Sustainable Practices

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Welcome to the Sustainable Practices Wiki

This page is maintained by members of the American Institute for Conservation's Sustainability Committee [1].

The Sustainability Committee was founded in August 2008 as the Green Task Force (GTF) with the initial mission to evaluate U.S. conservators’ current awareness of sustainability and how we are working towards more appropriate practices in institutions and private businesses. In September 2010 the GTF became a committee called the Committee for Sustainable Conservation Practices (CSCP). In July 2013 the CSCP renamed itself to the Sustainability Committee to clarify our objectives, to appeal to a wider audience, and to increase its visibility.

The committee charge is as follows:

  • Provide resources for AIC members and other caretakers of cultural heritage regarding environmentally sustainable approaches to preventive care and other aspects of conservation practice. Resources may be provided via electronic media, workshops, publications and presentations.
  • Define Research topics and suggest working groups as needed to explore sustainable conservation practices and new technologies.

The information in the pages listed below has been gathered by the committee and is continuously updated. Contact the SC at [email protected] with any questions, comments, or tips on sustainability and the conservation or historic and artistic works.

Sustainability Committee

Roxy Sperber, Committee Chair, Clowes Associate Conservator of Paintings, Indianapolis Museum of Art

Rachel Childers, Committee Vice Chair, Graduate Student, SUNY Buffalo State Class of 2020

Christine Oricchio, Committee Secretary, Museum Specialist, National Museum of the American Indian

Annabelle F. Camp Graduate Student, WUDPAC Class of 2022

Christine Romano Conservator of Paintings, Romano Conservation, LLC

Samantha Springer Conservator, Specialty in Sculpture and Variable Media, Portland Art Museum

Kate Fugett Objects Conservator, American Museum of Natural History,

Rebecca Kennedy Collections Care Specialist, Curae Collections Care, LLC

Amy Crist Book and Paper Conservator for Special Collections, University of Michigan Library

Introduction to Sustainability

Sustainability and your institutional mandate
Sustainability and professional codes of ethics and guidelines for practice
Sustainability and the Conservation Specialties

Sustainable Material Use and Disposal

Recycling Materials
Hazardous Waste Management
Creating Housing
Exhibition Cases

Information about Specific Materials

Paper Found in Conservation Labs and its Recyclability
Water Purification and Sustainability
Water Use in Conservation
Reducing Water Use in Conservation

Sustainable Energy Use

Environmental Controls
Lighting Choices
Energy-Efficient Lighting Control Strategies

Sustainability Case Studies

Publications and Projects by the Sustainability Committee

AIC Newsletter Articles

Beginning the Green Task Force This page is based on two articles published in AIC News in July and September 2008.
"When the Well’s Dry, We Know the Worth of Water" This page is based on an article published in AIC News: Nunberg, Sarah. (2011) "When the Well’s Dry, We Know the Worth of Water." AICNews 36(2): 12-13.
Plastics are Forever: Wraps, Tools, Films and Containers used in Conservation Practice This page is based on an article published in AIC News in 2011.
Hazardous Waste: Where on Earth Should it Go? by Denise Stockman with contributions from members of the AIC Committee on Sustainable Conservation Practice. This article was originally published in Vol. 38 No. 2 of AIC News, March 2013, pg. 12-15.
Can White Paper be Green? by Melissa Tedone and Robin Ohern, published in AIC News, September 2013, Vol. 38, No. 5, pg. 9-11.
An Introduction to How the Manufacturing and Disposal of Adhesives and Paints Affects our Environment by Robin O’Hern, Geneva Griswold, Mary Elizabeth Haude, and Jia-sun Tsang as part of The Sustainability Committee, May 2015, Vol. 40, No. 3, pg. 14-17
Sustaining the Unsustainable: Mitigation and Monitoring for Modern Materials By Whitney Baker, Kelly McCauley, and Jia-sun Tsang for the AIC Sustainability Committee, September 2015, published in AIC News
Dangerous Detergents? Health and Safety answers for surfactant questions by Laura Mina and Geneva Griswold, May 2017, published in AIC News
Museum-Quality and Sustainable by Christian Hernandez, September 2017, published in AIC News


Green Task Force Survey Summary Report Presented at the Issue Session of AIC's 37th Annual Meeting on May 21, 2009, Los Angeles, CA by Patricia Silence, Chair
Green Task Force 2010 AIC Presentation
Sustainable Practices 2011 Survey Results This page is based on an article published in AICNews in 2012.
Lunch session at 40th Annual Meeting. "Linking the Environment and Heritage Conservation: Presentations, Tips, and Discussions"
Life Cycle Assessment Project (LCA)
5.8 Life Cycle Assessments: Lighting, HVAC, Loans, and Treatments poster presented at the 42nd Annual Meeting in San Francisco, May 2014
Tips Sheet for Emerging Conservation Professionals handout for students and emerging conservation professionals, updated in 2018
Material Matters tips poster displayed at the 2018 Annual meeting vendor hall booth


Cost Effective and Sustainable Packing, Moving, and Storage coordinated by Geneva Griswald and Christian Hernandez on December 1, 2015
Examining the Environmental Impact of Exhibitions and Loans using the Life Cycle Assessment Tool coordinated by Sarah Nunberg on December 8, 2015

“AIC Annual Conference Program”

Works Cited and Further Reading