Speaking up for Collections
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Speaking up for Collections



Presentation from the Museum Association of Arizona 2010 Annual Meeting by Irene Peters of the Musical Instrument Museum

Presentation from the Museum Association of Arizona 2010 Annual Meeting by Irene Peters of the Musical Instrument Museum



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  • Care of collection integral part of mandate of museums, as stated clearly in the ICOM Code of Ethics. In the same breath, this paragraph mentions two collection related activities opposed to preservation: interpret and promote. The key to good stewardship in this regard clearly is to find a balance between these conflicting values to make the most of the collection for present and future generations.
  • The primary goal of conservation professionals, individuals with extensive training and special expertise, is the preservation of cultural property. (AIC Code of Ethics Preamble) 2 paragraphs, still from the ICOM Code of Ethics give specifics on how a museum as institution shall work toward the goal of preserving the collection in its safekeeping: through Preventive Care and by monitoring condition to determine whether conservation ‘intervention’ is required. Points to the qualified ‘conservator-restorer’, but takes into account the fact that such a professional is often not permanently present at (especially smaller) institutions. Clearly, the burden is on you.
  • (The mitigation of deterioration and damage to cultural property through the formulation and implementation of policies and procedures for the following: appropriate environmental conditions; handling and maintenance procedures for storage, exhibition, packing, transport, and use; integrated pest management; emergency preparedness and response; and reformatting/duplication) It is often hard to argue for preventive measures as their outcome is hard to visualize Acting before damage is caused, not working to fix Risk assessment > know the values of your collection and the potentials hazards to those values
  • Potential hazards from a conservation standpoint Dissosiation - affects the legal, intellectual, and/or cultural aspects of an object as opposed to the other agents of deterioration, which mainly affect the physical state of objects
  • To name a few resources for the English speaking community – all are linked, so if you would like to see more. Will lead you to further resources. Slide Show upload to get these.

Speaking up for Collections Speaking up for Collections Presentation Transcript

  • “ Museums preserve, interpret and promote the natural and cultural inheritance of humanity” (ICOM Code of Ethics, 2004)
  • “ the duty to acquire, preserve and promote ”
    • “ 2.23 Preventive Conservation
    • Preventive conservation is an important element of museum policy and collections care. It is an essential responsibility of members of the museum profession to create and maintain a protective environment for the collections in their care, whether in store, on display, or in transit.”
    • “ 2.24 Collection Conservation and Restoration
    • The museum should carefully monitor the condition of collections to determine when an object or specimen may require conservation-restoration work and the services of a qualified conservator-restorer. […]”
  • What to do? Risks Values Compromise
  • ‘ Ten Agents of Deterioration’
    • Physical Forces
    • Thieves and Vandals
    • Dissociation
    • Fire
    • Water
    • Pests
    • Pollutants
    • Light, Ultraviolet and Infrared
    • Incorrect Temperature
    • Incorrect Relative Humidity
  • Resources
    • American Institute for Conservation
    • National Parks Service:
      • Museum Handbook
      • Conserve O Grams
    • Getty Conservation Institute
    • Canadian Conservation Institute … Etc.. .