Keck Award 2014 Finalists announced


We are delighted to announce the shortlisted finalists for the 2014 Keck Award. The announcement of the winner of the 2014 Keck Award will be made at the end of July.

The IIC Keck Award is presented every two years at the IIC Congress to -- in Caroline Keck's words -- the individual or group who has in the opinion of the Council contributed most towards promoting public understanding and appreciation of the accomplishments of the conservation profession. You can read more about the Award and past winners at the main Keck Award page here.

The Awards are listed here in the alphabetical order of the application's title:

The Chinese Freemason’s Lantern Public Conservation Project (Royal British Columbia Museum, Canada)

In 2013, the Royal BC Museum featured the conservation of the Chinese Freemason's Lantern in a temporary exhibit “Tradition in Felicities: Celebrating 155 years of Victoria’s Chinatown” as part of an initiative to preserve and represent immigrant history in British Columbia. The exceptional demands of this conservation treatment required a cross-disciplinary approach and lent itself well to a public conservation program.

A modified conservation laboratory was constructed in the gallery, surrounded by text and graphic panels that described and illustrated the process. Under the direction of Project Conservator, Lisa Bengston, a crew of six conservators, three conservation interns, and seven volunteers completed stabilization and restoration treatments as well as materials analyses five days a week for seven months. A remarkable digitally-animated representation of the lantern in pristine condition was created and exhibited on an adjacent computer screen, providing an accurate interpretation of the lit and moving lantern, a state of restoration that was inappropriate for the actual lantern.

The public showed great enthusiasm for the conservation work and asked probing questions, providing an extraordinary opportunity to enlighten a broad audience to the work of conservators. Visitors were also keen to provide information and anecdotes relating to the lantern, adding to the curatorial record. Surveys completed during the project were extremely positive and encouraging for future public conservation programs. The Royal BC Museum highlighted this public conservation project in its publications and promotional materials as well as online. Lisa Bengston should be recognized for her valuable contributions to this project.

The public conservation of the Chinese Freemason’s Lantern will be showcased at the 2014 IIC Congress through a poster produced by Lisa Bengston and Kasey Lee.

The Staffordshire Hoard Conservation Programme (Birmingham Museums Trust, UK)
The Hoard programme represents a new paradigm for archaeological conservation. The idea of carrying out conservation in the public eye is not a new one. Where the Hoard programme has been unique is the intensity and regularity with which it was able to provide outreach and that the social media has gained an international audience which has been sustained over the years.

This programme also significantly differs from other archaeological projects due to the inspired decision to keep the Hoard on display throughout conservation and research, which is unlike any archaeological project before it. This has meant the collection remains high-profile and this creates synergy with the conservation outreach, to give the public a rounded sense of museum conservation front and back of house.

This programme provides an example of how conservation can drive different aspects of a project other than the conservation of the objects themselves and has acted as a catalyst to encourage public access and participation in the wider project. The Hoard has generated interest beyond its historical context to create a stronger sense of local identity and pride in the region, as demonstrated by the formation of the Mercian trail.

The conservation team has not only conserved the materials to a professionally high standard, it has successfully engaged both conservation professionals, students and public audiences, and has delivered an extraordinary range of activities over a short time period, helping to raise the project profile in the UK and internationally.

The W. Brooks and Wanda Y. Fortune History Lab at the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center (USA)

The History Lab conveys the importance of preservation to the IHS core mission, and the role staff conservators play in preserving the paper-based collections of the Indiana Historical Society Library.

It is a 1,000 sq ft gallery and preservation classroom adjacent to the 1,200 sq ft paper conservation laboratory at the IHS. Content emphasizes the importance of conserving objects of heritage and presents methods conservators use to inform treatment decisions. Using objects as the focus, the primary learning experience for the History Lab is the WHY, WHAT and HOW of conservation, learned through the four tenets Identify, Examine, Treat, and Properly Store heritage objects. In doing so, conservation is valued as a means to preserve cultural heritage, and guests better understand what they can do to preserve objects in their own collections.

Guests view content as a traditional gallery experience and interact on their own and with a lab trained facilitator. The space incorporates an electronic microscope bank to explore paper and media surfaces. A flat screen video relays progressive condition issues, and electronic video pin-boards provide a large dictionary of visuals that convey historic materials, and technologies. The preservation classroom provides a hands-on mending activity for groups up to 25, using traditional mending techniques with Japanese tissue and starch pastes.