A group of Portuguese scientists has developed an environmentally-friendly method of cleaning ancient textiles. Researchers from the New University of Lisbon used liquid and supercritical carbon dioxide (CO2) to clean the garments of an eighteenth-century sculpture.
The British Library has celebrated the completion of its new Centre for Conservation by launching an online "microsite" to inform the public about conservation issues. The Centre for Conservation opened to the public on 17 May 2007, after a £13.25 million building project that lasted 18 months. It provides facilities for all aspects of book conservation, education and training, and state-of-the art technical facilities for the nation's Sound Archive.
On 21 May the Director General of ICCROM, Mounir Bouchenaki, and the Vice President of Tongji University, Mr Li Yongsheng, signed a Memorandum of Understanding between ICCROM and the World Heritage Institute for Research and Training in Asia-Pacific, Tongji University. The research centre will cooperate with UNESCO and ICCROM, provide services to foreign countries in the Asia-Pacific area, and undertake training and research activities in world cultural heritage management.
Icon, the UK's Institute for Conservation, has announced 12 new training opportunities in conservation as part of a £1 million scheme supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). This is the second year that Icon has offered internships under the HLF scheme, and it hopes that they will increase the availability of skills in areas where there is a lack of conservation training.
Forty-five new sites have been proposed for inclusion on UNESCO's World Heritage List this year, including 32 cultural sites. UNESCO's World Heritage Committee will meet in New Zealand at the end of June to decide which of these sites will join the 830 sites already on the World Heritage List. The cultural sites will be assessed by the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), with additional input into conservation techniques and training from the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Conservation of Cultural Heritage (ICCROM).
Dr Vincent Daniels, a fellow of IIC, has been awarded the UK Royal Warrant Holders Association's 2007 Plowden Medal. According to the official citation, he has been awarded the medal "for his long and exceptional contribution to the development of understanding in conservation, the excellence of his dedicated research and his ready engagement with the practitioners of the conservation profession".
Garry Thomson CBE, an honorary fellow of IIC and its president from 1983 to 1986, died peacefully at his home in the UK on 23 May 2007. Garry Thomson was Scientific Adviser to the Trustees and head of the Scientific Department at the National Gallery, London from 1960 until his retirement in 1985. Garry is perhaps best known for his immensely influential, yet readable, book The Museum Environment, first published in 1978 and revised in 1985, which has become indispensable for conservators and curators throughout the world.
One of London's most famous tourist attractions, the tea clipper Cutty Sark, has been devastated in a fire this morning. Firefighters are still putting out the flames and believe that the fire was started deliberately.
UK conservators could face a fine or a 6-month jail sentence for possession of an offensive weapon if proposed legislation to ban Japanese swords is passed. Japanese art swords, popularly known as "samurai swords", are the subject of a proposed amendment to the Criminal Justice Act. The swords would be classed as "offensive weapons" if the amendment were accepted, and their importation, possession and sale within the UK would become illegal.
Researchers in Germany have unveiled a massive computer-aided project to reconstruct millions of confidential files which were shredded by the East German secret police at the end of the Cold War. After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, Stasi officers were ordered to destroy incriminating documents relating to the Stasi's operations. Many of these documents were burnt, but others were hurriedly shredded or torn into pieces. The West German police later recovered 16,000 sacks of paper, containing 600 million fragments from 45 million documents.