This year ECPN rolled out a new program during a pre-meeting session that allowed poster presenters another venue to share their projects and research. I was very excited for this session because I have felt overwhelmed by the number of posters and limited free time to view them. A similar sentiment was later echoed at the AIC Business Meeting. I hope that ECPN (or AIC generally) considers organizing a similar session next meeting and I would encourage anyone looking for more engagement with poster authors to attend.
This session was in no way comprehensive of all the poster submissions. ECPN members received a notification about the session about a year before the meeting. However, ECPN contacted all poster authors once they were accepted to the general AIC poster session. The email solicitation encouraged “emerging conservation professionals” and “topics relevant to ECPs (not necessarily authored by ECPs)” according to Rebecca Gridley, ECPN Vice Chair and one of the organizers of the session. There were 14 presenters total this year, which were chosen from email responses of poster authors indicating an interest in participating. The final selection was chosen to offer a range of talks across specialties and include speakers spanning the ECPN demographic, according to Gridley. Unfortunately not every author interested was able to be included due to time restraints of the session, but ECPN is considering how this could be improved in the future.
This year’s inaugural Lightning Round did seem to have mostly young presenters including pre-program, graduate students, and recent graduates. It does seem that ECPN is trying to be more inclusive and the demographic of “ECP” is only loosely defined. Certainly the audience this year was more diverse than the presenters and included AIC Fellows and other more established professionals in the field. At the same time, the environment of the Lightning Round felt very safe and welcoming. We were seated at round tables, which was more casual than auditorium seating. This was a great opportunity for first-time presenters to get their feet wet. One of the speakers was a first-time attendee and presented on her first conservation treatment ever as a pre-program. This session promoted information sharing and dialogue—activities that I personally feel will only help strengthen our field.
Alex Nichols reflecting on the benefit of the Lightning Round said, “I was approached by several conservators and researchers in specialties other than my own [modern and contemporary objects] who said that they were introduced to my research through the lightning round presentations.” In comparison to the last time Nichols presented a poster (at the 43rd Annual Meeting in Miami), she had more people ask about her research, which she attributes to the exposure from the ECPN Lightning Round.
The 14 poster topics were divided into two rounds, which allowed for a necessary intermission/bathroom break. The rounds were moderated by Michelle Sullivan, ECPN Chair, and Rebecca Gridley, ECPN Vice Chair.
In the spirit of the “Lightning Round” each presenter was given two minutes and three content slides to summarize their poster at the podium. This seemed like a daunting task and like I might not receive much more information than the title of the poster. I was really impressed with how clear and concise all the speakers were (I think the tambourine—symbolizing time’s up—only had to be used once). I learned a lot from the brief presentations and there was even time for one or two questions for every speaker. Having the visual component of the slides I felt took this beyond what a written abstract can offer. The Q & A was also very lively and I think emphasized how valued the poster presentations are to the conservation community.
I found this Lightning Round useful not only for the direct information, but also in helping me be more efficient with my time in the exhibition hall with the posters. Each PowerPoint included the poster number for easy reference to the location in the exhibit hall. Feeling similarly, Claire Curran, Assistant Objects Conservator at the ICA, also in attendance, and reacted, “definitely visiting this one—sounds really cool” in response to a treatment of a Hopi Katsina doll. The room was filled and there seemed to be a strong positive response to the session.
To keep things light and encourage additional networking during the ECPN Happy Hour (which immediately followed the Lightning Round) a fun fact about each presenter was announced in addition to his/her professional bio. For example, Sarah Giffin was introduced as the “meat whisperer” because of her delicious slow cooking brisket recipe.
I am embarrassed to say that I did not know that the posters are published on the AIC website after each Annual Meeting. You can access them here.
To help your exploration of the .pdf files online, here are some of the highlights each presenter chose to emphasize during the ECPN Lightning Round.
#30 Conservation in Miniature: The merger of museum object and historic interior in the treatment of a Victorian era dollhouse
- Applied in situ treatment methodology used for full-scale interiors to miniature interior of Horniman dollhouse
- Mist consolidation with nebulizer using Klucel G in acetone (tests in water solubilized tannins in wooden walls creating issues with tidelines)
- Condensation in the small tube was a challenge and had to tap out liquid droplets at times
#60 Conservation and Art Historical Data goes Digital at the Art Institute of Chicago
- Interactive website for conservation treatment of a collection of Alfred Stieglitz photographs and some contemporaries
- Used WordPress platform because easy interface and allowed for frequent updates to content
- Provides links to art historical information as well conservation/ technical information and research
#44 Applying Fills to Losses in a Flexible Polyurethane Foam Chair at the Museum of Modern Art
- Research and analysis to confirm type of foam composition of the chair
- Bulked methylcellulose and grated polyurethane foam for consolidation and filling of losses; liquid nitrogen helped harden foam enough to easily grate and shape
- Inpranil DLV/1 is a traditionally favored consolidant for polyurethane foam but has been challenging to acquire
#92 Chemical Cleaning and Intervention Criteria in a Brass Dial Clock from the XIX Century
João Henrique Ribeiro Barbosa
- Clock face (only surviving element of the clock) composed of three different metals joined together with rivets
- Previous cleaning by polishing left white residues and new corrosion products developed underneath
- Ammonium citrate solution addressed polish residues with “DTCNa” or sodium diethyldithiocarbamate solution addressed corrosion products
#24 History, Treatment, and Preparation for Digitization of 14th-century Estate Rolls
- Surface cleaning, humidification, repair with Japanese tissue
- Rehousing to handle during treatment, digitization, and future research
#42 Treatment and Reconstruction of a Badly Damaged Hopi Katsina Doll Made of Gourd
- Gourds painted in acrylic
- Treatment included surface cleaning, consolidating cracks, introducing new internal armature to help with reassembly and stabilization
- Used silicone self-adhering bands to secure while mends were setting
- Armature was set in place before doll head was reattached; tensioned wire extending to wings before head was placed back on
#10 Towards Nondestructive Characterization of Black Drawing Media
- Redon drawings were used for case study
- Redon working period overlapped with commercial materials available in 20th century
- Macro XRF scanning used to map elements combined with micro Raman spectroscopy
- Characterization relied on peaks in fingerprint region and peaks indicative of known additives to distinguish between different carbon-based media
- 785nm laser for Raman because of heavy use of fixatives on the drawings
#27 (I Can’t Get No) Documenation: Preservation reporting in the Archives
- Established a template “Preservation Report” for standardized documentation and condition reporting
- Focus on up-to-date condition and documentation of current status of projects and personnel involved; address realities of institution with changing/temporary staff and disruptions project workflow
- Format based on feedback from other institutions and existing condition reports in the archive
#80 Bedbugs: A pesky problem
- Addressing infestation of a Lakota teepee in private hands installed behind owner’s bed
- Freezing unsuccessful likely not able to achieve low enough temperatures throughout
- “Solarization” using hatchback car appeared to work (i.e. no live bugs remained)
- For domestic infestation chemical treatment often necessary for bed bugs; they are night feeders and hide during the day
#32 Treatment of a Shattered Bark Basket from Australia
Marci Jefcoat Burton
- Basket likely eucalyptus bark sealed with natural resin
- Consolidated with B-72; bridged with tissue and blend of Lascaux adhesives
- Removable internal support for storage constructed of backer rod (trapezoidal shaped Ethafoam strips) shaped to the contour of the basket and padded with Volara
#84 Lifting the Microfiber Veil: Utilizing Evolon fabric at the Mauritshuis to remove aged varnish from Hendrick Heerschop’s A Visit to the Doctor
- Evolon is 70:30 polyester: polyamide spun-bond fabric
- Evolon originally developed as anti-bug fabric
- Used to lift and remove aged varnish; gentle and appropriate for surfaces with extensive lead soap networks
- Polyamide fibers are hydrophilic and contribute to aqueous cleaning
#22 Captain America Encounters Klucel M
Michiko Adachi and Cathie Magee
- Captain America pages had been stapled together in case binding
- Mending utilized solvent reactivated tissue to avoid solubility issues and tidelines from acidic migration of newsprint substrate
- Klucel M used as adhesive because of strength and transparency
- Klucel M artificially aged by Library of Congress and seems to have similar properties/behavior to Klucel G
#67 Initial Treatment Techniques for Japanese Lacquer-based Metallic Thread and Cut Paper Applique
Elinor Dei Tos Pironti
- Solubility testing was used to characterize original adhesive for metallic paper threads on a Japanese garment
- Urushi was used to consolidate metallic threads
#31 Under Close Observation: A pilot study monitoring change in objects’ conditions
- Summarizing current research and findings of the Managing Collections Environment Initiative at the Getty
- Comparing different methods of monitoring conditions of objects including photographic documentation (DSLR, point and shoot camera, iPhone), caliper measurements to monitor cracks, acoustic emissions
- 14 objects representative of materials found in institutional collections used for case study; exposed to humidity cycling