PR and Outreach-Angels Projects
Angels Projects refer to volunteer conservation projects organized and led by conservation professionals, usually in partnership with a host institution or repository. The purpose of the projects are to provide collections in need of conservation services with exposure to conservators interested in contributing their expertise. Projects may include preventive conservation activities such as rehousing, inventories and surveys, and remedial conservation treatment. The projects are also an opportunity for the conservation professionals to advise and train staff members from the host institutions, and to promote conservation.
Since 1988, as part of its Annual Meeting, AIC has worked with local conservators to develop an Angels Project. According to the AIC website, the primary goal of an Angels Project is to promote a broader understanding of the importance of cultural preservation while providing meaningful assistance to important local collections. Sites for past projects include the Naval Historical Center in Washington, D.C. and the American Alpine Club in Golden, Colorado.Here is a link to more information about previous AIC Angels Projects
Angels projects are also organized by regional conservation organizations, including the Western Association for Art Conservation (WAAC), the Costume Society of America (CSA) and the Washington Conservation Guild (WCG). The WCG provides information on their website about how funding is raised, the requirements for the host site, and a timeline for planning. A link to this information can be found here.
Interested in organizing an Angels Project? Here are a few tips:
- Once host collection is chosen, designate a site coordinator for that collection to provide guidance and to assist in organization.
- Meet with the site coordinator early on in the process to discuss possible project(s) and to identify needs such as supplies, tools, and number of people needed. Keep in mind the space available to work in - the space may only accommodate a certain number of volunteers.
- Once project is fleshed out and materials/tools, etc. are identified, create a budget.
- Discuss materials/tools needed and budget with site coordinator to see what they are able to provide.
- To fund all additional supplies, consider applying for grant funding and/or asking for donations from conservation suppliers. For more information about grants that may fund Angels Projects, see section on grants, below.
- Meet again with site coordinator just before project day to discuss final details, organization, and the plan for the day. Being very organized will help maximize efficiency and will be very helpful for the volunteers.
- Consider providing refreshments for all volunteers. The host collection often is able to provide food/drinks for volunteers on the day of the project.
- Consider transportation. Where is the project site and how easy is it for volunteers to access it? Is the Angels Project being organized in conjunction with a conference? If so, many people may not have vehicles. Consider renting a van to transport volunteers to the site if needed, or find out about public transportation options.
- If possible, communicate in advance with volunteers about what the project will involve, to let them know if they need to bring their own tools, and to lay out expectations. If this is done ahead of time, less time will be needed for these things on the day of the project.
- Documentation Don't forget to document the project with notes and photos. Ask your volunteers to take photos and consider asking someone to blog about the project for the AIC blog. After the project is over, prepare a report for the host institution, informing them of all work accomplished and any recommendations for the future.
- Press release Consider writing a press release and submitting it to local news outlets. For more information on writing a press release, follow this link.
Grants to fund Angels Projects
- FAIC Regional Angels Grants offers grants of up to $1,000 toward the development and implementation of Angels Projects not associated with AIC's Annnual Meeting. Funds are to help defray organizational costs, necessary materials and supplies and other expenses such as marketing and publicity. Materials and supplies should also be augmented through donations outside of FAIC. Deadlines for receipt of applications are February 15 and September 15.
- Michigan Alliance for the Conservation of Cultural Heritage Angels Projects
- Indigo Arts Alliance has several difference grants to support conservation professionals and projects