AIC’s 40th Annual Meeting – Outreach to Allies Session, May 9, Collection Care Network Brainstorming Session: Table 6 – Day Lighting

The last presentation of the Outreach to Allies Session at the AIC Annual Meeting 2012 was an interactive session organized by the Collection Care Network. The leadership team of the network designed it as a way to identify priorities and projects for the network. Imagine nine groups of 7 to 9 people sitting around tables discussing the content of a nine different short videos. Each video presented a collection care challenge or question. The discussion aimed to suggest projects the Collection Care Network could develop that would provide tools to overcome the challenge or answer the question. Now imagine people engaged in conversation. So engaged they didn’t get up for food when asked to do so! So engaged they had to be asked a second time!! Now you have a very small idea of what the session was like. This particular post gives you more details about the discussion at Table 6. Look for the other 8 posts if you would like to review all the discussions.

Table Six: I was particularly pleased to be able to moderate the discussion at table six as day lighting is an environmental element I welcome and loathe all at the same time. Henry Francis DuPont’s house here at Winterthur has over 400 windows which allow day light to stream into the interior and allow visitors inside to see out the magnificent gardens. Without these windows the house would be a cave rather than a house. But without these windows we would also be able to drastically reduce the visible light and UV exposure our collection receives. I imagined moderating a discussion on day lighting would offer the opportunity to throw around problems, ideas and solutions with other equally interested colleagues.

The video: The video presenter was Matthew Tanteri, a lighting designer from New York City. Matthew owns Tanteri and Associates and is also an assistant professor at Parsons School of Design. At the start of his video he asks himself the question, ‘What do I want from a conservator?’ He then goes on to answer his own question with more questions:

  • What’s the duration of time I can have daylight on an artwork?
  • What wavelengths can I use?
  • What intensity can I use?

He closes the video by suggesting the Collection Care Network develop a database of daylighting solutions and knowledge.

The discussion: The discussion around table six started quickly with no need for prompting. It eventually focused around three different themes. First, finding ways to unite the language of conservators with that of lighting designers. Second, a general discussion of just how challenging it is to use daylight in museums. Third, the practicalities of developing a database of daylighting solutions that would be divided by geographic regions.

The ideas for Collection Care Network projects:

  • Establish definitions and a common language for lighting and include a lighting designer in the project team.
  • Develop a list of questions that collection care professionals need to have answered before consulting with a designer – answers we need in order to be able to answer the designer’s questions.
  • Develop a database that would be divided by geographic regions and include daylighting solutions but also all design solutions that focus on sustainability.

The contributors: Moderator – Joelle Wickens; Note Taker – Julie Heath; Table participants – Seth Irwin, John Baty, Carmen Li, Katie Sanderson, Robert Koestler, Michael C Henry