Guideline 2.4

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Guideline 2.4:
The exhibit coordinator provides oversight to ensure that conservation concerns are addressed consistently throughout the exhibit process
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What is the exhibit coordinator’s essential responsibility in ensuring that exhibit objects are protected throughout the exhibit process?

From a conservation perspective, the essential functions of the exhibit coordinator (sometimes referred to as the exhibit planner, developer or curator) are:
• To facilitate conservation-related activities and ensure they are effectively integrated throughout all phases of the exhibit: scheduling realistic blocks of time for conservation work, ensuring that team members receive the necessary conservation documents and information, and making sure that the exhibit budget allocates adequate resources for conservation.
• To provide oversight of conservation-related activities to ensure they are completed in a timely and appropriate fashion.
Following are some of the specific conservation responsibilities of the exhibit coordinator.

What are the coordinator’s key conservation tasks during the exhibit process?

The exhibit coordinator bears ultimate responsibility for making sure that conservation is efficiently integrated into the exhibit process:
• Ensures all activities necessary for effective object conservation are included in the schedule and allocates sufficient time for them to be completed. These activities include but are not limited to:
• Assessments that will be used to set the exhibit objects’ conservation requirements (such as, object assessment, collecting environmental data in the exhibit location, security assessment)
• Object conservation treatment
• Meetings to discuss preservation strategies
• A production schedule that allows sufficient time to execute the agreed-upon preservation measures, including time to inspect and test exhibit case construction and to modify conservation features, and time for cases to cure
• Sufficient time for a methodical and safe installation
(For more information on scheduling see Guideline 1.2.)
• Ensures all discussions and planning for exhibit design, production and maintenance reflect the goal of object preservation.
• Includes the exhibit conservator as a participant in planning meetings

The coordinator provides oversight of conservation-related activities during the exhibit process:
• Ensures all activities necessary for conservation of objects are completed.
• Ensures that conservation features perform as required for object protection:
• Prototypes are built and tested as needed, and exhibit components are tested.
• During exhibit installation, the temperature and humidity of the exhibit systems (including heating due to exhibit lighting) are monitored, light levels are checked, and necessary adjustments are made.
• The performance of exhibit cases is reviewed and necessary adjustments made

The coordinator ensures efficient flow of conservation-related information to all team members and outside contractors:
• Provides documents and information the conservator will need for setting the conservation requirements:
• The conservator is provided any information that helps describe the conditions objects will face while on display, including the exhibit proposal, data on the environmental conditions of the proposed location, information on the museum’s pest control practices.
• The conservator is provided all loan agreements for objects borrowed from other institutions. These will describe the length of the loan, the current condition of the object, and any security and conservation requirements.
• Ensures the exhibit team receives the conservation requirements. These will be used to determine what damage mitigation strategies should be used to protect objects while on exhibit.
• Ensures finalized conservation treatment reports and condition reports are forwarded to the museum or required parties.
(For more information on object documentation see Guideline 3.4)
• Provides detailed information on objects to outside contractors to avoid sending the objects to contractors and exposing them to risks of excessive handling and travel.

The coordinator has responsibility for ensuring sound collections management
• Schedules training in safe handling practices for exhibit team members, as needed. And distributes information from the conservator on safe handling practices to team members.
• Ensures all exhibit objects have appropriate documentation and labeling.
• Provides a clean and secure holding area for exhibit objects, with proper storage conditions, tables and work lamp.
• Dedicates a space for design work and for mock-ups of layouts and object groupings, and for fitting mounts.
• Ensures all transported exhibit objects receive proper packing preparation and transport.
(For more information on collections care see STANDARD 3: Collection Care Practices.)
(For more information on object transportation see STANDARD 4: Transportation of Objects.)

The exhibit coordinator is responsible for keeping conservation features in working order for the duration of the exhibit
• The coordinator works with the conservator to ensure:
• A maintenance manual for the exhibit is developed by the conservator. This should list all conservation features and provide a schedule for monitoring their performance and replacing parts.
• Staff is given operational and maintenance training once the exhibit is installed.
• Staff is shown how to set up an exhibit “punch list” of items requiring attention to be used during the first months of a new exhibit to catch any problems; corrections can therefore be made in a timely manner, before any warranty expires.

(For more information see STANDARD 32: Exhibit Maintenance)