Approaches to access: factors and variables

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Publication Type:

Conference Paper


Peters, Renata; Romanek, Devorah;


Conservation and Access: Contributions to the 2008 IIC Congress, London, p.0-0 (2008)


This paper begins with an admission of omission: no actual definitions of access will be found here. The main point to be conveyed in the following discussion is that the meaning of access is layered, complex, relational and contextual, and therefore precludes definition. Rather than trying to find definitions for the concept of access, this paper will endeavour to consider approaches to access, as related to conservation, by taking into consideration the multiple meanings of the term itself, followed by a consideration of what access can mean as related to the form, function and material of an object. This will be analysed in the light of examples, short case studies and potential variables that set the terms for access within the rubric of conservation and some of its interfaces with the larger activities of museums. Analysing these term-setting variables will further enable a deeper analysis of what may be meant by access, and to scrutinize misconceptions related to its concept. Ultimately, this will offer approaches to creating avenues of access that are provisional, contingent, temporary but, perhaps most importantly, relevant.