CAN! Conversations: When we say “stakeholder”...what are we talking about?

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The terms “stakeholder” and “stakeholder management” are frequently used by conservators of contemporary art and artifacts as a tool to reference people who have vested interests in the cultural heritage in our care particularly as the conservation field evolves toward value-based decision making. As the origin of the term “stakeholder” references a power dynamic, it may imply that we, the caretakers and owners of the cultural property, are deciding who to "include” (or “exclude”) in our stewardship of these items. However, these are typically not decisions that should be a conservator’s alone depending on the context of working in a museum, with a private collector, gallery or artist. When the term is used, what are we really expressing? 

The history of the term "stakeholder" will serve as the foundation for a discussion about how we decide who to include, how to define invested communities, and whether alternative terms to reference these groups may be more applicable for the field of conservation. Case studies from public art and the National September 11 Memorial & Museum will highlight the benefits and challenges of community informed conservation decision-making. 

Chris McGlinchey

Conservation Science Consultant


Chris McGlinchey is a conservation scientist with a master’s degree in polymer science and engineering. He has thirty-five years of museum experience, all of it based in New York; First at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and then at the Museum of Modern Art.  Chris also taught conservation science in the conservation program at NYU. Currently, he’s a consultant and projects include collaboration between NYU and U Akron on a BEVA lining adhesive project and serves as a liaison between the Beirut Museum of Art and chemistry and physics departments at American University, Beirut. Finally, he’s contracted with Taylor and Francis, working on a book titled The Science of Craft in Conservation, subtitle tbd!

Jane Henderson

Professor of Conservation

Cardiff University Programme in Conservation/Care of Collections

Jane Henderson teaches conservation and collection care at Cardiff University. Jane is the Secretary General of the International Institute for Conservation and serves on the editorial panel Icon’s Journal, is a co-opted member of the Welsh Federation of Museum and Art Galleries.  Jane serves on the European standards body CEN TC 346 WG11 and is the chair of the BSI standard group B/560 concerned with the conservation of Tangible Cultural heritage. Jane was honoured to win the Plowden medal in 2021.

Kerith Koss Schrager

Head of Conservation

National September 11 Memorial & Museum

Kerith Koss Schrager is an objects conservator and Head of Conservation at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum. Kerith specializes in occupational health and safety for cultural heritage workers and has degrees in both Environmental Health Sciences (2022) and Conservation (2008) from New York University.  Prior to her current position, she was the owner of The Found Object Art Conservation, LLC and has also held positions with the Brooklyn Museum, Field Museum, and National Museum of Asian Art of the Smithsonian. Kerith also serves as adjunct faculty at the Conservation Center of the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University. She is a Professional Associate member of the American Institute for Conservation (AIC) and a former Chair of both their Health & Safety Network and Conservators in Private Practice (CIPP) Specialty Group.

Laleña Arenas Vellanoweth

Civic Art Conservation and Collections Manager

Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture

Laleña Arenas Vellanoweth is a textile conservator and cultural worker in Los Angeles, CA. She received her B.S. in Biochemistry and B.A. in Art from California State University, Los Angeles and MA in Art History and Certificate in Conservation from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University. She has held conservation positions at the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. She then worked as an independent conservator at the Autry Museum of the American West, the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, La Plaza de Cultura y Artes, and Los Angeles County Museum of Art.  During a conservation education fellowship for the UCLA/Getty Program, Laleña co-authored the grant for the Andrew W. Mellon Opportunity for Diversity in Conservation and served as the Program Manager for its first cohort. She is currently the Conservation and Collections Manager for the Civic Art Division of the Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture.

Jessica Walthew (Moderator)

Objects Conservator

Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum

Jessica Walthew is an objects conservator at Cooper Hewitt, working with both the Product Design & Decorative arts and Digital collections. Her research interests include the history and theory of conservation, and technical research, especially with imaging technologies. Her current work focuses on plastics (both their conservation and cultural history). She served as co-curator of Natural Plastics (2019) at Cooper Hewitt and is currently researching the use of bioplastics in design.

Martha Singer (Moderator)

Chief Conservator

Material Whisperer

Martha Singer is an art conservator who specializes in modern and contemporary sculpture in the New York City area. She is responsible for the Nevelson Chapel as well as public and private collections that feature indoor and outdoor contemporary art. Martha received a BA from Bard College and a diploma in conservation from New York University.  Martha has published on modern artists, their intentions and working techniques. Martha is a Fellow of the AIC.


04/12/2024 at 12:00 PM (EDT)  |  90 minutes
04/12/2024 at 12:00 PM (EDT)  |  90 minutes