Sustainable Practices

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This page is maintained by members of AIC's Sustainability Committee (formerly known as both the Committee on Sustainable Conservation Practice and the Green Task Force). The initial mission of the group was to evaluate US conservators’ current awareness of sustainability and how we are working towards more appropriate practices in institutions and private businesses. 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.

Contact at [email protected]

Introduction to Sustainability

1.1 What is Sustainability?
1.2 A Brief History of Sustainability in Museums, Archives, Libraries and other Cultural Institutions
1.3 Conferences, Workshops, Webcasts
1.4 Blogs and Websites

Studio and Lab Practices

2.1 Choosing and Using Materials
2.2 Reuse and Exchange
2.3 Recycling
2.4 Resources for Managing a Sustainable Laboratory
2.5 Water Purification and Use
2.6 Information About the Sustainability of Conservation Materials

Sustainable Solvent Use

3.1 Solvent Use
3.2 Solvent Choice
3.3 Environmentally Friendly Solvent Substitutions
3.4 Solvent Storage
3.5 Disposal: Evaporate, Dump, or Dispose as Hazardous Waste?
3.6 Bibliography

Beyond the Bench: Facility-Wide Considerations

4.1 Efficiency Standards and Best Practices
4.2 Energy Consumption
4.3 Waste Management
4.4 Environmental Controls
4.5 Exhibitions / Loans
4.6 Lighting
4.7 Starting a Green Committee
4.8 Finding Green Funding
4.9 Case Studies
4.10 References
4.11 Further Reading About Facility-Wide Considerations


5.1 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.
5.2 Water Purification Methods and Environmental Considerations 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.
5.3 Sustainable Practices 2011 Survey Results This page is based on an article published in AICNews in 2012.
5.4 Lunch session at 40th Annual Meeting. "Linking the Environment and Heritage Conservation: Presentations, Tips, and Discussions"
5.5 Life Cycle Assessment Project (LCA)
5.6 Hazardous Waste: Where on Earth Should it Go? This article was originally published in Vol. 38 No. 2 of AIC News, March 2013. [1]
5.7 Can White Paper be Green? published in AIC News, September 2013, Vol. 38, No. 5 [2]
5.8 Life Cycle Assessments: Lighting, HVAC, Loans, and Treatments poster presented at the 42nd Annual Meeting in San Francisco, May 2014
5.9 Tips for Sustainable Conservation Practices handout for students and emerging conservation professionals, August 2016

AIC Annual Conference Program

6.1 2012 Annual Conference Program 40th Annual Meeting in Albuquerque, NM
6.2 2013 Annual Conference Program 41st Annual Meeting in Indianapolis, IN
6.3 2014 Annual Conference Program 42nd Annual Meeting in San Francisco, CA
6.4 2015 Annual Conference Program 43rd Annual Meeting in Miami, FL
6.5 2016 Annual Conference Program 44th Annual Meeting in Montreal, Canada
6.6 2017 Annual Conference Program 45th Annual Meeting in Chicago, IL