Xpectraltek Main Poster Prize: Honourable Mention
Rosanna Kuon and her teammates (Lorice Sivira, Marcela Rosselló, and Maria Inés Velarde) were thrilled to receive an Honourable Mention for their poster at the IIC 2018 Turin Congress this past September. As generously submitted by the authors, here is a closer look at their poster.
Watch: Culture Cannot Wait, Point of the Matter Dialogue
Watch the whole film of our 'Point of the Matter Dialogue' at the Turin Congress, bringing together soldiers, firefighters, conservators and emergency response teams to discuss what happens to culture during war and natural disaster - and how we can improve outcomes in the future.
Friday, Session 16: Sustainability
The last two talks of the conference discussed sustainability from quite different perspectives. What struck me about these talks was how the presenters had broadened their preservation responsibilities to include the needs of the community, the environment, the collection housing facilities, and even the care-taking organizations themselves.
Friday, Session 15: Perspectives, Leadership and the Evolving Profession - 2
“Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of us all?” I was happy to reunite with Jessica Lewinsky at IIC whom I met during my internship at the Israel Museum, Jerusalem (IMJ). She opened her presentation with this quote to ask if we as conservators have been too engrossed and dutiful in our privileged positions that we forget that the preservation of our cultural heritage is a shared responsibility.
Friday, Session 14: Sites - 3
Session 14 started with the two talks about the impact of the public on the environmental changes of a heritage site and the results of this interaction. Tobit Curteis talked about the number of visits having increased in the English cathedral heritage, which has impacted the buildings’ microclimates, while Erico Rinaldi spoke about the fragility and complexity of the Pompeii site plus the exponential growth of visitors that has had direct impact on the conservation and maintenance of the site. During the third talk, Patricia Moreira and Nádia SIlva explored the biotechnology for preventive conservation concerning outdoor sculptures in Portugal.
Friday, Session 13: Sites - 2
We started the last day of the conference with a session that took us on a trip around the world. From The Palace of Westminster in London, to ancient Tumuli in Japan, finishing at the tomb of Tutankhamen in Egypt. The projects might have taken place in different latitudes on the planet, but the session had a clear focus on the importance of communication as a tool for preventive conservation regardless of location.
Thursday, Session 11: Climate, Collections and Risk - 4
This session built on the use of risk analysis through the scientific effects on collections. The first of the three papers, from the National Museum in Krakow, ranged from very specific predictions on damage worsening over time to a specially designed IT tool using a logarithmic scale covering all extremes. In the questions, it was asked if deacidification was considered, but this was considered inappropriate for the high-value works on low-quality paper.
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.
Wednesday, Session 9: Preparing for the Future: Training
Joelle D. J. Wickens opened the last session of the day. 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.
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.
Tuesday, Session 7: Climate, Collections and Risk - 2
With espresso coursing through the delegate’s veins from our extra-long coffee break to converse with the poster authors, it was time to hear Oscar Chiantore discuss the risk and prevention of VOCs within showcases and moving towards a more scientific approach of sampling and analysis through mass spectrometry to identify VOCs within the showcases.
Tuesday, Session 6: Climate, Collections and Risk - 1
As everyone knows, any contribution from these well-established experts can never be boring. With as much science as fun, there was a good mixture of diagrams and hand-made illustrations by the authors. I found Poul’s discussion of various durability rates quite interesting, involving cultural heritage objects, materials, host institutions, buildings, and air conditioning. All this was put into perspective, giving us an overview of where more efforts should be put and how we might structure these discussions in our own institutions.
Tuesday, Session 4: Environmental Management and Collections Documentation
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?
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 2: Lighting and Exhibition
Agnes Brokerhof opened the session discussing an experiment conducted by the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands and the University of Amsterdam, the results of which suggest that when people do not see the loss of colour though fading, there is a preference to spread the fading over the collection. Yet, when the colour difference is noticeable and there is a preference for sacrificing one artefact in order to save the collection. There is a tipping point when the fading becomes noticeable and perceived as bad.
Monday, Session 1: Perspectives, Leadership and the Evolving Profession
During this first session our speakers presented three very different approaches as to how we see the evolving conservation profession. First Anna Bulow reminded us how the profession has developed; from 19th-century industrialization that initiated our desire to protect culture, to the need to formalize these attempts after the world wars, and then inserting technology in our daily tasks to do so. Remembering that preventive conservation has traversed its own journey is important to be able to achieve the new goals of museums today.
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).
Point of the Matter Dialogue: Culture Cannot Wait
Emergency evacuation at Hanuman Dhoka Palace Museum coordinated by Nepal army in 2015; Photo: Aparna Tandon, ICCROM