New Getty Course – Managing Collection Environments Initiative

Managing collection environments while providing long-term access to cultural materials requires a complex set of technical, analytical, and social skills. The preservation of collections has evolved into a discipline that takes into account the complexities and uncertainties present at all stages of environmental management. Recent and ongoing debate about appropriate climates has eroded the certainty of prescriptive approaches to reveal that no single field of study holds the solution and no one solution can be applied universally.
This innovative three-phase course brings together different disciplines, emerging knowledge, and the skills required to communicate and build consensus on the most appropriate approaches for climate control. It will provide up-to-date information that puts theory into practice and connects with participants’ working contexts by drawing on their experiences and by fostering continued learning through distance mentoring.

Detail of a chest of drawers from the J. Paul Getty Museum (83.DA.282)
Detail of a chest of drawers from the J. Paul Getty Museum (83.DA.282)

  • Phase 1 – Online Activities, Beginning March 2017 (ten weeks)
  • Phase 2 – Intensive Workshop, June 5–16, 2017 Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia
  • Phase 3 – Distance Mentoring, Beginning July 2017 (six months)

The course aims to disseminate recent research and thinking on technical aspects of environmental management while enhancing participants’ critical thinking and analysis of different kinds of information, and enhancing their decision making and influence within institutional frameworks.
The course seeks to provide participants with:

  • Updated and refreshed technical knowledge to analyze and communicate collection risks
  • Ability to discuss management of collection climates from the perspectives of architects, conservators, curators, facilities managers, scientists, and institutional administrators by blending the experience and knowledge of experts with participants’ own situations
  • Ability to set problems and solutions into institutional frameworks while exploring decision making that balances all issues and stakeholders and builds towards institutional consensus
  • Ability to develop holistic, sustainable solutions based on the needs and capacities of participants’ institutions
  • A network of professionals dedicated to sustainable preservation of historic materials

Benefits to participants

  • Case-based learning and in-practice mentoring that blends learning with participants’ own experience
  • Improved skills to communicate and justify ideas and to understand and respond collaboratively to other perspectives and needs
  • Insight into perspectives and activities of other disciplines connected to collection preservation
  • Enhanced ability to manage and facilitate change
  • Strengthened contacts within and beyond participants’ institutions

Benefits to participants’ institutions

  • Foster cooperation, communication, and understanding within the institution
  • Improved personal and professional competence of staff, to achieve institution’s mission and manage change
  • Demonstrated commitment to sustainable environmental practice
  • Strengthened internal and external networks
  • Prepared staff to undertake future roles at institution

The course will cover a range of topics including, but not limited to: climates and building envelopes, material response to climate, causes and concepts of damage, monitoring and data analysis, risk-based approaches, sustainable options for control and management practices, long-term strategies, program briefing, strategies for communication and leadership.
Learning Strategy
To support informative classroom discussion and embed learning in practice, the course begins online with tasks, readings, and discussion. All participants are required to complete a number of assignments during this first phase. Some assignments require information-gathering and consultation with other institutional colleagues. Participants should anticipate two to three hours of assigned work each week during this ten-week phase.
The second phase is an intensive two-week interdisciplinary workshop at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia. The third and final phase of the course is a six-month distance mentoring program individualized to each participant.
Participants are required to actively participate in all three phases of the course.
Vincent Beltran, Getty Conservation Institute
Foekje Boersma, Getty Conservation Institute
Walt Crimm, Walt Crimm Associates
Pamela Hatchfield, Boston Museum of Fine Arts
Michael C. Henry, Watson & Henry Associates
Wendy Jessup, Wendy Jessup Associates
Jeremy Linden, Image Permanence Institute
Michal Lukomski, Getty Conservation Institute
Bob Norris, Magic Hat Consulting
Patricia Silence, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation
Joel Taylor, Getty Conservation Institute
This course is open to eighteen mid- to senior-level professionals whose responsibilities include conservation management, collection management, or facility management for collections in cultural institutions, such as museums, libraries, and archives. Participants should be based at an institution or directly contribute to an institution’s mission through long-term consultancy or support. Participants may act as a focal point for an internal network in their institution or project, especially during the mentoring phase.
Participants should be able to understand and discuss technical and scientific literature dealing with the collection environments.
The working language of the course is English.
The total cost of the course is US$750, includes all three phases of the course: online activities, workshop and six-month mentoring period. The cost does not include travel to Philadelphia, accommodations, or meals.
To Apply
Application deadline is November 30, 2016.  For application instructions and forms please visit the course page on the Getty website 
Applicants will be notified of the status of their application by January 13, 2017. If you have questions about the course, the application process or require additional information, please contact