Guideline 6.1

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Guideline 6.1:
The assessment of exhibit objects is conducted by the conservator who will recommend conservation strategies and mitigation features for the exhibit.
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Why is it advisable for object assessment to be conducted by the conservator who will also recommend conservation strategies for the exhibit?

Ideally, assessment will be performed by the conservator who will set the Conservation Requirements for the exhibit objects and advise on the exhibit’s conservation features. The conservator gains intimate knowledge of the objects and their vulnerabilities by conducting the object assessment. And this will be invaluable when s/he comes to establish the objects’ conservation requirements and helps to devise conservation strategies for meeting these requirements. By following the objects through the entire exhibit process, the conservator is best positioned to advise on appropriate conditions for the collections going onto display.
Exhibit conservators are specifically qualified to fill this role because they are experienced in both object assessment and damage mitigation: they are able to evaluate the current condition of potential exhibit objects and, in a general way, to outline the conservation treatment objects will need before going on display. They are also able to predict the hazards an object will be vulnerable to during exhibition and to suggest appropriate damage mitigation features.
The exhibit conservator will generally consult the curator’s ‘Assessment of Object Significance’ to help establish an object’s vulnerability to vandalism or theft.

What other conservators may be involved in object assessment?

Highly specialized conservators, such as paper, painting and textile conservators, may also be required to consult with the exhibit conservator for especially significant objects, depending upon the exhibit conservator’s breadth of training and experience.
Assessments for object treatment will generally be written by a conservator who specializes in treatment: It should also be noted that a conservator who specializes in object treatment rather than the exhibit conservator will generally write the highly detailed proposals that describe the treatment an object requires. This individual will also perform object treatment, usually during the exhibit production phase.