AIC-CERT and AIC Members to appear on Leonard Lopate, 12/5/2012

Tomorrow afternoon, from 1:20-2:00pm (EST), Lisa Elkin, Jim Coddington, and Cindy Albertson will be guests on The Leonard Lopate Show, a major New York radio talk show on WNYC. The three conservators will be discussing the efforts of AIC-CERT, Alliance for Response New York City, and MoMA after Superstorm Sandy, focusing on a new Cultural Recovery Center opening in Brooklyn.

Lisa Elkin, Chief Registrar and Director of Conservation at the American Museum of Natural History, is an AIC-CERT member, and has been very active in organizing aid to affected cultural institutions. Cindy Albertson, Assistant Conservator at the Museum of Modern Art, is serving in the important role as FAIC NYC Volunteer Coordinator. Jim Coddington is Chief Conservator at the Museum of Modern Art and a Professional Associate member of AIC.

Please tune into this program, and perhaps even call in to join the conversation, on Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012, from 1:20 – 2:00pm (ET). Stream the show live at, or New York-area locals can listen in at 93.9 FM.

Educators Convene to Share Ideas on Teaching the Next Generation in Historic Preservation

This story came to the AIC office from Brian Clark at Roger Williams University. 

Tour of an historic building in Providence
Conference participants toured historic properties in Providence during the two-day event.

BRISTOL, R.I., Sept. 14, 2012 – How the next generation of historic preservationists is educated has profound implications across the preservation world, especially given that effective education means a greater likelihood of qualified professionals. But while the U.S. is home to an array of quality preservation programs at colleges and universities, there has been surprisingly little conversation among educators about how best to teach those who will comprise the preservation workforce in the future.

On Sept. 8 and 9, more than 75 educators from not just the U.S. – but from the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Australia, Brazil, Mexico and more – convened in Providence, R.I., to discuss best practices at a conference titled “Preservation Education: Sharing Best Practices and Finding Common Ground.” The conference was hosted by the School of Architecture, Art and Historic Preservation at Roger Williams University with support from Clemson University, the College of Charleston, the University of Florida and the University of Georgia.

After two days of discussion and debate, a set of key ideas emerged. Jeremy C. Wells, assistant professor of historic preservation at Roger Williams and the conference chair, says the ideas focused on everything from embracing technology and encouraging innovation to linking the built and natural environments, integrating with other disciplines and building partnerships with K-12 education, real estate professionals and more.

Wells also noted that the attendees agreed that without a more concise definition of what the “discipline” of historic preservation is, there would continue to be difficulty in defining what students should be accountable for as far as skill sets and knowledge are concerned.

“We need better understanding and consensus around our view of the world,” he said. “There is even some discomfort with the term historic preservation itself. Does preservation imply stasis – that things never change? Would conservation more accurately represent our approach? We need to envision a future in which we build consensus on these questions, among preservation practitioners and educators alike.”

DMA appointment signals the initial phase of the development of conservation program

Maxwell L. Anderson, The Eugene McDermott Director of the Dallas Museum of Art, today announced the appointment of Mark Leonard as the Museum’s first Chief Conservator, effective July 1, 2012. Leonard’s appointment signals the initial phase of the development of the DMA’s conservation program, which will include the addition of staff and the renovation of its onsite spaces to include a paintings conservation studio. Leonard, who stepped down in 2010 as the Head of the Paintings Conservation Department at the J. Paul Getty Museum to pursue his career as an artist, will work with Anderson and the DMA’s senior staff to establish the more comprehensive Conservation Department and further develop the Museum’s Collections and Exhibitions program, informed by his scholarship in the care and preservation of paintings from across the Museum’s encyclopedic collection.

Praise for Find a Conservator and AIC

A recent mailing, Conservation, from the Sir John Soane’s Museum Foundation contains a brief article about AIC’s online resources and the benefits of membership:

Sometimes the virtual world of the web is a collector’s best friend, especially when a simple click can help you save anything from a collection of old master drawings to a christening gown.

The American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works website at is a case in point. This veritable treasure chest of resources offers advice on how to choose a conservator and how to find one in your part of the country. It offers helpful tips for caring for all types of things, including architectural structures and detailing, manuscripts, prints, books, tools, jewelry, tableware, quilts, costumes, samplers, and flags.

The AIC also offers you the opportunity to establish connections with others who share your interest in preservation through publications, conferences, workshops, and daily networking opportunities. The Sir John Soane’s Museum Foundation is a proud member.”


Review of Health & Safety for Museum Professionals appears in January issue of JOEM

Working in a city where there is a museum nearly at every corner, we enjoyed reading Health & Safety for Museum Professionals because it illuminated a world of work and workers largely hidden from our view when we visit the many museums here in Washington, District of Columbia. Most of all, we enjoyed reading this book because it is well written, well organized, and informative without being a ponderous reference book. Health & Safety for Museum Professionals is a valuable addition to any safety and health professional’s shelf of resource books, but it would seem to us an indispensible one for every museum safety professional.”

Excerpt from book review by John Howard, MD, and Anita Schill, PhD, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Washington, DC, appearing in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Volume 54, Number 1, January 2012

Plying the Trades: Report from NATCC Conference

“Plying the Trades: Pulling Together in the 21st Century,” the 8th North American Textile Conservation Conference (NATCC), met in Oaxaca, Mexico this past November, 2011.  Following two days of apropos workshop offerings, including an introduction to biological classification for textile conservators held in the local ethnobotanical gardens, two aqueous cleaning courses with the ever-in-demand Richard Wolbers, back-strap loom weaving (with regional artisans specializing in different techniques), natural dying (using local products including the hand-spun wool slated to be dyed), and feather mosaics (following a traditional technique using adhesive derived from a specific orchid flower), the program got off to a resounding start with a thought-provoking keynote address by Dr. Sven Haakanson.  If anyone present already felt sated from the successful workshops and early regional tours they could not help but quickly be drawn into the flow of the following two days.  Dr. Hakkanson’s touch points of living heritage, community, and repatriation of knowledge paved the way for an exciting conference filled with multi-cultural and disciplinary presentations, covering the territory of regaining lost traditions, sharing knowledge with local communities, creating discussions between communities, collection holders, and conservators, and finding paths for mutual ground or compromise for object care.

A few highlights included a history of community development and outreach at the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI), conservation in the public eye (quite literally due to their on view textile conservation laboratory) at the People’s History Museum in Manchester, UK, and the immense challenges and rewards of building international education programs.  Participants were further inundated with information during poster sessions, set during coffee breaks, which successfully promoted many discussions.

Planned to the nines, the conference also included a cocktail reception in the beautifully restored Centro Academico y Cultural San Pablo (originally established as a Dominican convent in 1529), and, the following evening, the conference closed on a high note with a full parade down the streets of Oaxaca complete with band, balloons, dancers, lanterns, and fire works leading the attendees to a lovely dinner set in the local Ethnobotanical Gardens.  Everyone left Oaxaca full of knowledge, mescal, and a new found appreciation of community.  Not to worry if Oaxaca proved too difficult to reach: post prints are available for purchase through (CD format) and plans are in the works for NATCC’s next conference.  Moving from one welcoming community to another, and focusing on modern materials, NATCC is slated to meet in San Francisco, November, 2013.

—Denise Migdail


Mark Aronson’s Haiti Cultural Recovery Project Experience Covered by Yale News

 During his first-ever trip to Haiti this summer, Yale conservator Mark Aronson couldn’t help but notice one of the more uplifting aspects of life in the earthquake-ravaged country: the ubiquitous presence of art…

From “Yale Conservator Helps Restore Artwork in Haiti,” Yale News, October 5, 2011, by Susan Gonzalez

To read more and view a slideshow go to

TSA Book Award

The Textile Society of America announced that Five Centuries of Indonesian Textiles, ed. by Ruth Barnes and Mary Hunt Kahlenberg is the recipient of the R.L. Shep Ethnic Textiles Book Award.

This comprehensive volume highlights Mary Hunt Kahlenberg’s personal collection of over 350 Indonesian ceremonial garments and textiles, which she has assembled over a 30-year period.  Kahlenberg, a former Curator of Textiles at LACMA, has been at the forefront of the study of Indonesian textiles. This handsome book chronicles a lifetime of work dedicated to both collecting and research. Kahlenberg has brought together some of the leading Indonesian textile scholars, including Ruth Barnes, Traude Gavin, Roy W. Hamilton, Rens Heringa, Marie-Louise Nabholz-Karatschoff, and Toos Van Dijk to present newfindings.

Further information about  the award can be found at the TSA website,