell was likely on open display for sixty years. Unfortunately, scant records convey the post-salvage life of this object. When transferred to NHHC’s Conservation Branch in 2017, the bell suffered from tenacious corrosion products and excessive yet inadequate mounting hardware. Treatment necessitated resourceful, creative approaches to achieve stabilization including an aesthetically integrated surface and appropriate lifting hardware. This conservation treatment prepared the bell for a rededication ceremony at the University of Utah honoring the 76th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack. The Conservation Branch’s evolving perspectives on metal surface treatments as well as practical limitations were influential in equipment acquisition and setting up workspaces for the official debut of the conservation laboratory. Potentially novel treatments include the use of zinc oxide as a polishing compound and potato starch micro-abrasive blasting for the selective removal of corrosion products.
Poultice Desalination Using Buffered Rigid Gel with Ion Exchange Resin / Jessica Abel and Brittany Dinneen
07/07/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes
07/07/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes Co-Author: Renee A. Stein This paper presents an innovative method to remove soluble salts from extremely fragile materials, using a buffered agarose gel mixed with an ion exchange resin. Many highly unstable objects that are actively crumbling and/or spalling cannot withstand desalination by repeated immersion in water baths. Alternative poultice treatments can be slower, more difficult to monitor, and less effective at removing soluble salts. Historically, objects too fragile to undergo desalination have been stored in climate-controlled enclosures, which can be difficult to maintain and often prevent examination or display. Conservators at the Carlos Museum of Emory University were faced with the challenge of stabilizing a 4-inch tall slip-decorated, ceramic vessel (4600-3600 BC) and a 4-foot tall limestone funerary stela from the Egyptian New Kingdom (1292-1191 BC). As the earliest example of Levantine decorated pottery in the Near East collection and one of the few large, relatively intact reliefs in the Egyptian collection, these objects were slated for display in the permanent galleries. Both objects exhibited salt efflorescence, along with crumbling and spalling surfaces; neither was stable enough to undergo desalination by immersion. Microchemical tests, X-ray diffraction, X-ray fluorescence, and thin-section analysis determined the presence of chlorides, nitrates, sulfates, and phosphates confirming that the extreme deterioration exhibited by these objects was the result of salt movement within the low-fired ceramic and marly limestone. Experiments to extract soluble salts were conducted with a wet poultice comprised of buffered agarose gel mixed with an ion exchange resin. Preliminary testing on mock-up ceramic and stone tiles aided materials selection and method development. This testing will be discussed along with the two case studies. Challenges encountered and overcome during these treatments included mixing large batches of gel, covering expansive and complex surfaces, maintaining a wet system, preventing mold growth, and monitoring desalination progress. Observations and practical solutions will be presented, offering lessons that can be utilized in the future investigation and application of this method. Ultimately, soluble salts were reduced, increasing the stability and resilience of these highly fragile objects, thus allowing them to be made accessible for public appreciation through display.
Wednesday, July 8th: Electronic Media Session 3 - Digital Preservation/Storage
A Cross-Departmental Collaboration to Improve Digital Storage at The Metropolitan Museum of Art / Alexandra Nichols & Milo Thiesen
07/08/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes
07/08/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes Co-author: Milo Thiesen The issue of digital storage is one that many museums, archives, and libraries are currently grappling with. The authors researched a variety of digital storage options to improve practices at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. This study was commenced in part due to a file corruption incident, and the recovery from it. In 2017, staff members at The Metropolitan Museum of Art noticed that some of the digital video files stored on their servers, including artwork files, had become corrupted and could no longer be opened or played. This led to a cross-departmental investigation between members of The Met’s Digital, Information Systems & Technology, and Photograph Conservation departments to determine the extent of damage and identify its cause. The corruption had been caused by an unusual bug that manifests when three different programs are used in combination with each other. Over a period of nine months, staff and a Fellow in the Museum’s Photograph Conservation and Digital Departments worked to restore the corrupted files. The museum was extremely lucky that none of the affected files experienced irreparable damage. File redundancy and regular fixity checks are essential for monitoring and maintaining the authenticity of digital files. However, implementing these preservation actions is easier said than done, particularly with institutions with large numbers of files and files of large sizes in their collections. This file corruption incident sparked cross-departmental collaboration as means to implement these functions not only for the artworks in the collection, but for non-art digital assets across the Museum. The authors interviewed colleagues in a number of other cultural institutions to learn more about digital storage policies and solutions currently in place. The authors identified three digital storage software vendors who could provide assistance and perform digital storage functions at The Met, and participated in demonstrations from representatives of each software product. The authors factored in the existing organization and culture of The Met in making their final recommendations. At the moment, these digital storage practices are being tested on a trial basis for the time-based media artwork collection, with the intention that if they are successful, they can be expanded to include The Met’s other high-value digital assets. This paper would fit well with the conference theme of Conservation: Reactive and Proactive, as it describes how one museum addressed deficiencies in their digital storage infrastructure and practices and contributes to the evolving area of preventive conservation in the care of contemporary artworks. The hope is that this experience will help other museum administrators, conservators, archivists, and IT professionals who are concerned with the storage of digital files.
Building a Storage System for Digital Art Objects at MoMA: The First Decade / Amy Brost
07/08/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes
07/08/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes Ten years ago, in their 2009 AIC talk “A Case for Digital Conservation Repositories,” Barbra Mack and Glenn Wharton outlined an approach to documentation and information management for time-based media artworks. Their model aimed to comprehensively organize the characteristics and dependencies of these works in a component-based, non-hierarchical repository ecosystem. Wharton, then time-based media conservator at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, was leading research and development of what would become the museum’s Digital Repository for Museum Collections (DRMC). This paper provides an overview of the 10 years since, including the workflows and technologies employed, and the growing pains during implementation. For collections of digital art objects, this project demonstrates the value of taking the approach that Mack and Wharton outlined, which is technology agnostic but in practice involves understanding and embedding the status of components according to artist-defined values, implementing cataloguing policies, arranging and describing artworks at the component level, exposing technical metadata, and defining relationships between components. What comes to the fore in this history is not the story of technical challenges alone, but also the more holistic story of how the Conservation Department at MoMA ultimately spearheaded the development of a team comprised of colleagues from across the museum to collaborate on the ongoing development of the DRMC. In this way, dialogues with the museum’s leaders and specialists in IT infrastructure, applications and database administration, as well as TMS, DAM and Archives, led to practical, sustainable solutions that will involve and benefit stakeholders in the care of digital material across the museum.
Developing the Digital Preservation Handbook for Video Games and Digital Archives at The Strong Strong National Museum of Play / Hillary Ellis
07/08/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes
07/08/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes Co-author: Julia Novakovic Since 2016, the Strong has implemented major digitization policies to preserve the history of electronic games. Our archive collections include the personal and business papers of key individuals and companies in the electronic game industry, which includes a large amount of digital media. The collection of the International Center for the History of Electronic Games (ICHEG) comprises 60,000 items and growing. Beyond game hardware and software, we collect the platforms on which they are played, original packaging and advertising, related press and publications, game-inspired consumer merchandise, and other items that illustrate the impact of electronic games on people’s lives. There are practical challenges to short-term and long-term preservation planning in this context. Not all formats and carrier media in the collection have established preservation practices in the museum and library professional community. Many existing methods and technologies for preserving video games originate from game collectors and players rather than the conservation community.The subject of our current study explores how we have adapted multimodal techniques and video game community-supported digital transfer methods in video game preservation at the Strong. In 2016, the museum’s digitization working group performed major condition assessment surveys of digital and audio-visual media and wrote the preservation policy for the video game collection. Additionally, we established a digital asset management plan for the museum, devising the RAVE standard (Rare, At-Risk, Valuable, and Engaging) to prioritize collections items for digitization or migration. For example, these condition surveys informed two pilot projects in digitization and transfer of floppy disks and U-matic tapes ⁠— the formats identified as most at-risk⁠. This continued prioritization assists in organizing a sustainable approach to digital projects that centers staff resources and our mid-sized institution’s data budget. This year, the creation of a Digital Preservation Handbook aims to establish institution-wide guidelines for each type of digital and audio-visual media. As part of the museum’s strategic plan, the Digital Preservation Handbook identifies and documents preservation approaches and decision-making models for video games, archival materials, and collections objects that have a digital component. Produced by the digital preservation team, the collaborative document draws from the expertise of the museum’s archivist, digital curator, collections manager, and conservators. In the past two years, the digital games curator has performed condition surveys that examine playability and capture data from two hundred randomly selected games each year. The archives have implemented a similar condition survey to identify endangered media formats in existing collection materials. In drafting the preservation handbook, the team members tested creative problem-solving methods for each carrier media and digital format to develop case studies with documented preservation actions. As an internal document, the Digital Preservation Handbook communicates to staff the methodology and rationale for digitization actions. An external brief summarizes the work as a document that can disseminate the Strong’s capacity for digitization to donors and fellow institutions. For our collective preservation efforts, this document improves our ability to continue to collect and preserve video games, digital games, and born-digital archives.
Thursday, July 9th: Public Conservation Labs: Reactive or Proactive (Meet & Greet with SmallCorp and Barnett Technical Services, LLC)
The Art Doctor is In: How the Lunder Conservation Center Broke the 4th Wall / Laura Hoffman and Amber Kerr
07/09/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes
07/09/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes Since opening in 2006, the Lunder Conservation Center has taken a proactive approach to public engagement. As the first conservation facility in a U.S. art museum to be fully visible to the public, the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s commitment to conservation-related education and public outreach has received world-wide recognition, including receiving the 2008 Keck Award. The center’s mission is to engage the public about conservation through public programs, demonstrations of conservation work, interpretive materials, and digital outreach. To effectively support this mission, the center created a program coordinator position to serve as a collaborator between conservators and other museum departments, such as Education, Public Programs, and Visitor Services, as well as to serve as an educator for our museum visitors. In addition to the public engagement initiatives, the center sets out to inspire new generations of cultural heritage professionals through training and professional development opportunities that expand beyond their traditional practical training skills to include the public engagement experience. The presentation will begin with a brief historical background and the incentive for building a fully visible lab, detailing the realities of going public and the reactions from the conservation world at the time. It will then focus on the Lunder Conservation Center’s evolution and development since opening fourteen years ago—addressing the evolution and growing pains and asking reflective questions: how can we both be proactive in keeping the lab content and interpretation fresh and relevant as well as be reactive to visitor and staff needs today? How do we define success? How do we fit into the institution’s overall goals and strategic plan? Additionally, our discussion will cover the prevalence of social media and online outreach. Digital engagement has made conservation more in the public eye than ever before, and we will examine its impact. Lastly, this session will provide an overview of the center’s strategic planning and new programming initiatives to enrich our visible labs, expand our public outreach, and engage our visitors through the conservation and preservation of cultural heritage.
Surviving the Seven-year Itch: Reflections from Conservators on Display at the Penn Museum / Lynn Grant and Molly Gleeson
07/09/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes
07/09/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes In 2011, the Penn Museum’s Development Department brought an idea to the Head of Conservation: expand the conservation lab space by putting a second lab in a gallery, on full public view. Funding was secured for two years with the possibility of continued support as funds allowed. Head Conservator Lynn Grant immediately set to work with the Museum’s Exhibition Department to ensure that this new public work space would be functional for conservation and engaging for visitors. A critical component of the planning process was the content of the November 2011 conference “Playing to the Galleries and Engaging New Audiences: The Public Face of Conservation” that took place in Williamsburg, Virginia. “In the Artifact Lab: Conserving Egyptian Mummies” opened in September 2012: an immediate hit with the public, the Museum, and University of Pennsylvania staff. The enthusiasm by these audiences has not waned. Over the last seven years, the Artifact Lab has been staffed year-round, six days a week; resulted in speaking to over 30,000 visitors and with the media on more than 20 separate occasions; hosted and created programming for over 500 summer campers; and - through the Artifact Lab blog - reunited family members and affected conservation treatments and curatorial interpretation of collection artifacts. The Artifact Lab has been deemed a resounding success by the Museum’s Executive Team, and in fact, it seems as if the Museum would be happy to have the Artifact Lab as a permanent fixture. The Conservation Department has felt greatly rewarded by the public interaction and increased profile within the Museum but simultaneously challenged by the ongoing demands. This presentation will focus on reflecting on the logistics and lessons learned, on what the Conservation Department sees as an ideal sustainable future for such a project, and how they are advocating for their position.
Conservation on Permanent Display: The W. Brooks and Wanda Y. Fortune History Lab at the Indiana Historical Society / Stephanie Gowler, Ramona Duncan-Huse, and Kathy Lechuga
07/09/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes
07/09/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes Conservation moved permanently into the public eye at the Indiana Historical Society in 2013 with the opening of the W. Brooks and Wanda Y. Fortune History Lab, a 1,000 sq. ft. interactive gallery and classroom designed to convey the importance of cultural heritage preservation. With a 25’ window into the adjacent IHS conservation lab, visitors to the History Lab get a behind-the-scenes look at the daily work of professional conservators and IHS conservation staff play a visible role in the story of Indiana’s history. This presentation will offer a virtual tour of the History Lab; describe its development from initial prototype to current iteration; highlight the impacts, successes, and challenges of a permanent preservation-themed exhibit; and discuss ongoing collaboration between conservators, exhibit designers, and educators to sustain and update the space in response to visitor feedback and museum education trends. The History Lab was developed by IHS conservators in close collaboration with staff in Exhibits and the Education and Community Engagement department. An initial protype was installed in 2009 and the development team was proactive in soliciting feedback via focus groups and testing by local Museum Studies students. Extensive brainstorming meetings and breakout sessions between conservators, exhibit designers, and museum educators resulted in language and visuals that convey the why, what, and how of conservation. The exhibit is centered around 4 tenets – Identify, Examine, Treat, Store – and all components of the History Lab relate back to one or more of these tenets. Highlights of the space include: digital microscopes visitors can use to closely examine paper-based (non-collection) objects; a rotating display of IHS collection materials which have received conservation treatment, with treatment description and documentation photographs; “The Unfortunate Mr. Foster,” an interactive touch-screen exploration of damage commonly seen on 19th c. lithographs; videos, wall graphics, and 3-dimensional objects illustrating the materials and processes used to create cultural heritage objects; and a hands-on paper mending activity. The History Lab is staffed by facilitators who receive training from IHS conservators. Facilitators are always available in the gallery to answer questions and interpret complex concepts for visitors; they also instruct visitors in the paper mending activity. Use of facilitators allows conservation staff to go about their regular workflows uninterrupted. Communication between conservators and facilitators about current projects in the lab, as well as the use of abbreviated reports for treatments located on benches near the windows, means that visitors can see and understand what it is happening in the lab even when conservation staff are working elsewhere.
Friday, July 10th: Photographic Materials Group Business Meeting
AIC Photographic Materials Group Business Meeting
07/10/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes
07/10/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes AIC's Photographic Materials Group (PMG) is holding its annual member business meeting, open to all PMG members. Select the button to the right to register for the meeting and to join on the day of the meeting.
Monday, July 13th: Book and Paper Session 3 (Meet & Greet with Bruker)
The Gentling Collection: Establishing a Treatment Protocol for Multi-Layered Works on Transparent Paper / Diane Knauf and Jodie Utter
07/13/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes
07/13/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes The Amon Carter Museum of American Art acquired a large collection of works by twin brothers, Stewart and Scott Gentling. The Gentlings were local Fort Worth artists known for their figurative paintings, portraitures, and their seminal book Of Birds and Texas, an elephant folio of 50 prints based on their original watercolors. The acquisition allowed for the establishment of the museum’s new Gentling Study Center and consisted of over 650 works on paper, a substantial number of personal documents, sketch books, manuscripts, costumes, model ships, and plaster casts. Many of the works on paper were sketches for finished watercolor paintings, documenting the artists’ process. Included were complex multi-layered pieces, comprised of numerous individual drawings on transparent paper taped onto a support to form the desired composition. The final artwork was then created by transferring a tracing of the composition to the watercolor paper prior to painting. Many of the multi-layered works were preliminary pieces for the watercolors in the Of Birds and Texas book. The condition of the multi-layered works included heavy layers of surface dirt, planer distortions, brittleness, discoloration, stains, oxidized tapes, and tears. Their structure and the presence of transparent paper made the treatment of these complex pieces far from straight forward. A treatment protocol was needed that addressed the condition, preserved the structure and appearance, prevented further deterioration, and considered the works as archive items that documented the artists’ process. Since transparent paper allows for repairs on the verso to be seen from the recto, can be highly reactive to moisture, and can lose transparency with solvents, treatment with traditional conservation methods and materials was inappropriate for these complex works. Tests on transparent paper samples were performed prior to the treatment of the objects. The tests used both traditional and new methods and materials to determine what treatments would be best suited for these multi-layered works. Various adhesives and repair papers, including highly transparent nanocellulose sheets, were tested to find the most suitable translucent repair method. Agarose and gellan gum gels were tested in combination with solvents and conductivity adjusted water for potential use on stain and tape removal. Methods of preserving the carrier of the oxidized tape or replicating the tape present were also explored. This presentation will summarize the results of the tests and detail how those results were used during the development of the treatment protocol for the Gentling Collection. It will also examine the complexities of creating a treatment protocol aimed at preventing further deterioration while maintaining the structure and appearance of these multi-layered, preparatory sketches on transparent paper.
Shiny, Lined, and Brown: Building Conservation Context for Harry Jander’s Document Restorations / Sarah Norris and Kathryn Boodle
07/13/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes
07/13/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes During six years in the 1940s and 1950s, a document restorer named Harry Jander used a self-devised method to treat approximately 200 maps and many more paper records at the Texas General Land Office. The treatment consisted of coating paper with a mysterious, homemade varnish and adhering a lining of nylon mesh. Treated items are distinguished by their shiny surface and medicinal odor, as well as by Jander’s hallmarks of signing his work and trimming the lining with zig-zag pinking shears. Historical accounts described the results as “tough as leather” and “destruction-proof;” today, these treatments have become brittle and strongly discolored. Archivists exploring Jander’s background unearthed a handwritten recipe for his closely-guarded treatment cocktail. This offered tantalizing clues for conservation research. What were the treatment’s goals? Was the recipe accurate and complete? Working from the recipe and from remaining treatment examples, this investigation establishes historical and chemical context for Jander’s method. Historical touchstones build a frame of reference for Jander’s work within 19th- and 20th-century restoration and conservation practices. Connections are assessed between Jander’s treatment and overarching treatment concerns of the era: mending and protecting paper, imparting flexibility, and repelling pests. Commonalities are sought with contemporaneous treatment practices, such as lining, consolidation, and lamination. This work enhances what is known of Jander’s biography to create a fuller assessment of his place in the field. Jander’s recipe is further assessed with an eye toward its chemistry. The discovered recipe has no mixing instructions; therefore, specific ingredients and the resultant solution are carefully considered. Special focus is given to unusual components like camphor and carbolic acid. Chemical investigation also describes ingredients that may be missing from the discovered recipe. These findings are complemented by informal observations of a modern-day test batch of Jander’s recipe applied to varied paper samples.
Indian Oleographs: Technical Analysis and Modern Treatment Methods / Emily Müller
07/13/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes
07/13/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes The Metropolitan Museum of Art acquired a significant group of chromolithographic prints dating between 1878 and 1930. Mass-produced in India during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, these Hindu devotional chromolithographs, also called Oleographs, based on their varnished painting-like appearance, represent an important aspect of the country’s historical and religious development. In preparation for an upcoming exhibition, they underwent scientific and technical study that included the characterization (and analytical examination via multispectral imaging, XRF, Raman-spectroscopy and cross-sectioning) of constituents such as papers, coatings, printing inks and varnishes, that places the production of Indian chromolithographs within the global context of experimentation in printmaking. One aspect of the research focused on the use of multispectral imaging to identify different printing processes and establish patterns that could lead to the attribution of some of these prints to specific studios. Varnish applications were analyzed as a comparative factor to distinguish between early twentieth century Ravi Varma printing studios in India, such as Press Karla, F.A.L. Press Bombay, and Press Malavi Lonavla. The second part of the study focuses on the conservation of the prints. Insect damage in the form of multiple losses and skinned paper represents a frequent phenomenon in collections housed in South Asia. Using the conservation of this print collection as case studies, modern treatment techniques, such as a laser- and (crafting) cutting machines are tested to adjust infills in an appropriate and efficient way. Furthermore an overview on historical repairs of the collection’s chromolithographs is given and the question of ethical recognition of historic treatments and aesthetical expectations is discussed.
Monday, July 13th: Book and Paper & Photographic Materials Tips Session
The Read Muraqqa‘ Leaves - Disbound Persian and Indian Album Leaves at the Morgan Library & Museum / Bonnie Hearn
07/13/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes
07/13/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes The Morgan Library & Museum holds a collection of 57 Persian and Indian leaves acquired by J. Pierpont Morgan from Charles Hercules Read in 1911. The Read album leaves are mostly double-sided, depicting miniature paintings and calligraphy that date between the early 16th century to late 19th century and have been divided into two groups, one ‘Persian’ leaves (M.386.1-21) and the second ‘Indian’ leaves (M.458.1-36). Most of these single leaves were once bound in muraqqa‘s (albums), and likely would have been presented in paired openings, two miniature paintings followed by two calligraphies, characteristically surrounded by decorative rulings and borders. Muraqqa‘ is a Persian word meaning ‘patched’ or ‘patchwork’ and adequately describes the nature of both the construction and use of these albums. Muraqqa‘ leaves are pieced together physically with many layers of paper and albums often include paintings and calligraphy spanning many years, decades and even centuries apart. Persian albums appear from the early 15th century in Timurid Herat and developed further during the 16th century in Safavid courts, spreading from Iran to India, Central Asia and Turkey. Created in workshops and commissioned by emperors and courts, these albums were luxury objects detailing events, history and rulers of the time. They were used for intimate viewings, treasured and passed down within royal families and reformatted as ownership changed. By the late 16th century albums were created and used for a wider audience and were no longer exclusive to royal courts. Album pages were created to easily separate for the purpose of reformatting, reassembling, and adding more leaves. This inherent trait was eventually exploited in the 19th and 20th centuries by dealers that had albums disbound and leaves split to increase profit. This has led to dispersed muraqqa‘ throughout museums and collections around the world, consequently making the study and attribution of single leaves challenging. Few of the Read album leaves have been split and although the leaves came into the Morgan collection disbound, many have the remnants of cloth hinges indicating past codex and accordion style album bindings. Since acquisition, the leaves have been used and handled variably in relation to conservation, exhibition, research, travel, and loan. Although all 57 leaves are currently housed in archival overthrow storage mats stored inside solander boxes, the different uses for each leaf are apparent according to housing materials and function. As the housing of the Read album leaves vary depending on past use, the condition of these leaves follow accordingly. For example, leaves recently exhibited have undergone recent conservation treatment while those that have not been on display for many years, if ever, have not undergone thorough conservation examination in recent times. This presentation will detail the condition and housing survey undertaken to identify conservation concerns of the collection, a study of the materials and techniques used in creation, as well as conservation treatment of the Read muraqqa‘ leaves at the Morgan Library & Museum.
Book and Paper & Photographic Materials Tips Session
07/13/2020 at 4:00 PM (EDT)   |  90 minutes
07/13/2020 at 4:00 PM (EDT)   |  90 minutes Please join the Book and Paper and Photographic Materials Groups for a joint tips session on Zoom featuring fourteen speakers delivering fifteen tips to promote learning across our specialties and spark ideas. Speakers will share their tips, followed by a Q&A session for all speakers. Join us with a refreshment of your choice for this lively, informal, and fun event! Participating speakers include: Madison Brockman - Agarose Stain Stick / Jan Burandt - SMILE / Nora Dempsey - Mount Press to Book Truck / Tessa Gadomski Depersio - Penn Librarian Teaching Institute / Kimberly Hoffman - Using Plasti Dip to Seal Lead Weights / Leah Humenuck - Mobile Photography / Seth Irwin - Mobile Bases / Amanda Maloney - Semi-permeable fabrics / Debora Mayer - Housing System for Double-Sided Manuscripts, and, Caution on Use of Water Pens with Ethanol / Laura Panadero - Mount Design / Oa Sjoblom - Couched Laminate Fills / Elsa Thyss - Rehousing the Bellocq Negatives / Brianna Warren - LED Exam Lights / Roger Williams - Adaptable Book Support
Tuesday, July 14th: Book and Paper Session 4 (Meet & Greet with Zarbeco LLC and Foster + Freeman)
PAPER – It’s More Than That: A Syntax for Excruciatingly Thorough Descriptions / Jan Burandt
07/14/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes
07/14/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes Drawings and prints tell a graphic story that is – in a visual sense – deeply dependent on the substrate on which they lie. Artists engaging with paper must choose from an astonishing array of substrates. Paper displays profound diversity of character resulting from the variances of fiber, formation, texture, thickness and many other attributes. A one-word description of paper will suffice for most public-facing medium descriptions – but without nuance. With conservation controlling the content of an “extended medium” field in the Menil Collection’s database, an expanded standardized style guide for thorough physical characterization of paper was developed. A lengthy list of characteristics is brought together in a syntax that reads as a descriptive meditation on paper. This extended support description resides in the extended medium field in the Menil Collection TMS database in conjunction with medium descriptions following the Menil Collection’s adaptation of the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s Descriptive Terminology for Works of Art on Paper: Guidelines for the Accurate and Consistent Description of the Materials and Techniques of Drawings, Prints, and Collages. The Print Council of America Paper Sample Book: A Practical Guide to the Description of Paper also serves as a reference. Using these standardized guidelines together during examination of drawings assures both a thorough and consistent exploration of paper. The resulting description allows readers to build a richly nuanced vision of paper and medium through text alone.
Handle with Care: Treatment, Care and Prevention as applied to East Asian Scrolls / Yi-Hsia Hsiao
07/14/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes
07/14/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes With growing, global interest in East Asian culture there are increasing requests by scholars and art institutions to view East Asian Scrolls through loan exhibitions and in house research. Museums such as Freer/Sakler Art Gallery have been offering a series of annual workshops for teaching museum staff how to properly handle East Asian Scrolls. Because East Asian scrolls have problematic conditions that often result in common damages, there is a need for greater awareness of preventive methods. It is imperative, then, that people who handle these scrolls have a deeper understanding of their structures and how they are made. An East Asian scroll is known for its rolling system. This system increases efficiency by minimizing the amount of space used for storage as well as decreasing the cost for transporting. However, the complexity of the rolling structure and the vulnerability of material make it difficult to prevent damage such as creases and tears while handling. Unlike the more static character of framed art, frequent rolling and unrolling of scrolls challenges these fragile artworks. An East Asian scroll is neither composed with a single layer, nor a completed sheet of paper or silk. It is a complicated structure of artwork that could be damaged if displayed, handled or stored in an inappropriate way. The common damage issues of East Asian Scrolls should be discussed by describing the components used in making East Asian handscrolls and hanging scrolls and emphasizing their fragility. To forestall the potential damages throughout, three issues will be outlined: display/exhibition; storage; and handling by scholars during close inspection and study in house. For display, an exhibition team in a museum needs high standards. The close collaboration among the designers, mount makers, curators and conservators in the Cleveland Museum of Art will be used as an illustration for safe and aesthetically beautiful displays of East Asian Scrolls. For storage, different rolling systems to store the scrolls in different East Asian conservation labs within the United States, as well as systems from other countries, will be compared and contrasted. Conservators can not always be on-call for requests by scholars to handle the scrolls. One of the most effective preventive methods for handling is the use of “support pillows” that can be custom made ahead of time with different lengths and widths. The methods of making these “pillows” and the effectiveness of their use in creating a more gentle rolling procedure must be demonstrated to those who handle the scrolls. Finally, as mentioned above the training must be made available to museum staff in order to reinforce and to refresh their knowledge of these three issues. In this way, new discussions in regards to sustainability can continue on a yearly basis.
Sustainability with Regards to Intangible Culture: How the Increasing Scarcity of Craftspeople Impacts the Traditional Remounting of a 12th century Japanese Buddhist Painting on Silk at the Cleveland Museum of Art / Sara Ribbans
07/14/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes
07/14/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes Traditional remounting of Japanese paintings is reliant on materials, such as paper and silk, and traditional tools made by craftspeople who are often themselves recognized as living treasures. In the past, there was much demand for these materials as the traditional home always had a place, known as the tokonoma, where a hanging scroll would be hung. As Japanese homes modernize, the tokonoma has been eliminated and families no longer purchase hanging scrolls. This, in turn, has reduced the demand for mounting materials and created a situation where it is difficult for traditional craftspeople to continue working. The number of apprentices learning these crafts has also greatly decreased, not necessarily from a lack of interest, but due to the inability of studios to hire and train the younger generation at a reasonable salary. Studios that were once passed down through the family are closing as their children find more financially stable careers. Understandably, high quality materials have increased in cost but this has created a situation where the price of remounting paintings has become too expensive for the average customer. Therefore, new mountings are increasingly done with cheaper materials, such as papers containing pulp and synthetic textiles, while also using methods that cut down on time and effort in order to cut costs. As these materials and methods do not age well and are not reversible they cannot be applied to artwork in Museum collections. It is therefore necessary to support existing craftspeople as much as possible, adjust the method of purchasing materials, and adjust treatment methods slightly to the changing environment. The fluctuating materials situation and its impact on the remounting of a hanging scroll is demonstrated through the treatment of a 12th century Buddhist painting on silk from the Cleveland Museum of Art’s collection.
Tuesday, July 14th: Electronic Media Session 4 - Web Software
"Self-documenting" Mode for Data and Software-based Installations / Diego Mellado Martínez and Francesca Franco
07/14/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes
07/14/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes This paper presents a method that allows external data-driven software-based works to keep a record of the data used as input. This method will prevent the artworks from failures when sources are no longer available. It also provides information on how the artwork was at a given, past moment. For the last five years, Daniel Canogoar's studio has developed several software-based artworks based on different data sources, accessed through the internet, e.g., Youtube (Cannula, 2016), weather information (Echo series, 2017) or stock market values (Xylem, 2017). In order to protect the artwork from not being rendered, the software implements a function to store the input data used to generate the output -whether YouTube videos, wind speed in a given city or the value of commodities. Data stored with timestamps is linked to a specific moment in time. If the source is not available the artwork would read those stored past values to generate its output. This change in the mode of operation can be made explicit to the public in different ways, affecting or not on the visual aspect of the work. Programmed from the beginning as part of the artwork, represents conservation from the production and a way of preventive conservation. Storing the input data is not new or exclusive for Studio Daniel Canogar. Ernest Edmond’s Shaping Space (2007) stores a processed version of the captured data; or Jose Carlos Martinat's Brutalism: Stereo Reality Environment 3 (2007) that stores previous recollections of data. Rafael Lozano-Hemmer's Pulse Index (2010) stores data as accumulation to render the artwork itself. Other works, such as Siebren Versteeg’s Untitled Film II (2006) had to reconceptualize the origin of data -from a live feed of newborn names to a database of most frequent names- once the data source was no longer available. All these forms of data accumulation could be understood as self-documentation, applied in different ways. In the case o Daniel Canogar's studio, the use of stored data leads to what the studio calls "demo-mode": an incomplete version of the artwork, that makes reference to the demos -incomplete or limited in functionality- of software and video games, very present in computer magazines in the 90s. It is questionable if the artwork is still "the artwork" when entering this demo-mode. As defined, the artwork retrieves live information from external sources. Instead, it would be using past values to render the content again. In that sense, the artwork would show a past iteration, which can be understood as documentation. Similar to pictures taken from a painting or videos from a performance, the spectator would see a past representation. This time, not only the media but the “support” of the artwork would be those of the documentation. This paper analyzes this tool as an aid for the conservation of works that need to access external data and systematize it, how conforms a documentation mode of the work and tries to generate debate around the definition of the artwork when it enters this documentation mode.
El cuarto del Quenepón: Collaborative and Cross-Disciplinary Approaches in the Preservation of Time-based Media on the Web / Amye McCarther, Caroline Gil, Danielle Calle, and Claire Fox
07/14/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes
07/14/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes In 1995, Puerto Rican visual artist and designer María de Mater O'Neill created the cyber zine El cuarto del Quenepón, the first electronic publication devoted to cultural production in Latin America and one of the first Spanish-language electronic publications in the world. Taking its name from the artist’s graphic design studio, O’Neill envisioned the website as a cultural space - a contribution towards the community - with the purpose of spreading the vitality and diversity of Puerto Rican culture to a global online audience. Central to Quenepón was its cultural projects section, which presented the work of a series of artists and writers from Puerto Rico and across Latin America, the USA, and other Caribbean islands. A multidisciplinary platform that presaged the digital ecosystem of cultural production today, the site hosted the first digital library specializing in the contemporary cultural production of the Caribbean and served the online transmission of conferences via video, audio, and live chat. The site further acted as a hub of cultural activity, publishing news, artist calls, calendars of events, and an e-mail directory of artists, writers, curators, galleries, and museums., Quenepón is both a unique cultural document and an artistic work in its own right. An early adopter and producer of online content, O’Neill was only the second individual in Puerto Rico to install an internet connection at her home in San Juan. The original site was designed to be rendered in Mosaic, an early precursor to Netscape, and continuously evolved in step with emerging multimedia and browsing technologies until its close in 2005. O’Neill, who continues to practice as a designer, art director, educator, and scholar, has noted her concern over the inaccessibility of Quenepón due to technological obsolescence of proprietary tape drives used for data backups and native browsing environments, as well as the broader threat posed to Puerto Rico’s design heritage due to lacking technological infrastructure in the wake of ongoing economic austerity. In 2019, while visiting Puerto Rico to participate in the APEX (Audiovisual Preservation Exchange) Program, a group of conservators and students from MoMA, New Museum, and the NYU Moving Image Archiving program connected with O’Neill to evaluate the possibility of migrating and preserving the data backups El cuarto del Quenepón and restoring the site to its original function so that researchers in Puerto Rico and beyond may once again access this rich document of the island’s cultural past. This presentation will report on the process of restoring the website from elements stored on data tapes and optical media, and efforts to realize its original functionality via a spectrum of emulated production and browsing environments. This interdisciplinary project highlights the importance of partnerships between the embedded knowledge of artists and the expertise of time-based media conservators in identifying and preserving cultural materials that fall outside the bounds of institutional collections or that exist in regions where institutional resources have been impacted by economic austerity.
Conservation of a Software-Based Sound Installation: MoMA’s Restaging of David Tudor & Composers Inside Electronics Rainforest V (Variation 1), or Rainforest in the field / Caroline Gil
07/14/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes
07/14/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes the late artist’s practice, the Rainforest series and its assorted versions–stretching over decades-- are constructed upon experimentation and constant change, rarely being assembled or performed exactly the same way twice. MoMA’s recent acquisition, restaging and reperforming of Tudor’s Rainforest V (Variation 1) done in collaboration with members of Composers Inside Electronics (John Driscoll, Phil Edelstein, Matt Rogalsky and Ed Potokar) brought forth an institutional examination of the potential practice of collaborative modes of conservation that places the work at a ‘point in a continuum’. For Rainforest V (Variation 1) CIE conceived a customized, self-running sound environment using control software (Max/MSP patches) and a sound library of more than a hundred audio files. Twenty objects are affixed with audio transducers, essentially making each object a speaker without a cone. The objects are then suspended throughout the space to create a visual and acoustic environment. Audio files are relayed to the transducer via speaker wire– intended to create a resonant effect or in Tudor’s own words, a ‘loudspeaker-object’. Computer software has an unparalleled potential for creating and manipulating sound, visual programming languages such as Max/MSP/Jitter endow artists with tools that automate, shift, and alter signal sources in real time as one could with a hardware modular synthesizer. Max programs or patches are made by arranging and connecting object blocks within a visual canvas. These object blocks behave as self-contained programs, but under the hood are dynamically linked libraries that can receive an input and generate an output. A conservator or artist may approach these patches and software programs as a means to an end for installing the work, but they may also contain the salient logic or acoustic tuning schemas and retain a critical aspect of a performance at a given time. Taking into consideration previous research on conservation documentation of sound artworks, this talk will describe methods for documenting and assessing the condition of sound art; including analyzing audio files and evaluating the material value placed on artist provided control systems as part of an electronic chain. Just as media art installation derives meaning through a system of interconnected components, this talk will reflect on how works that use this technology compel conservators to work through a coordinated web of signification in order to document the work-defining properties that will enable the feasible restaging of the work in the future.
Wednesday, July 15th: Photographic Materials Session 2
Past, Present, and Future of the Collaborative Workshops in Photograph Conservation / Margaret Wessling and Nora Kennedy
07/15/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes
07/15/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes The Collaborative Workshops in Photograph Conservation Committee is celebrating 10 years of programming following a generous endowment from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to the Foundation for Advancement in Conservation for the support of continuing education in photograph preservation. The grant has been overseen by a rotating advisory committee and representatives from FAIC and has offered varied programming covering treatment, identification, characterization, analysis, and preservation of photographic materials. The grant arose from a workshop series initiated by Debra Hess Norris and Nora Kennedy in 1997 that strove to meet the training needs of photograph conservators and those who care for photograph collections. Programs have taken the format of 15-20 person workshops, symposia of up to 200 people, and the globally viewed web series "Photographic Chemistry". Topics in development for future programs include identification and care of inkjet prints, care of large-scale photographs, identification and treatment of 20th century negatives, and identification and characterization of photomechanical processes. Looking to the future, the Collaborative Workshops in Photograph Conservation Committee would like to solicit ideas from the AIC community for programming that will continue to serve the needs of photograph preservation professionals and continue the collaborative spirit of the past programs.
Fifteen Years of Teamwork: Teaching Photograph Conservation in Central and Eastern Europe / Monique Fischer
07/15/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes
07/15/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes When the Northeast Document Conservation Center (NEDCC) began the initiative to train Central and Eastern European conservators in photograph conservation, there wasn't a single professional in the region trained in this specialized field. The aim of the program was to raise awareness among institutions about the preservation needs of the region’s valuable photograph collections and teach a highly specialized skill. From 2003-2008, NEDCC worked in partnership with the Academy of Fine Arts and Design (AFAD) in Bratislava, Slovakia; the Conservation Center at New York University; the Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET) in New York City; the Getty Conservation Institute (GCI) in Los Angeles, California, and George Eastman Museum (GEM) in Rochester, New York to provide local basic training workshops in photograph conservation to professors, conservators, and students in Central and Eastern Europe. In addition, each year from 2004 to 2008, four participants were chosen from the Bratislava workshops to travel to NEDCC in Andover, Massachusetts, for a three-week long program, where they received further training. All-day sessions gave students ample opportunity for hands-on practice of treatment techniques and lectures under the supervision of instructor Gary Albright, Photograph Conservator in private practice. The workshops and training programs in both Slovakia and Massachusetts led to the further evolution of the program and helped NEDCC identify qualified individuals for advanced internships. The collaboration was expanded in 2010 when a Photograph Conservation Internship program was established. The internship initially responded to the need for more in-depth training and practical experience for photograph conservators in Eastern Europe. It was designed to provide advanced hands-on training for one individual at a time in photograph conservation. The interns, a talented group of young professionals, will now help set the future course for the preservation of important photograph collections in their respective countries and throughout the region. During a fifteen-year period, over 40 conservators, teachers, and graduate students from eleven countries have received training in photograph conservation through NEDCC’s programs. This training brought together conservation professionals from the Central and Eastern European countries to study conservation of photographic materials, and to build valuable and lasting connections.
Strengthening the Preservation of Photographic Materials in Latin America: celebrating 30 years of APOYOnline / Beatriz Haspo and Amparo Rueda
07/15/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes
07/15/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes Founded in 1989, APOYOnline – Association for Heritage Preservation of the Americas (formerly Apoyo), is deeply committed to strengthening exchange and global professional networks, and sharing technical conservation information across Latin America, the Caribbean region, and other Spanish and Portuguese speaking countries. In recent years, many APOYOnline efforts have focused on bolstering the preservation of photographic collections by providing access to hands-on training and professional development, grant funding to attend workshops and conferences, organizing the donation of preservation materials, and improving access to technical knowledge through translations. These initiatives include three workshops on photograph conservation that brought international experts to Colombia, Cuba, and Brazil, and the establishment of two new scholarship funds: the José Orraca Memorial Fund to promote Photographic Conservation in Latin America and the Toby Raphael Memorial Fund to Promote Preventive Conservation in Latin America. These scholarships have already facilitated the attendance of professionals and students from across the Americas to the recent 2019 Photograph Conservation Workshop in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In addition to theoretical knowledge and hands-on study provided through workshops, conferences, and translated technical resources, APOYOnline organized a 2018 donation campaign to send preservation supplies to Cuba after Hurricane Michael devastated several cultural institutions. APOYOnline has also provided direct assistance in rehousing archival and photographic collections through the “Manos a la Obra” ("Helping Hands") volunteer event. This presentation will outline several APOYOnline initiatives and highlight their impacts on the preservation of photographic collections in the Americas.
Thursday, July 16th: Concurrent General Session: External Forces in Contemporary Art Conservation Session 1 (Meet & Greet with Huntington T. Block Insurance Agency, Inc.)
Exposing Deterioration and Gradual Conservation Treatment of Works by Gustav Metzger as a Way of Broadening Modes of Understanding Reception and Conservation of Contemporary Art / Mirosław Wachowiak
07/16/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes
07/16/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes After fifty years of being kept in shred, dozens of early painting of Gustav Metzger were rediscovered. It was unexpected surprise for the artist famous as autodestructive art and manifests creator dealing in his works with memory, oppression of systems, history and technology, performing deterioration of objects and exposing their imperfect, fugitive, organic, impermanent nature. Paintings stored in very bad conditions were dirty and significantly damaged by fungi. Thick deposits of dust, deformations of the support and dramatic flaking were ironically expressing ideas of the artist fascinated with decay. The real condition of the 24 works that arrived ten days before the exhibition opening was misjudged and needed conservation treatment in a degree strongly underestimated by the curators. In order not to abandon paintings from display, after conferring with curators, artist’s assistant and the artist it was decided to undertake the most necessary steps of conservation treatment before the opening. Subsequently works were going to be exposed in still visually “bad” state and later - gradually conserved and restored during the time of display. It enabled not to exclude paintings from the show and represent their history of the oblivion and poor storing. Moreover the organic forces and damaging factors appreciated by the artists became visible. Importantly it exposed also conservation and restoration process it-self, curatorial and arrangement dilemmas. Step by step changed condition shown subjectivity of the moment of the proper display and the conservator’s decision to stop his work. The solution attracted visitors to return to check on the progress and actual “state of the art”. All the works were disinfected and undusted before the opening. Two most damaged works had to be finally excluded from the show. Only few of them were thoroughly cleaned before hanging. Week by week works were gradually cleaned, some of them filled with putty but not in-painted at the beginning of the exhibition. Two were exposed showing different phases of cardboard support regeneration. Some works had other works’ paint flakes and priming embedded into their paint layer, causing other challenges. Remnants were slowly removed from the surfaces. The biggest - significantly damaged but stable canvas paintings - was shown untreated through all the exhibition time. This controversial exposition unveiled conservation process, object history and underlined autodestructive attitude of the artist to his art. It questioned the readiness of objects for display and the necessity of conservation treatment. The works were not only protected from being excluded from the “Act or perish!” show in the Centre of Contemporary Art in Toruń, but brought important added value to the perception of the individual works, exhibition it-self as whole and the artist oeuvre understanding. It also broadened understanding of the act of conservation and restorers profession and its significance and influence on the different modes of appreciation of contemporary works of art.
Fugitive Gestures: Contemporary Art Conservation and the Obsolescence of Practice / Helia Marcal
07/16/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes
07/16/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes The conservation discipline has set itself to transmit cultural objects to future generations. But what can we do when the context where those objects exist and thrive ceases to exist? This presentation will explore some of the ways the obsolescence of cultural and bodily practices impacts the preservation of contemporary art. Drawing on the notion of ‘obsolescence of practice’, two case-studies and several other examples from Tate’s collection, will explore the ways in which cultural practices have become crucial for sustaining, transmitting and preserving these artworks. Cultural objects have always been context-dependent. Changes in the social significance of archaeological and ethnographic objects, for example, has been explored by several authors since the mid-1980s (cf. Appadurai 1986, Clavir 1987, 2009). Contemporary artworks involving some degree of interaction, performance, or site-specificity, are however, typically dependent on cultural practices to be activated or experienced. That is the case of the bodily practice involved in navigating a website or experiencing a contextual installation, but also when performing an artwork in a given context. Some of those practices are rather fugitive, elusive, hard to pin down, and even harder to document and preserve. Although the overarching idea behind an ‘obsolescence of practice’ is yet to be systematically explored, it has been theorized by scholars in the social and human sciences, namely in the fields of decolonial theory and material culture (e.g. Ogbechie 2005), heritage studies (e.g. Kirshenblatt-Gimblett 1998), design (Leong and Clark 2006), or media studies and history (e.g. Burges 2018). The field of memory studies has also recently introduced the concept of ‘memory ecologies’ to study cultural practices of memory and transmission, and what is remembered and forgotten (Hoskins 2006). By focusing on interactions between material and discursive practices, the notion of ‘memory ecologies’ highlights the relational nature of the objects and their contexts. In the context of this presentation, the notion of ‘memory ecologies’ will be used to study the case-studies in detail, mapping their cultural infrastructures and dependencies, and understanding the skills and practices that are maintained outside the realm of the museum. In exploring the ramifications of these external dependencies, the presentation will explore documentation strategies developed to accommodate forms of embodied knowledge. In doing so, it will also explore some of the ways the museum can proactively reflect on the inevitable obsolescence of cultural practices: by reframing the role of the conservator, introducing new forms of participation, and reflect on what it means to conserve these works in an ethical and sustainable way. This presentation fits with both the theme of the meeting - Conservation: Reactive and Proactive and the theme of the Contemporary Art Network Concurrent General Session on External Forces in Contemporary Art Conservation.
Hans Haacke, News: A Case Study on Migration and Cross-Institutional Collaboration for a Conceptual Software Based Artwork / Mark Hellar and Daniel Finn
07/16/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes
07/16/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes Hans’s Haacke's’ News was first realized in 1969, for the 'Prospect 69' exhibition in the Kunsthalle, Düsseldorf. Haacke presented the concept of the work as follows: 'A telex machine installed in the Düsseldorf Kunsthalle prints all the news communicated by the German press agency DPA. The printouts were put on display for further reading one day after being delivered, and on the third day, the rolls of paper were labeled and dated, then stored in plexiglass containers. The work was reconstructed in 2005 for an exhibition at the Paula Cooper Gallery in New York. In this manifestation, the telex machine was replaced with a dot matrix printer which was fed from a software program that gathered news from Really Simple Syndication(RSS) feeds via the Internet. SFMOMA acquired news in 2008 and displayed in this form for the exhibit, The Art of Participation 1950 to Now. In 2017 the museum exhibited again for the Nothing Stable Under Heaven exhibition. In preparation for the exhibit, it was determined that the computer source code needed a complete migration, and a complete rewrite of the software was completed. As an instruction-based, conceptual art installation, News varies significantly from iteration to iteration, including the instructions themselves. When the Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM) loaned the work from SFMOMA in 2018, all that changed hands between the museums was the most recent source code. The materials for the installation are sourced new for each install, and the code must change to accommodate new specifications from the artist. As every component of the work changes with each iteration, extensive collaboration between the artist, developers, conservators, curators, registrars, and exhibition designers is essential to a successful realization of the work. In this talk, we will have a detailed look at the process of migrating the software and what it entailed. We will reflect on the collaboration that took place with the artist studio in the process to maintain the authenticity of the work. Additionally, we will share what was learned from cross-institutional partnerships in loaning a conceptual software-based artwork.
Monday, July 20th: Electronic Media/Contemporary Art Joint Session
Examination and Assessment of AI in Contemporary Artworks: is it possible to preserve the algorithm? / Julia Betancor, Daniel Finn, and Ana Mata
07/20/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes
07/20/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes When artificial intelligence creates the work of art, (it is possible to preserve the algorithm) and it is then when there are no limits. The preservation of Artificial Intelligence is a new challenge. Conservators need to find a balance between the preservation of original materials, the evolution of the algorithm, and the latest content the algorithm produces. What tools do we have to preserve these works of art for the future? AI intersects with many ethical, political, and philosophical issues, but it also poses immediate technical challenges... Are we prepared as art stewards to adapt to automatic learning? The conservation of this type of work is a challenge for curator-restorers, not only in material terms but also conceptually. This paper will provide a case study of the 2018 AI artwork by Mario Klingemann (AI's godfather) “Memories of Passerby 1”(2 screens and an autonomous machine). The work commissioned by Coleccion Solo, and ONKAOS, a collection promoter based in Madrid and a world leader in representing artists working with technology. Conserving a neural network is a challenge, not to speak of the visual output of the piece, 4K video produced in real-time 24 hours a day, and will never repeat the same image. What are the agents of AI deterioration? How do we manage the integration of monitoring and the creation of a regular basis for an AI Status Report? Is it a machine that recreates patterns, or is it an evolving brain creating an infinite ephemeral form? How is this information stored? How do we catalog this work? Is it a human action with the character of a happening? Therefore, one critical questions are ho is the generator of the work, the machinery, or the artist? What we need to preserve are Output Art-Input data-Software/algorithms ("the neural network”)-Hardware. Although contemporary art media are becoming more frequent in collections, new technologies pose new documentary problems. Many of us have to review, readapt, and in some cases, generate specific reports when new artworks enter the collection and do not fit within existing documentation practices. Therefore, it is necessary and substantive that conservation-restoration unite international collaborative efforts that will bring new knowledge and solutions to carry out this work. In this case, an international interdisciplinary team has been created, which will result in new and better workflows, providing options for professionals concerned with the preservation of artworks incorporating AI technology. The machines want us to spend time with them, for the first time, they are asking us to take care of them, indeed. How to deal with 'deep learning algorithm' systems?
Perfect Sound Forever: addressing intermittent functionality in the permanent installations of Max Neuhaus / Meaghan Perry and Sarah Thompson
07/20/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes
07/20/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes Pioneering sound artist Max Neuhaus (1939-2009) was known for his innovative “sound installations,” nonvisual artworks that use aural perception to alter the qualities of a specific space. Prior to his death, Neuhaus was exploring new technologies, such as automatic gain control and website-controlled calibration systems, that he believed would allow his software-based audio works to self-regulate indefinitely. Despite the artist’s efforts, several of these works became only intermittently operable within a few years of their installation. Building upon the work discussed by Brad Epley and Sarah Thompson at the AIC Annual Meeting in 2018, this presentation follows the continued process to conserve the Menil Collection’s Sound Figure (2007), and explores the cultivation of collaboration across disciplines and between institutions charged with the care of related works. Menil Conservation enlisted the expertise of programmers, engineers, and other consultants to address technical aspects of Sound Figure’s treatment, including code resituation and disk-imaging. Concurrently, interinstitutional collaboration enriched the understanding of Sound Figure’s significance within Neuhaus’ larger body of work and informed further treatment decisions. Treatment outcomes, documentation strategies, and improvements to the Menil’s digital preservation policies will be discussed, as will forthcoming plans to further scholarship of Neuhaus’ software-based audio installations.
Developing the Joan Jonas Knowledge Base - An Open Access Digital Resource / Glenn Wharton, Deena Engel, and Barbara Clausen
07/20/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes
07/20/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes In this presentation, research collaborators behind the Joan Jonas Knowledge Base (JJKB) will review the soon-to-be-launched digital resource housing information about the multimedia and performance artist Joan Jonas. Open to the public, the resource will be of use to conservators, curators, and other researchers who seek to learn more about the artist’s work. In addition to interviews, photographs, notebook scans, and biographical information about the artist and people she has worked with, the resource will feature studies on important exhibitions and two key early works, Organic Honey (1972/73) and Mirage (1976/2004/2008). Through the JJKB, the researchers strive to communicate the artist’s point of view as well as the history of her early works as they transitioned from performance to video and multimedia installations. The authors will discuss the challenges that documenting Jonas’ installations and performances pose with respect to software selection and design along with a focus on the role of linked open data in conservation research. The JJKB is a project of the Artist Archives Initiative, an interdisciplinary research effort dedicated to creating and developing open access information resources for individual artists. The motivation behind the initiative is the growing need for searchable, digital sources built with flexibility to support discoverability on studies of complex contemporary works in ways that counter the constraints of traditional highly structured databases. The research undertaken by the Initiative’s collaborators places equal emphasis on the work produced by individual artists, their concerns for public experience of their work, and appropriate technologies to archive and make information accessible to the public. In addition to developing models for artist-specific information resources, the initiative aims to stimulate discussion on topics related to the future of today’s art, including authenticity, authorship, and artwork integrity.
Tuesday, July 21st: Poster Session
Poster Session
07/21/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes
07/21/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes Join us for our first ever electronic poster session. Many of the 2020 accepted posters will be presented at the 2021 Annual Meeting in Jacksonville. However, we have 9 posters that will be presented in a virtual session. View the abstracts that will be presented here https://www.culturalheritage.org/events/annual-meeting/current-meeting/poster-session ( you will need to cut and paste this link. We should have the posters available for viewing before the session. Then access the session on July 21.
Tuesday, July 21st: Untold Stories
Untold Stories: Preserving Cultural Landscapes
07/21/2020 at 3:30 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes
07/21/2020 at 3:30 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes Event is open to everyone. Anyone wishing to attend the event must register through the link below - even those registered for the virtual meeting Join us for the Untold Stories 2020 Event “PRESERVING CULTURAL LANDSCAPES” featuring panelists Kimi Kodani Hill, Alessandra La Rocca Link and Jacqueline Keeler, all of whom will focus on the landscape of the state now known as Utah, a place that has been shaped by many histories of use as well as violence. In light of the many urgent crisis confronting our world today, including the on-going COVID-19 pandemic, the epidemics of police brutality and systemic racism, increasingly violent rhetoric about who “belongs” and does not belong in our societies, and devastating climate change, our panelists comment on what place the arts and cultural institutions have in responding to painful histories and on-going injustice to build a vision for a more equitable, sustainable future. Please join us virtually on July 21st from 3:30 to 5pm EST. You can sign up here: https://www.untoldstories.live/aic-2020 Untold Stories is supported through generous funding by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. For more information, visit https://www.untoldstories.live
Wednesday, July 22nd: AIC Paintings Specialty Group Business Meeting
AIC Paintings Specialty Group Business Meeting
07/22/2020 at 1:00 AM (EDT)   |  120 minutes
07/22/2020 at 1:00 AM (EDT)   |  120 minutes Annual business meeting open to all members of AIC's Paintings Specialty Group. Please register separately by clicking on the button to the right.
Thursday, July 23rd: Research and Technical Studies Session 2 (Meet & Greet with Opus Instruments, Getty Publications/GCI)
Comparing DART Analysis to Traditional Wood Anatomy for the Identification of West African Woods: Research at the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art and Museum Conservation Institute / Julia Campbell-Such, G. Asher Newsome, and Cady Lancaster
07/23/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes
07/23/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes In the field of African Art Conservation, understanding which species of wood was used to construct an artwork enriches our understanding of the object; it may help us develop a provenance for a piece of artwork, connect it to a particular cultural community, or help us determine the historical time in which it was made. In addition, museums must comply with increasingly strict regulations on the international transport of goods made from endangered plant species; reliable species identification of the woods used to make art will help to protect art objects when they travel. Wood genus and species are traditionally identified by anatomic and micro-anatomic features, but to do this with accuracy requires specialized training, access to reference materials and databases, and many years of experience. A relatively large sample must be taken from the object, and, most often, woods cannot be distinguished beyond the genus level by their cellular anatomy. Recently, alternate methods of wood speciation have been developed that rely on the chemistry of different species rather than on their anatomical characteristics. Wood identification by Direct Analysis in Real Time (DART) Mass Spectrometry is currently being used by the National Fish and Wildlife Service’s Forensic Lab as a practical technique to aid in the prevention of trade in endangered woods; the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, in collaboration with Smithsonian’s Museum Conservation Institute, is currently researching the potential of this tool to aid in the speciation of woods used in African art. In 1998, the conservation lab at the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art received a donation of 62 wood samples from Ghana, labelled with botanical and local names. These samples were donated for use in the identification of woods in the museum’s collection; current research compares DART analysis with traditional microanatomical identification by performing both techniques on the same sample set. The primary goal of this project is to provide an initial, practical assessment for working conservators of the potential of the DART technique for the identification of wood species in art and cultural heritage collections. The project is also investigating the compatibility of the US Fish and Wildlife technique with the Smithsonian’s own instrumentation to determine how easily this technique can be transferred to facilities with slightly different capabilities. This comparison demonstrates how useful the database of DART spectra for wood species managed by US Fish and Wildlife may be for analysis done in other contexts. The larger goal of this project is to contribute to the database of DART spectra of known woods, which is still being developed, and which has the potential to be a valuable resource not only for cultural heritage research an
Evaluation of Angle-Resolved x-Ray Fluorescence for Stratigraphy Elucidation in Paintings / Antonio Martinez-Collazo, Cristyan Quiñones-Garcia, Gabriel Martinez-Gonzales, and Danielle Chavis
07/23/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes
07/23/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes X-ray fluorescence (XRF) spectroscopy has become a widely used technique in the identification of pigments in paintings. The portability and ease of use of portable XRF instruments has contributed to this popularity. Nevertheless the interpretation of spectra may become complicated due to matrix effects and the presence of a layered or stratigraphic structure in the analyzed piece. We have explored the acquisition of spectra at normal and glancing angles in order to aid in the interpretation of XRF spectra of layered structured paints. Bi-layered samples of acrylic- and oil-based paints were prepared on 75 mm x 75 mm-foam board supports; each layer being approximately 0.15 mm thick. XRF spectra were collected with an AMPTEK 123 outfitted with a 6mm2 Si-PIN detector with 0.5 mil Be window. The x-ray source was a Mini-X source with an Ag anode using power settings of 25kV and 40μA. The spectrometer and the x-ray source were mounted on an AMPTEK experimenter's kit plate with a 45º angle between them. Spectra were acquired for 60 seconds at 90º and at 40º angles between the spectrometer-x-ray source plane and the bi-layer samples. In most of these angle-resolved spectra corresponding to a bilayer pigment combination, it was found that the peaks corresponding to constituent elements of the pigment in the lower layer were more intense in the spectra acquired at 90º as compared to the spectra acquired at 30º. The results are interpreted by a simple model that incorporates the increase in absorption of both the primary and secondary x-rays at the 30º angle. We will report also on the application of this technique to the analysis of pigments in paintings from XIX century Puerto Rican painter Francisco Oller.
Digital Simulations: Terminology and Ethical Use / Becca Goodman
07/23/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes
07/23/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes Digital simulations are a useful and effective visual tool for conservators to share findings with scholars, researchers, and the general public. These simulations function as translations of the scientific and historical data we have collected; however, it is important for the audience, who may not be well-versed in reading technical images and spectra, to understand that such simulations are informed hypotheses—not fact. As Hyperspectral Imaging (HSI) and Macro X-Ray fluorescence (MA-XRF) scanning are becoming more accessible, conservators and allied professionals are generating more digital simulations, but we have not begun to talk about the ramifications of presenting and publishing potentially misleading images that depict visual interpretations of data, not physical artworks. In an era of the Internet and widespread misinformation, it is imperative that we develop appropriate terminology to describe these images. Thus, now is the time to be proactive and address the language and ethical use of digital simulations and their current and future place in the field of Conservation. In this paper, I will propose a list of terminology, definitions, and disclaimers to initiate efforts to codify the language we use to describe digital simulations. As examples, I will provide three case studies of work resulting in digital simulations. The first two studies were produced in collaboration with imaging scientists, curators, and other conservators at the National Gallery of Art, Washington. Using information derived from traditional imaging methods (infrared reflectography, x-radiography, and transmitted light imaging), cross sections, HSI, and MA-XRF, I created simulations of Young Girl Reading by Jean Honoré Fragonard and Feast of the Gods by Giovanni Bellini and Titian to approximate each respective painting in an earlier state of its creation. The last case study I will discuss includes several simulations that I made in collaboration with the Conservation Department for the Detroit Institute of Arts. These simulations address color changes that have occurred in The Wedding Dance by Pieter Bruegel the Elder. This series of digital simulations was informed by XRF spot analysis and fiber optics reflectance spectroscopy (FORS). Each case study will highlight different methods used to emphasize the hypothetical nature of digital simulations, and offer solutions to ensure that such simulations can be readily identified. Finally, I will offer other ways that we can use Adobe Photoshop to suit our needs (for example, to better visualize underdrawings in infrared images and to quantify areas of loss in a paint layer) and suggest free web-based alternatives that can perform most of the same functions. Adobe Photoshop and similar software are powerful tools, and I encourage conservators to approach and explore them with both creativity and mindfulness.
AIC Research and Technical Studies Business Meeting
Research & Technical Studies (RATS) Member Business Meeting
07/23/2020 at 3:30 PM (EDT)   |  60 minutes
07/23/2020 at 3:30 PM (EDT)   |  60 minutes Research & Technical Studies (RATS) specialty group business meeting open to all RATS members. Please register separately via the button on the right.
Monday, July 27th: Concurrent General Session: External Forces in Contemporary Art Conservation Session 2
The Conservation of an Outdoor Public Artwork in an Aquatic Zone: a Highly Interventive Approach and Limited Options / Stéphanie Gagné
07/27/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes
07/27/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes The conservation of an outdoor public artwork created in 1984 by artists Pierre Leblanc and René Derouin proved to be particularly challenging. The artwork, entitled “Cinq tables métaphoriques pour un élément en porte-à-faux” (“Five metaphorical tables for a cantilevered element “), is located in Terrebonne (Quebec, Canada) and was constructed on the vestiges of an historic water-powered sawmill. It is therefore in regular contact with the waterway and exposed to harsh climatic conditions. Since the work comprises concrete, steel and wood, the surfaces were covered with moss, algae and lichens, the metal exhibited active corrosion, and the wood was rotten and disintegrated. Several wooden elements were missing from the work; its physical integrity was severely compromised. The custodians of the work were keen to see the work conserved and restored. The preferred approach by the custodians and the conservator, one also approved by the artists, was highly interventive. This approach raised ethical questions around the preservation of the sculpture's authenticity. Originally, the piece had included a wooden beam that was cut and carved by the artists, and four wooden pulleys, recovered from the historic sawmill, that had been integrated into the work. The restoration included the reproduction of these lost elements, which, while made to be as close as possible in spirit to the original elements, also had to be more durable. Several challenges arose throughout the project: the making of reproductions with little supporting documentation to rely upon; the collaboration with the artist (which at times could be rather laborious); the in-situ treatment; and, finally, the overarching context imposed by a framework of strict environmental laws and regulations. Such factors led us to search for and to adopt innovative conservation solutions. For example, in order to meet regulations concerning activities carried out in riparian and aquatic zones, our research helped us to identify environmentally-friendly products, including a natural biocide and biodegradable paint and industrial grease. In the end, the conservation treatment of this public artwork restored its very meaning and its role as a significant marker of collective memory for the site.
The Long Road to Minimalist Intervention: Installing Richard Serra’s First Public Work in a Public Street / Raina Chao
07/27/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes
07/27/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes Co-author: Hugh Shockey In November 2018, Richard Serra’s To Encircle Base Plate Hexagram, Right Angles Inverted, was installed in front of the Saint Louis Art Museum, embedded in Fine Arts Drive. The installation was the culmination of an 18-month long process of planning, meetings, presentations, design, construction, and conservation treatment. To Encircle…, Serra’s first public work, is a two-part, circular steel sculpture designed to be installed within an active roadway. Since its original 1970 installation in 183rd St in the Bronx, it had been installed in a number of locations in the Saint Louis area, including on the grounds of SLAM. The 2018 installation, intended to be permanent, was the first time since 1970 that it would be sited in a public street or in such a highly trafficked area. These factors, in addition to the inherent issues with exposing a steel sculpture to the elements, presented a formidable set of challenges for the protection and installation of the artwork. The sculpture’s condition in storage and documentation from past interventions demonstrated that lamellar corrosion had resulted from each interment, necessitating treatment upon each deinstallation. The upper edges of the piece, in plane with the road’s surface when installed, also showed expected signs of wear from vehicular traffic or other impacts. For this permanent interment, SLAM’s conservation staff chose a more proactive approach, to protect the sculpture from corrosion with an impressed current Cathodic Protection system. The conservation requirements drove decision making about the CP system design, sculpture placement, and site preparation. The CP system, preparatory treatment, and placement provide the sculpture with multi-level protections and formed an integral aspect of the museum’s project plan. Installing an accessioned museum artwork in a public city street is an inherently complex process that involved a multitude of stakeholders including various departments and levels of local and city government, preservation councils, external funders, and the museum itself. The process of working with these diverse external forces to obtain the permits and permissions needed for the project to proceed was lengthy and required a cooperative, cross-departmental effort from museum staff to communicate about and advocate for the project to the various stakeholders. Throughout its messaging, SLAM chose to highlight the conservation aspect of the project, especially the museum’s plan to proactively protect the sculpture with a CP system, as an integral part of the project proposal. This emphasis helped allay concerns about potential deleterious effects the sculpture might have on city functions and reaffirmed the museum’s commitment and ability to care for the sculpture once installed, contributing to the project’s eventual approval. By choosing a proactive approach, SLAM was not only able to improve the sculpture’s preservation, but also to help ensure that the overall project became a reality.
Conserving the Uncollectible: Caring for Land Art and Earth Installations / Rosa Lowinger and Christina Varvi
07/27/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes
07/27/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes In the early 1960s, large scale, site-specific abstract sculptures emerged as features of public spaces throughout the United States. Encouraged by national initiatives, like the General Service Administration’s (GSA) Art in Architecture Program and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), that mandated that a percent of construction for new buildings be set aside for art commissions by living artists, these monumental artworks brought conceptual, non-representational imagery by emerging contemporary masters like Claes Oldenburg, Tony Smith, and Alexander Calder into the streets and plazas of America’s urban public spaces. During this same period, Land Art, or Earth Art, emerged as a parallel movement of site-specific sculpture. Built far from population centers, hard to reach by design, and most often made of materials of the earth itself, these works share certain criteria with the aforementioned monumental commissions, but they expand the boundaries of art in many other ways. Arguably the most famous work of land art, Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty (1970) employs only rocks found in the vicinity of its siting in a remote outcrop of Utah’s Great Salt Lake. Similarly, James Turrell’s Roden Crater (1970- present) is an ongoing construction in Arizona’s Painted Desert formed only by relocating millions of cubic yards of earth to create tunnels and craters for viewing the dark night sky. Other works of land art, like Nancy Holt’s Sun Tunnels (1973-6) in the Great Basin Desert, Walter De Maria’s Lightning Fields outside of Quemado New Mexico, and Alberto Burri’s Il Grande Cretto in a remote corner of Sicily (1984-1989, 2015) use traditional materials, like concrete and steel. Nonetheless, the essence of all of these works is characterized by remoteness and lack of commercialism. They are also linked to the landscape in a manner that makes their stewardship and conservation uniquely challenging. This paper will discuss some strategies that have been employed for conserving Land Art by the authors. Using our recent work on Nancy Holt’s Sun Tunnels as the primary example, the paper will examine the philosophical and material challenges of addressing works that are singularly hard to access and whose essence straddles the boundary between art, architecture, conceptual practice, and landscape design.
Tuesday, July 28th: Architecture Session 2 (Meet & Greet with Getty Publications/GCI)
An Uplifting Story: Re-supporting the gun turret of USS Monitor / Will Hoffman
07/28/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes
07/28/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes In 2002, archaeologists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and US Navy divers used a massive lifting apparatus to recover the upside-down 120-ton revolving gun turret from the wreck site of the American Civil War ironclad USS Monitor. The two-part system consisted of a cage-like structure that locked around the turret for lifting; referred to as the “Spider”, and a secondary support which was installed under the turret to keep its roof in place as the artifact was raised. Once recovered, the turret was transferred to The Mariners’ Museum and Park in Newport News, Virginia for conservation. In 2003, the spider assembly was removed, but the artifact still remained on top of the lower recovery structure. What was intended to be a temporary mount, ultimately became the artifact’s long-term support. To advance the conservation treatment for the turret, and to set the stage to ultimately right it, a new support system was installed in 2019. This paper describes the multi-year process to design and install a pedestal support system under the turret and the challenges with lifting the iconic artifact and the removal of the old support pad.
An exploration of consolidants for ancient Egyptian Limestone / Nina Owczarek, Anna O’Neill, and Molly Gleeson
07/28/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes
07/28/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes The Penn Museum has many monumental architectural elements of the Palace Complex of Merenptah, a 19th Dynasty Egyptian pharaoh. The palace was excavated from Memphis by Clarence Fisher and elements of it, including columns, doorways, and windows, were brought to Philadelphia and installed in the Museum in 1926. The limestone architectural pieces are exhibiting various condition issues including powdering, flaking, and cracking. In preparation for reinstallation in the Museum’s renovated Egyptian galleries, methods and materials for strengthening and stabilizing the stone were investigated. First, the stone was characterized using thin-section petrographic analysis. Then, following a literature search, the following consolidation materials were selected for initial testing: Conservare, CaLoSil E5, CaLoSil E25, CaLoSil E50, CaLoSil IP5, CaLoSil IP25, diammonium phosphate, and M-3P (a bacterial nurturing solution). The test areas were evaluated for reduced powdering, improved strength, and minimal visual change (if any). CaLoSil E5 and M-3P were then further tested to better compare their performance with each other. Paraloid B-72 was also considered for this project and selected for stabilizing areas with structural damages like breaks and cleavage. This paper outlines the steps taken and results of testing. It also addresses the treatment choices made for these architectural elements, and the rationale for them.
Early Reinforced Concrete Construction in the United States / Mayank Patel and David Wessel
07/28/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes
07/28/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes Before becoming world-famous as a technology epicenter, the San Francisco Bay Area, more than a century ago, was an incubator for early advancements in reinforced concrete technology in the United States. This is where groundbreaking projects in architectural engineering were being catalyzed. They included the Alvord Lake Bridge (1889) in Golden Gate Park, the first reinforced-concrete arch bridge in the United States; the Leland Stanford Junior Museum (1891) at Stanford University, the first major building in the United States made entirely of concrete; and the Main Street Bridge (1899) near Half Moon Bay, possibly the oldest prestressed concrete bridge in the world. Both the Alvord Lake Bridge and the Leland Stanford Junior Museum utilized twisted reinforcing bars for reinforcement of the concrete. These bars were patented in 1884 by an English-born innovator Ernest L. Ransome, whose experimentation with reinforced concrete sidewalks in San Francisco led to his breakthrough. The twisted shape provided a stronger bond between the steel and the concrete. The testament to Ransome’s innovation was the fact that while many of the sandstone buildings at Stanford University suffered significant damage during the 1906 earthquake, the central part of the museum which was built with Ransome’s new reinforcement system survived with only minor damage. The Main Street Bridge was designed by Curtis Tobey and Davenport Bromfield. The bridge has a concrete arch span of sixty feet, the largest span of its kind in California at the time. The reinforcement was provided by embedding old steel wires in the concrete, inspired by the wick embedded in a wax candle and the string in the stick of popular rock candy. A century later, the Main Street Bridge remains open and in continuous use. Learning Objectives 1. Discuss history and development of early reinforced-concrete systems in the United States, specifically the San Francisco Bay Area. 2. Describe concrete reinforcement types used for constructing the Alvord Lake Bridge, the Leland Stanford Junior Museum, and the Main Street Bridge. 3. Describe our firm’s experience with restoring the Alvord Lake Bridge and the Leland Stanford Junior Museum. 4. Compare concrete reinforcement encountered during the restoration work with what is written about the original construction.
Wednesday, July 29th: Education and Stakeholder-Engaged Practice: Session 1
All in the Family: Bringing conservation to early learning / Ellen Chase, Matthew Lasnoski, and Laura Hoffman
07/29/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes
07/29/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes In 2016-2017, the Freer|Sackler, the Smithsonian’s museums of Asian art, piloted “Art & Me,” a series of hands-on family workshops introducing basic conservation principles to children aged 3 to 5 and their caretakers. Based on the success of the pilot, the museum has developed a permanent program of four workshops held twice a year, to be supplemented with accompanying online videos and downloadable activities. Starting this year, the program has expanded within the Smithsonian by forming a collaboration with the Lunder Conservation Center at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, which doubles the offerings for families. Originally developed collaboratively by the F|S departments of Conservation and Scientific Research and Public and Scholarly Engagement, the workshops are designed to encourage young children and their caretakers to enjoy art and art museums, to learn developmentally appropriate foundational skills in both art and science, and to gain in social skills by working together as a family. The workshops address the preservation of cultural heritage, first by avoiding potential damage and then by responding to damage that has occurred. The lesson plans include documentation and observation of artworks as an important component of art conservation, as well as the concept of prevention as a component of art conservation, not just active intervention. Lastly, the workshops include an art-making component as a way for families to explore materials through hands-on experimentation. By connecting familiar objects and activities to the world’s cultural heritage and its conservation, the initiative aims to be proactive in fostering a new generation that intrinsically and intuitively understands the importance of participating in, or at least supporting, the goal of preserving that cultural heritage, both in museums such as the Smithsonian and worldwide. Because the museum’s family programs are more diverse than its regular attendees, “Art & Me” also provides an important entry point for young people to become involved in the museum and visibility to behind-the-scenes museum work. Integral to the “Art & Me” program is the evaluation and assessment of each workshop. Upon launching in 2016, there was some skepticism that children as young as 3 years old could understand and benefit from such a program. As such, a goal of the pilot program and its evaluation process was not only to determine an effective way to introduce conservation to early learners, but also to demonstrate that it would indeed be of benefit to them. Assessments of participants to date indicate overall visitor experience satisfaction and repeat visitation to the museum. The session will discuss this audience feedback and how staff has reacted and evolved the program based on this research.
Outreach and Education Through Collections Care: A Case Study with Central High School in Philadelphia / Melissa King, Joelle Wickens, and Andrea Keefe
07/29/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes
07/29/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes Central High School in Philadelphia, the second oldest continuously public high school in the United States, has a large collection of important cultural artifacts. These include paintings and works of art on paper by and of alumni, an archive documenting the more than 183 year history of the school, and the David Rilling Collection which largely consists of works from Africa and Oceania. Andrea Keefe, an art teacher at the school, saw the potential for this collection to have a positive impact in many different teaching situations. It could be used to build a deeper understanding of the world, broaden art history perspectives, bring material science to life, provide artistic inspiration, connect staff and students to new or less traditionally studied cultures, and so much more. Keefe identified cataloging and caring for the collection as the first steps in the process of making it an accessible, multi-disciplinary teaching tool. Her work to take these steps led her to faculty at the Winterthur/University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation (WUDPAC). In May 2018, preventive conservator, Joelle Wickens, led a group of first year graduate students through the process of a preventive conservation assessment of the collection and the school that houses it. The goals were to begin to train conservation students in the process of collection care surveys and offer short- and long-term goals for the school to move forward with a preservation plan. The following year, Melissa King, a preventive conservation major at WUDPAC, developed a collection care training program for students at the school. It included guidelines for regular housekeeping, dry-surface cleaning, and integrated pest management. Determining that visual media could be an effective way to educate high school students and encourage the continuation of preventive care of the school’s collection, Melissa created several short videos with information on vacuuming techniques, and compiled a library of existing collections care videos to put into a lesson plan. The project has also presented opportunities for WUDPAC students and faculty to teach at the school within the AP Environmental Science classes, illustrating the fascinating ways that art and science can come together. Teaching preventive conservation in this setting is an excellent way to introduce conservation to students that are less likely to be exposed to our field, teach a new and exciting type of applied science at a high school level, preserve school history, and bring more meaning to the cultural artifacts that enliven the halls of the school.
Sociopolitical Flux, Conversation, and Difficult Heritage
07/29/2020 at 3:38 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes
07/29/2020 at 3:38 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes In times of great political, social, and economic change, questions about the preservation and narration of difficult heritage can come forward with particular force. This presentation explores the ways in which changes in cultural values can impact the conservation of public monuments and artworks, how conservators can impact interventions and narratives, and whether our thinking about conservation ethics is evolving as it becomes clear that, through our work as conservators, we can impact issues of social justice. As the value (or lack of value) of America’s confederate monuments has entered mainstream, public discussion, questions about the roles of conservators in the preservation/maintenance of difficult heritage have also entered public discourse. Thinking about the ways in which other countries have, and are, tackling questions about difficult heritage resulted in the author’s embarking on an eleven-month-long Rome Prize fellowship. The fellowship provided space, time, and resources to investigate and consider the preservation of difficult heritage in Italy, to learn about the history of and approaches to the conservation and narration of fascist monuments, and to think about how these approaches might inform the conservation of difficult heritage here in the US. Throughout the cities and towns of Italy, particularly Rome, many fascist monuments are physically tethered to the landscape in the form of buildings and roads still in use today. Both pragmatic and ideological reasons lie behind the creation and survival of so many of Italy’s fascist monuments and works. How they are viewed and valued today versus at the time of their erection is complicated, as is the question of how communities, bureaucrats, and conservators approach the preservation of these politically charged sites and objects. Time spent looking at the physical and ideological implications of changing narratives and values on fascist monuments, and in discussion and collaboration with Italian scholars - who are just beginning to address their country’s difficult heritage in a systematic way- resulted in a closer look at several specific interventions which will be presented here as case studies. These different interventions (in Rome, Predappio, and Bolzano) resulted in the restoration of a work’s original intent, the re-purposing of an historic site, the re-contextualization of historic and historical objects, and in the generation of new discussions and analyses about important fascist monuments. These case studies illustrate ways in which narratives and the meaning around difficult heritage sites and monuments change with evolving sociopolitical climates, geography, and more. The case studies show, too, how conservation interventions can inspire change in interpretation and meaning, and also suggest ways in which conservation ethics might be evolving in response to our changing world. Author - Joannie Bottkol was the American Academy in Rome's 2018-2019 Booth Family Rome Prize recipient. Between 2013 and 2018 she worked as an objects conservator for the National Park Service’s (NPS) NE Region, returning to the position after her research year abroad. Prior to joining the NPS, Joannie was the Andrew W. Mellon Fellow in Objects Conservation at the Brooklyn Museum. She received an MA in Art History and Advanced Certificate in Conservation from the Conservation Center of the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University and holds an undergraduate degree in Art History from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. She worked in finance in New York City for ten years before returning to graduate school for conservation. Joannie is a member of the New England Conservation Association (NECA) and a Professional Associate of AIC. In 2018 she published “Reasons for Removing Biological Growth from Calcareous Stone” with an NPS colleague in the book Biodeterioration and Preservation in Art, Archaeology and Architecture. In 2019, her co-authored article “Collecting Collections: Negotiating the Complexities of Material Value at the National Park Service,” appeared in JAIC's Volume 58, Issue 4.
Treating Tuskegee’s Dioramas: A Perspective on Inclusive and Collaborative Treatments Between Institutions / LaStarsha McGarity, Amanda Kasman, Julianna Ly
07/29/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes
07/29/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes As of June 2020, fifty-two competitively selected students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) participated in collaborative summer initiatives aimed to increase access by traditionally underrepresented minority groups to careers in the preservation of cultural heritage. The goal of these very successful initiatives is that they inspire similar collaborative efforts to foster long-lasting relationships between conservation and underrepresented institutions, and introduce current graduate students to more objects from diverse communities. The initiative began in 2016 when Dr. Jontyle Robinson, the Director and Curator of the Legacy Museum at Tuskegee University, and Dr. Caryl McFarlane, a Higher Education Diversity Programs and Strategy Consultant, formed the Alliance of HBCU Museums and Galleries with 18 member-HBCUs. The Alliance arose from the 2016 United Negro College Fund Mellon Teaching and Learning Institute at Tuskegee University’s Legacy Museum. In the winter of 2016, members of the Association of North American Graduate Programs in Conservation, the Yale Institute for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage, the American Institute for Conservation, and Winterthur Museum Garden, and Library, were gathered by the Alliance to acknowledge and address the lack of diversity within the conservation field. The goal of this meeting was to develop programs to engage underrepresented student populations in the field of cultural heritage and create a network to rectify historic marginalization. The pilot program, which began in the summer of 2017, introduced select HBCU students to technical art history through the Students and Mentors in Technical Art History (SMITAH) at the Yale Institute for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage, and art conservation at the Winterthur / University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation (WUDPAC). The hands-on conservation treatments performed by the HBCU students at Winterthur for the last three years have focused on historic dioramas from the Tuskegee University’s Legacy Museum collection of twenty original dioramas, created for the 1940 American Negro Exposition in Chicago. These dioramas depict and celebrate milestones in African and African American history. Four institutions have since joined this collaborative effort, creating additional programs that treated eight dioramas and engaged more students. These institutions include the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Patricia H. and Richard E. Garman Art Conservation Department at Buffalo State College, Fisk University, and Shelley Paine Conservation, LLC. Students representing ten HBCUs have participated in the intensive three-week summer program thus far. The students completed a comprehensive introduction to the field of technical art history and art conservation specialties, explored a range of analytical techniques used by conservators to investigate works of art, networked with conservators, museum professionals, fellow students and interns, to explore and continue their work in the field of conservation and museums.
Wednesday, July 29th: AIC Awards Presentation
Thursday, July 30th: Textiles and Wooden Artifacts Session
Holistic Gallery Restorations at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum / Holly Salmon
07/30/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes
07/30/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes Over the past 25 years, the conservation staff of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum has carried out several ambitious gallery restorations in order to return the original splendor of these spaces as envisioned by its founder. Opened in 1903, the building interior was designed to look like a 15th century Venetian palace in the heart of Boston, Massachusetts. Three floors of galleries surround a glass roofed central courtyard and house highly personal installations of paintings, sculpture, textiles and furniture that Gardner collected. Since her death in 1924, the museum has maintained the stipulation in Gardner’s will that the arrangement of objects remain unchanged and the collection held in trust, “as a Museum for the education and enjoyment of the public forever.” Under this mandate, and with such a wide variety of objects displayed together, preservation of the Gardner collection and installations, has been a challenge for many generations of museum staff. Past approaches to this problem have varied between restoration, replacement and reproduction. Often these valiant attempts, carried out through small projects over the course of many years, created significant alterations in the overall appearance of individual galleries. Examples include the replacement of multiple patterns of deteriorated original wall upholstery with only a few patterns of modern textiles and changing of wood flooring materials to improve durability while sacrificing original color and pattern. More recently, and working in collaboration with departments across the museum and specialists in various fields, the conservation staff has undertaken a more holistic approach to gallery restorations, considering everything from floor to ceiling and in between. Galleries with wall upholstery presented some of the most complicated and exciting projects requiring extensive research, planning for deinstallation and storage of the collection, installation of multiple new wall fabrics and associated conservation treatments. In many cases these projects were undertaken while remaining open to the public, offering a separate set of challenges but also an opportunity for education and interpretation around Gardner’s installations, the history of the museum and our work to preserve it. This talk will also examine the rationale and benefits for approaching a project in this way, the lessons learned, as well as some of the fascinating discoveries made along the way.
Frosting on the Cake: Creating a Showcover, Substructure and Underupholstery for Marie-Antoinette’s Fauteuil from her Cabinet Intèrieur at Versailles / Nancy Britton
07/30/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes
07/30/2020 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.
Collaborative reconstruction: Exhibiting a loose cover for an easy chair / Gretchen Guidess and Leroy Graves
07/30/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes
07/30/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes Conservators at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation were faced with a rare treat; how to display an 1820s loose cover for an easy chair. Loose covers were made to fit furnishings throughout the 18th and 19th centuries and even today to protect expensive show covers and to provide a detachable and launderable seating cover. Often easy chair forms contained a chamber pot accessible once the cover was pulled aside. The cover was found amongst a rich cache of family heirlooms in North Carolina, an area of the Southeast studied by the Foundation. The cover is constructed from a blue copper plate printed cotton depicting several agrarian vignettes of men, women, and children engaged in various activities: harvesting wheat, bringing in the hay, hunting, traveling by coach, cooking and visiting out of doors, and what may be men active in road maintenance. Major seams are turned to the outside and covered with undyed twill tape. Although the cover survived, the chair for which it was constructed for did not. Numerous easy chairs demonstrate the longevity of chair frames preserved in collections but few extant examples of the loose covers that were made to fit them endure. The private owners generously made this rare surviving cover available for study and display. In preparation for its exhibition in Printed Fashions: Textiles for Clothing and Home at the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum, an easy chair mount was made to display the cover. Taking from a range of approaches used in upholstery conservation Graves combined them with rare earth magnets to produce a mount that reconstructed the size and appearance of the easy chair. Guidess treated the most compromised areas of the cover with custom-dyed supporting fabrics and sheer overlays. Close collaboration with the wooden artifact, upholstery, and textile conservators alongside talented volunteer furniture makers produced a display that made the cover intelligible and interpretable. To dress the cover onto its display mount it was assembled inside the cover, piece by piece, with the aid of many hands.
Biohazard at the Palace: Collaborative Response in Collection Care for Historic Interiors / Annika Blake-Howard and Gretchen Guidess
07/30/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes
07/30/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation maintains a range of historic interiors in its Historic Area, housed both in reconstructed and original structures. Many of the interiors, especially those within reconstructed buildings, provide opportunities to expand visitor experience through in-depth interpretive programming. To support this aspect of the educational mission, some interiors have faithful reproductions, sometimes alongside period decorative art pieces. This confluence means that maintenance and preservation are critical to keeping expensive reproductions attractive and functional while permitting guests to have a seat and speak with costumed interpreters. Collection care within the Historic Area is conducted by 13 staff members in the Historic Interiors and Collections Care (HICC) team. They provide daily inspection and maintenance as well as coordinate closely with building supervisors, who are tasked with the operation of each site. HICC team members bring a variety of skill sets and regularly train and practice every aspect of preventive conservation. When incidents happen within the historic interiors the HICC team is frequently the first to respond. Curators, registrars, and conservators provide support to preservation efforts in each of their respective specialty. As often has been seen across the field collaboration is key for preserving historic interiors. Of frequent occurrence, but little discussed, is response and mitigation of visitor created biohazards in historic interiors. For the most part these incidents involve vomit. For this reason, every member of HICC undergoes annual biohazard awareness and remediation training. A set of backpacks is prepped and ready to dispatch necessary supplies to respond to these biohazard events. Colonial Williamsburg is fortunate to host about 600,000 visitors and school groups each year, but the physical effects of walking around in the summer heat of Virginia can take its toll, as was experienced by a young visitor who became ill in the Palace. This event provides an opportunity to demonstrate how historic interpretation staff, conservation technicians, and conservators worked together to stop and remediate damage to a fully upholstered reproduction back stool in the Upper Middle Room of the Governor’s Palace. Having preexisting biohazard protocols, interpretation staff trained in both biohazard and conservation awareness, and technicians trained in biohazard remediation allowed for a speedy response that was safe for guests, staff, and the object affected. The rapid deployment and thorough response ensured the success of the subsequent treatment and allowed the return of the back stool to the Palace.
Friday, July 31st: A Failure Shared is Not a Failure: Learning from Our Mistakes
A Failure Shared is not a Failure: Making Mistakes in Conservation
07/31/2020 at 4:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes
07/31/2020 at 4:00 PM (EDT)   |  120 minutes