6.1 2012 Annual Conference Program

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This page is maintained by the Sustainability Committee at the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (AIC). It is intended to provide information about sustainable practices for AIC members, conservation/preservation professionals, and other interested parties within the cultural heritage profession. Please send comments and suggestions to sustainability(at)conservation-us.org.


1.1 Conference Theme and General Information

Theme: Connecting to Conservation: Outreach and Advocacy

Date and Location: The 40th Annual AIC Meeting was held in Albuquerque, NM from May 8-11, 2012

Synopsis: The theme of this annual meeting is outreach and advocacy in conservation, an exploration of how conservation connects with allied professionals, the press, our clients, and the general public. This meeting will feature a General Session format very different than in years past. For the 40th Annual Meeting, in addition to one session where all attendees gather to hear a selection of presenters, there will be other breakout sessions where a wide array of topics pertaining to the overall theme will be addressed in topical conversations presented in smaller group settings rather than a large lecture format. [1]


2.1 (Sustainability Luncheon) Linking the Environment and Heritage Conservation 2013: Presentation, Tips and Discussion

Speakers: Braden Allenby, PhD, Sustainability and Conservation of the Human Past Sustainability Scientist, Global Institute of Sustainability, Arizona State University; Lincoln Professor of Engineering and Ethics, School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering; Director, Center for Earth Systems Engineering and Management Matt Eckelmann, PhD, Environmental Considerations in Art Conservation; Assistant Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Northeastern University

2.2 Abstract

The Committee on Sustainable Conservation Practice lunch session will include two speakers in environmental conservation and four tips on art and heritage conservation. The speakers will give an overview of current essential issues in environmental conservation and how they relate to our conservation field. They will also address practical issues concerning materials and solvent use, and will discuss how green chemistry applies to our work. The session will also include tips by 4 conservators who will present on how they have incorporated sustainable practices into their work by retrofitting exhibition cases and rehousing collections, reducing energy costs within collections environments and reconsidering water treatment. We have also put ample time aside for an engaged, educational discussion session and will display posters with sustainable benchmarks and our 2011 survey results.

Post Conference News

From the July 2012 Vol. 37, No. 4, pg 3 issue of AIC News: The Sustainable Conservation Practice Committee presented “Linking Environmental and Heritage Conservation.” Two speakers anchored the program. Brad Allenby defined four components of sustainability: economic, environmental, social, and cultural. He suggested that environmental responsibility was critical but not sufficient to meet the requirements of cultural sustainability, and urged us to focus on additional factors, including heritage conservation. Matt Eckelmann discussed the importance of the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and its use in evaluating conservation materials. He pointed out that although an awareness of the environmental impact of materials used in conservation is important, the greatest environmental effects stem from transportation. Michael Henry led a discussion panel about the need for sustainability in building and collection materials. A series of tips were also discussed, including methods for retrofitting exhibition cases at the Smithsonian Institution, materials testing for ecofriendly materials at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum, the reduction of energy costs at Colonial Williamsburg, and sustainable methods for water purification.

Laura Word spoke briefly about National Endowment for Humanities (NEH) grants for Sustaining Cultural Heritage Collections and said that they were intended to encourage the sustainable implementation of preventive conservation projects using methods that balance preservation goals, cost, and environmental impact. Since 2009, the program has encouraged collaboration between architects, engineers, facilities managers, administrators, and curators. Because the NEH recognizes the important contributions conservators have to offer, it has required since 2010 that conservators be included in the project team