6.2 2013 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: The Contemporary in Conservation

Date and Location: The 41st Annual AIC Meeting was held in Indianapolis, IN from May 29- June 1, 2013

Synopsis: The theme of this meeting is The Contemporary in Conservation, focusing on contemporary approaches to conservation, not only the conservation of contemporary art, and will include perspectives from within as well as outside the field. In addition to the treatment of contemporary art, the conference will consider topics including: current issues in conservation and preservation, such as digitization, environmental sustainability or the effects of architectural design on the preservation of objects; current trends in exhibition design and the new challenges they present for preservation including greater physical access, longer display times and more touring exhibitions. In addition to conservators, we welcome participants from related professions. [1]


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

Speakers: The Committee on Sustainable Conservation Practices (CSCP)

2.2 Abstract

The Committee on Sustainable Conservation Practices (CSCP) is hosting its second annual luncheon session, which will consist of three parts: a progress report on the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) multi-phase project quantitatively evaluating each aspect of loans and exhibitions; two tips presentations; and an open microphone session where attendees will have the opportunity to present and discuss sustainable best practices.


3.1 Responsible Stewardship: Exploring Sustainability with Conservation

Speakers: Christian Hernandez

3.2 Abstract

The importance of sustainability is increasingly being mentioned in conservation literature such as the Museum Conservation Institute’s 2007-2017 Strategic Plan, which commented on the fact that cultural heritage, much like the environment, require responsible stewardship. The field of conservation is currently in flux as a result of what Jonathan Ashley-Smith, former head of conservation at the Victoria & Albert Museum, calls the “adolescence of the profession.” Looking through the lens of sustain-ability, this presentation will explore changes in conservation in regards to ethics, practices, and materials. Ethics form the backbone of the field of conservation, and the American Institute for Conservation’s Code of Ethics and Guidelines for Practice states how all risks—to co-workers, the public, and the environment—should be avoided. An artifact’s conservation should not come at the undue expense of the environment; we must find the nexus between doing what is right for the artifact while doing justice to the environment. This will be explored through codes of ethics around the world, discussions with professionals, and an exploration of past changes in ethics. In the name of preservation, conservators use energy, water, chemicals, materials, and produces waste. Perceptions about the link between caring for both the environment and cultural heritage are changing, and new information can be found throughout the field—at conference presentations, in blog posts, through scholarly articles, and informal discussions. This will be explored in-depth through examining several conservation practices, such as environmental monitoring, washing of textiles, and condition reporting with information sourced from all the previously mentioned places. As knowledge about materials has changed, so have our perceptions of their use in conservation. The concept of a sustainable conservation material, which is rooted in AIC’s Code of Ethics and Guidelines for Practice, will be explored and defined. Tips will be given on sourcing new materials and how they can be tested to ensure their safety for use in conservation with examples conducted by the presenter showing that recycled content materials Corogreen™ and Ethafoam®MRC, along with others, have passed with the same results as their widely accepted counterparts. At the heart of both conservation and sustainable thinking is taking the short and long-term effects of our actions into account. The long-term health of the environment ensures that there are still people to appreciate and care for cultural heritage, as well as those that create it. This presentation explores how contemporary conservation will adapt to a changing world.