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Reverse-Engineering Conservation: Revealing the secrets of the first scientifically described dinosaur

The lectotype dentary of Megalosaurus bucklandii. (Medial). Image copyright Oxford University Museum of Natural History (OUMNH).

By Paul F Wilson

Today’s museums are home to an overwhelming number of objects from the depths of history, ranging from relics of cultures and societies long past to the remains of ancient leviathans that defy modern understanding. Among these myriad objects are a smaller proportion with great cultural or scientific significance. Their importance to human understanding of the past means they remain sequestered away in museum collections, safely kept in the knowledge that their significance has already been fully explored.

Shuri Castle Fire in Okinawa, Japan

Shuri Castle (2013). Image by かがみ~ (Kagami). Image original location here. Licensed under:  CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

During the early morning hours on October 31st, the Shuri Castle in Okinawa, Japan (designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2000) went up in flames.

Ask A Conservator Day

AIC promotional image from Ask A Conservator Day.  image courtesy of the American Institute for Conservation and the Foundation for Advancement in Conservation (AIC and FAIC).

The first-ever Ask a Conservator Day was held on November 4, 2019. The date is a meaningful one for the field: on November 4, 1966, the Arno river flooded Florence, Italy, damaging priceless cultural heritage. However, in response to the catastrophe, incredible efforts were made—and are still being undertaken—to conserve the items impacted by the flood.

Inauguration of the Lovure Conservation Center

Centre de conservation du Louvre © Paysagiste Mutabilis Paysage et Urbanisme.  © Architecte Rogers Stirk Harbour + Parnters / Joas Souza Photographe)

Designed by the British architectural firm Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, the Louvre Conservation Center, inaugurated on October 8, 2019, will be home to some 250,000 works of art by 2024, making it one of Europe’s largest study and research centers. The sober and elegant building blends seamlessly into the landscape and boasts optimal conservation performance.

Record flooding in Venice threatens cultural heritage

Flood waters, like those seen in this photograph taken during 2009 flooding, reached record levels this November. High tide (acqua alta) in Venice , by Roberto Trombetta (2009). Original location of the image here. Licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0.

On the 12th of November, Venice was once again inundated with acqua alta or high flood waters, an occurrence which has become more frequent in recent years. Between 1872 and 1950 the city recorded only one “exceptional” high tide (reaching 140 centimeters / 4 feet 7 inches) above sea level. However, since 1950 there have been 21 such events, 4 of which occurred in the week of November 11th alone, this month’s levels being the highest in 50 years.

Linked Conservation Data Webinar - Phase 1 Conclusion

Linked Conservation Data Logo

We are pleased to announce the concluding webinar for Phase 1 of Linked Conservation Data on the 24th January 2020. With funding from the UK's Arts and Humanities Research Council, the Linked Conservation Data Consortium formed in the winter of 2019. Over the past year the Consortium has held a webinar, two in-person meetings, and shorter seminars around the UK.

24 Jan 2020

IIC's Best of 2019

patchwork of images with 2019 written across it

From a conference for students and a two week training course at the Palace Museum, Beijing to a community platform for members across the world, here's what we did in 2019.

Selected Acquisitions: ICCROM Library

Here are the three books featured in this issue’s “Selected Acquisitions” reviews from the ICCROM Library. Image courtesy of Daniela Sauer

Mini reviews by Daniela Sauer

For the December 2019 issue of News in Conservation, the ICCROM Library is again contributing a list of new acquisitions as well as presenting a few titles hand-picked by the librarian.

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