An Open Invitation to Connect with me in Salzburg

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I'm Richard McCoy, a member of IIC and a conservator at the  Indianapolis Museum of Art. Next week I'll be participating in the Salzburg Global Seminar,  Connecting to the World's Collections: Making the Case for the Conservation and Preservation of our Cultural Heritage, which is being held in Salzburg, Austria. This five-day seminar runs from Wednesday the 28th through Sunday the 1st and is co-hosted by the U.S.  Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and the  Salzburg Global Seminar (SGS). Additionally, it's being supported by the  President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities.

I'm personally grateful to IIC for letting me use this blog as a format to publish my experiences while attending the Seminar.

For more than a half of a century Salzburg Global Seminars have challenged present and future leaders to solve important global issues. And what could be more important than caring for our global heritage? This particular seminar has grown out of an IMLS project called Connecting to Collections: A Call to Action, an U.S. initiative aimed at raising public awareness and inspiring people to care for our cultural property. As part of this program, in 2007 IMLS hosted a National Conservation Summit in Washington, D.C., and in 2008-09 they hosted The National Tour, with program stops in Atlanta, Denver, San Diego, and Buffalo.

Now the call is being made globally.

I've never been to Salzburg so, as you can imagine, I'm very much looking forward to arriving at the famous 18th-century castle, The Schloss Leopoldskron. Besides being home to the SGS, this castle also was the setting for the movie the Sound of Music. I have to be honest, though, and admit that I'm not much of a fan of the Sound of Music. I grew up in a family of 4 older brothers and this movie never really found its way into our hearts. Who knows, perhaps I'll discover that hills really are ‘alive with the sound of music,’ but knowing me it seems unlikely (I'm sure I will enjoy looking out onto the hills or walking in the  Schloss park).
At the castle I'll be joining more than 60 participants representing 35 countries in every region of the world with the charge to produce a set of recommendations to help care for our global heritage.  We will be responding to this formidable list of questions:

’¢ What are the greatest risks to our collections and what strategies can be implemented to manage them?

’¢ How can sufficient resources be secured to assure - at the very least - minimal conservation standards?

’¢ What needs to be done in the area of effective emergency preparedness planning?

’¢ What challenges and opportunities are presented by new technologies and digitization?

’¢ How can cultural heritage institutions make a better case for conservation to policy makers and private donors to secure the funding they need for proper collection care?

’¢ How can museums and libraries connect people to their collections to garner the public support they need to make better conservation and preservation a priority and a reality?

Considering the question about ‘opportunities being presented by new technologies,’ it seems only fitting that there is a blog that goes along with the seminar. This is because both IMLS and SGS want the seminar to connect directly with you, wherever you are in the world. And so this is my job: to try and provide you a window into the event.  During the seminar you'll get my daily, first-hand account of the proceedings. I'll be sharing some photos and perhaps a video or two.

So consider this an open invitation to connect.  Follow along here and also via Twitter, where hopefully some conversations made from 140 characters or less will take place.  Please use the hashtag #SGSConnect.