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Forbes Prize Lecture by Stefan Michalski

Stefan Michalski opened the 2018 Turin Congress this year, presenting the Forbes Prize Lecture. He has had a long and distinguished career at the Canadian Conservation Institute and clearly feels lucky to have worked with collections and people the world over (I imagine he may feel equally lucky to have had so many colleagues willing to fill out surveys, for a worthy cause to be sure).

Monday, Session 3: Vibration

Having actively participated in a vibration monitoring project during the demolition and construction of the new Canadian History Hall at the Canadian Museum of History, I was excited to see what others had done in similar situations. Bill Wie's simplified way of explaining what can be very complicated physics makes the process of vibration monitoring much more accessible to the non-scientist.

Monday, Session 1: Perspectives, Leadership and the Evolving Profession

After 24 years the 27th Biennale IIC Congress retackles Preventive Conservation. The room was filled with bustling and excitement, more so after Stefan Michalski, Forbes Prize Lecturer, reminded us on his keynote that our conservation work not only feels, but also is authentically and in essence, meaningful.

Tuesday, Session 4: Environmental Management and Collections Documentation

While the presentations were focussed upon quite different projects, one of the more prominent themes was the need for reflection on our practices.

As a sector, we produce a lot of documentation; echoing the sentiments from yesterday’s session on vibration, Helen Lindsay aptly pointed out if we record information, there needs to be an action plan. If we are going to continue to create large quantities of data, what are we going to do with it?

Wednesday, Session 8: Public Engagement

Since the 1990s museums and archives have shifted their focus from objects to people, in order to account for their existence and justify the spending of the tax payers’ money on cultural heritage. In conservation there has been a similar shift. This session’s talks presented case studies from museums and communities in the Philippines, the National Gallery in London and English Heritage on how interactions with the public can have an influence on preventive conservation decisions as well as increase the communities’ understanding of the field.

Wednesday, Session 9: Preparing for the Future: Training

Joelle D. J. Wickens’ and Debra Hess Norris’ paper "The Imperative of Soft Skill Development in Preventive Conservation Practice and Training" opened the last session of the day. The talk was given by Joelle.

She reminded us that there are no universal standards. Storage solutions that require three people to retrieve an object do not work if an institutions is understaffed. The “Gold Standard” is the one that an institution can achieve, she said.

Thursday, Session 10: Climate, Collections and Risk – 3

I am pretty sure that everyone who attended the evening dinner last night at Reggia di Venaria needed an extra dose of caffeine this morning. Yet, the Politecnico’s auditorium was again packed with conservators eager to listen and learn from today’s talks presented in Session 10: Climate, Collections and Risk - 3.

Unfortunately Danilo Forleo and Nadia Francaviglia were unable to attend and present their experience with using statistical methods in assessing the condition of Chateau de Versailles collections.


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