Each team member understands their responsibility for protecting objects
Who are the typical members of the exhibit team and what are their conservation responsibilities?
- To take an exhibit from the initial planning stage through design, fabrication and installation involves many team members undertaking different roles. And each role has its particular responsibility for ensuring that conservation will be effectively integrated into the exhibit.
- Team membership will vary in size depending on the scope of the project and the institution. Large-scale projects may require additional participants, such as a historian, security specialist, or lighting expert. Teams in smaller institutions, on the other hand, will have fewer members and each team member may wear many hats.
- The important point is that, regardless of team size, these various roles with their related conservation responsibilities should be assigned to a team member.
- A common distribution of roles, with their associated responsibility for conservation issues, is as follows:
- • Manager/ or project manager: has final responsibility for the inclusion of adequate preservation measures including an adequate budget for conservation spending
- • Exhibit coordinator/ developer/ curator/ planner: creates the concept for the exhibit and therefore bears responsibility for ensuring the appropriate use of objects and appropriate object selection. The coordinator should ensure that conservation concerns are included throughout exhibit development and production.
- • Registrar: responsible for ensuring adequate documentation and tracking of exhibit objects; assists with the proper storage, packing and transporting of objects.
- • Exhibit conservator: ensures exhibit objects can withstand the rigors of display and assesses what preservation safeguards they will need during exhibit; provides ongoing technical advice and assistance concerning conservation.
- • Collections manager: responsible for ensuring adequate documentation and tracking of exhibit objects; assists with monitoring for pests, and providing proper storage, packing, and transporting of objects.
- • Designer: responsible for ensuring that the exhibit design incorporates appropriate conservation features to mitigate damage and meet the exhibit objects’ conservation requirements.
- • Fabricator: responsible for constructing exhibit structures and furnishings according to specifications so that conservation features function as intended
- • Exhibit installer: responsible for timely installation so that exhibit structures are in place before object installation is scheduled to begin; secures exhibit furniture and paneling so that these will not endanger objects. Removes dust and particulates before object installation begins; and takes extra precautions for any modification or additional installation once objects are in place.
- • Mount Maker: designs mounts that protect objects from vibration and fulfill conservation requirements allowing for safe object rotation, security, etc.; sometimes will install exhibit objects.
What are the benefits of familiarizing all team members with conservation issues?
- While the exhibit coordinator, the exhibit conservator, and the exhibit designer have the greatest influence over object preservation, each person involved in the exhibit process bears some responsibility for protecting museum objects during the exhibit process and while on exhibit.
- Each team member should therefore be familiar with the principles of conservation, the environmental hazards objects face, and the techniques for safe handling and care of objects.
- A shared understanding of the principles of object conservation will:
- • Encourage team members to commit to the extra effort a preservation-friendly exhibit requires.
- • Provide team members with the knowledge they need in order to collaborate effectively on a successful exhibit.
What are some ways to provide all team members with a grounding in conservation?
- • Ask the team conservator to arrange introductory conservation training for those individuals with limited familiarity.
- • Provide team members with training resources such as videos and manuals.
- • Ask all team members to familiarize themselves with these Exhibit Conservation Standards and Guidelines.
Resources: Links to websites, bibliography
Provide links to relevant websites: AIC, Getty CCI MCI ICCROM ICOM
Books on conservation and exhibits by: Pam Hatchfield, Tetreault, Stollow, Michalksi
Videos: CCI Prev. Con. In Exhibits