Seeking contributions for AIC’s new Public Relations and Outreach Toolkit

At AIC’s 40th Annual Meeting in Albuquerque, the development of a new Public Relations (PR) and Outreach Toolkit was announced. The purpose of this toolkit is to provide tangible resources for AIC members to use when speaking about and promoting conservation. These tools will offer information about direct communication with the public and the press, using both traditional and social media outlets. It is anticipated that these resources will assist AIC members working in institutions of all sizes and scope as well as those working in private practice in advocating for conservation and in raising awareness of our field.

The PR and Outreach Toolkit is being developed on the AIC Wiki. Fllow this link to visit the page. This is a collaborative project and the final product will greatly benefit from your participation. We are looking for contributions and feedback, and particularly in the following areas:

  • Getting Started: PR and Outreach: identifying and listing more “Examples in Conservation”
  • Media Relations & Press Releases: developing more tips and templates
  • Events: providing more specific ideas for events and event planning
  • Speaking and Writing about Conservation and AIC: developing more suggestions and adding links
  • Etiquette, Legalities and Ethics: providing more information and tips for “best practices”
If you have AIC Wiki editing privileges, you can also leave comments in our Suggestion Box, found under the “Discussion” tab on the page.

To contribute or to share ideas, please contact Molly Gleeson, ECPN Chair at mollygleeson [at] gmail [dot] com

AIC’s 40th Annual Meeting-Working With Artists Luncheon

Moderated by Nancy Odegaard, this lunch session featured three speakers, Landis Smith, Charles Stable and Glenn Wharton, who gave presentations about their experiences working with artists-from specific case studies to broad approaches-to carry out conservation work in museums.  All of the speakers touched on the idea that working with artists was necessary to determine a sense of the essence of the objects/artwork-even if they weren’t working with the artists who created created the items in question. These engaging talks were followed by a question and answer session which gave the speakers and the audience the opportunity to explore questions and concerns about the role of the conservator and the artist in interpreting and preserving museum collections.

The first speaker was Landis Smith, who spoke about her experiences working with indigenous artists. She has worked with people from many different communities, from tribes in the Southwest US to Native Alaskans, and in her career she has seen as shift in the way that museums work with these communities-from a post-colonial way of working toward facilitating greater access to collections for indigenous people. She has learned how objects from these communities are more than just objects-they are an embodiment of culture, traditional knowledge and memory, and this has affected how she carries out examination and documentation. She touched upon the idea that working with artists in this way always involves a risk-benefit assessment; that there is a middle ground to be found between artist intent, object meaning and conservation needs.

Landis stressed the importance of working collaboratively with indigenous communities so that we can better interpret, document and exhibit their material culture. While most of the consultations she spoke about were in-person, she also briefly mentioned a live video consultation carried out as part of the Living Our Cultures, Sharing Our Heritage: the First Peoples of Alaska at the Smithsonian. Using new technologies for this type of interaction may allow for more conversations and collaborative projects to take place that otherwise might be prohibitively costly or logistically difficult.  For any consultation, Landis stressed the importance of preparing in advance so that this experience can result in a meaningful information exchange and to allow a real dialog to take place.

Landis concluded her talk with a discussion of the fact that the missing link for ethnographic conservators is spending time in these communities. She recently worked with NMAI to organize a trip for their conservators and Mellon fellows visit communities in and around Santa Fe and Albuquerque. This type of experience offers the unique opportunity for conservators to being to make the link between the objects and the culture, the people and the landscape.

Charles Stable spoke next about a project at the National Museum of Scotland, where the museum worked with a Maori artist to recreate missing components of a war canoe in the collection. The canoe has mostly resided in storage and it cannot be attributed to a specific Maori community-it was likely made as a trade piece-and has been challenging to interpret. As a result, the museum consulted with Maori artist George Nuku, who suggested that the canoe was a pastiche that was not constructed by a Maori. He recommended that certain components be removed and replaced and the museum worked with him so that he could create pieces using his own inspiration and materials. Both Nuku and the museum wanted it to be obvious that these new components were reproductions, so Nuku chose to make these pieces in his material of choice-Perspex, which is essentially the same as Plexiglas. After creating these components he added new abalone shell inlays, and bound the pieces to the rest of the canoe using traditional methods.

During the talk, I believe that Charles mentioned that Perspex is not a stable material and so there would be issues with its preservation over time. Perspex is a Poly (methyl methacrylate)-I’m still not certain why it has preservation issues-it’s possible that due to the way Nuku carves into the Perspex, which may make it more brittle? If anyone else knows more about this please leave a comment!

In the end, this project was an attempt to balance the integrity of the object with Nuku’s interpretations and artistic expression. While some may find this type of work controversial, Charles pointed out that all of the additions made are reversible. To hear George Nuku speak about this project and to see him work on the new canoe components, follow this link.

The third speaker was Glenn Wharton, Time-based Media Conservator at MoMA and NYU Conservation Center faculty member. Glenn spoke about several projects at MoMA that have involved working with artists to exhibit their work many years after they were created. In the case of these artists and their work, there were questions about how the exhibition should look or be configured, so he requested interviews. He discussed the fact that working with the artists in this way results in the conservator, curator and artist working together to construct the authenticity of the artwork.

Glenn presented several examples, including Valie Export’s 1967-68 “Abstract Film No. 1”, John Maeda’s 2004 “Reactive Books” and Bruce Nauman’s 1993 “Think.” In some cases, because of technology or because the fact that the original artwork was a performance piece, the work as it was originally shown could not and cannot be exhibited. In these cases, Glenn has worked with the artist to identify the essence of their work and how this can be properly communicated to the public in a new exhibition. He spoke about the re-exhibition of these pieces as “translations” and “reconstitutions” of their artwork. In some cases, the pieces are re-dated to include the new date of exhibition, since this new exhibition is still part of the piece. So, for example, Bruce Nauman’s Think was originally created and exhibited in 1993 as 2 videos playing on 2 CRT monitors on a metal table with playback equipment, but in 2009, the videos were exhibited on 2 plasma screens on DVD. Nauman’s Think is now dated 1993/2009.

Glenn also spoke about his conversation with John Maeda, who felt that his work, which incorporated CRT monitors and plasma screens, was not about technology, but rather about people interacting with the work. He felt that this interaction should be filmed and perhaps this was the best way to exhibit (or preserve) the work into the future, however Glenn also mentioned that this idea may not be fully resolved by the artist or the museum.

Questions and discussion followed the talks, including conversations about artists’ “afterthoughts”-the fact that an artist’s idea of what the essence of their work is may be a moving target. Glenn reminded everyone that even in these more extreme examples that were presented, all interventions are reversible, which allows for future reinterpretation and changes to be made-both by the artists and the museums.

Several people voiced opinions about the notion of an artist reinterpreting another artist’s work-some people took issue with this and others thought this was interesting and an important way to involve artists. Conservation, after all, is not neutral either, no matter how much of an attempt we make for it to be. This led to a discussion on the importance of documentation-as we all know, no matter what decisions are made, it is important to document both the interventions and the decision-making involved. Landis also commented that documentation helps us to take the subjectivity out of our decision-making.

I thoroughly enjoyed this session and the discussion-it was evident that this was a topic that can and should be revisited repeatedly in the future-especially as museums and the role that they play in our culture evolve. I hope that anyone reading this will feel welcome to leave comments as well to continue this discussion and to raise any points that I failed to mention!



AIC’s 40th Annual Meeting: Conservation Conversations: Audience, Fundraising, Institutional Support, and Career Paths

At the annual meeting this year, I appreciated that many of the sessions incorporated and allowed for conversations and discussion between the presenters and audience, and this session was no exception. The first half featured 3 more traditional-style presentations followed by a dynamic panel interview with 3 conservators whose career paths have diverged from the bench.

Sari Uricheck opened the session with a strong presentation  on “Promoting Conservation.” She spoke about marketing and PR and how the field of conservation needs to work on its message and image, and offered some concrete ideas for how we can start doing this. She pointed out the fact that conservation has weak “brand recognition” and made important points about the fact that terminology matters. We use so many different words to describe our work-conservation, preservation, collections care-but we need to be consistent in our language. Public Relations is about communicating and image control is part of this. Sari urged us to use the term “conservation” to describe our work.

In her talk, Sari outlined some essential elements of a successful conservation PR campaign. She discussed the need for an association audit-what do audiences connect with conservation?  Among the public, people often think of paintings conservation. In museums, many of our colleagues may associate conservation and conservators with being difficult or saying “no”, and among allied professionals, conservation may be associated with a large expense. Using PR, we can plant associations that we want people to make. Our messages should be explaining what conservation makes possible-we should be communicating “YES” not “NO”. Sari also pointed out that targeting allied professionals is just as important as targeting the public and that we need to highlight the fact that conservation is central to all museums’ missions.

Sari also discussed the idea of borrowing from a social organization model by Dr. Marshall Ganz-“Self, Us, Now.”  The idea is that we as a profession can draw unity, inspiration and power from our personal narratives to form a collective identity. And the urgency of “now” is often difficult to convey-why conservation now? There are ways to convince people that conservation is important now, such as organizing events around Preservation Week and May Day. Sari pointed out that the US is about a decade behind Europe when it comes to promoting conservation. She urged us to take action now to bring about a greater awareness of our field and what we do. I liked Sari’s talk and I think that her message is spot-on. I’ve been working on AIC’s PR Toolkit, so I particularly appreciated her ideas and I hope to start working on incorporating them into this resource soon.

Carmen Li spoke next, about a project at the Museum of Northern Arizona (MNA), where she helped develop a project using social media for fundraising, in conjunction with a collections move project from 2008-2011.

Money had been raised to build a new collections center, but the museum needed funding for supplies and equipment. So the “Save-a-pot” campaign was started to solicit small donations and to highlight research taking place behind the scenes. They started with a Facebook giving campaign by making a video featuring the prehistoric ceramic collection, showing the collection in its old storage conditions and then in the new storage location, and showing the progress of the move. The video was made using still shots, assembled with Final Cut Pro, edited using Quicktime, and uploaded to Youtube.

They made this into a “microgiving” campaign and let people know what their money would help fund-$5 for 50 hot glue sticks, $100 for a roll of Tyvek, etc. The key points of their campaign was that it told a story, it allowed for multiple donations of small amounts of money for specific causes, it showed how the donations would be directly input into the museum and the project, and it was based on the belief that philanthropists  need not be millionaires.

Unfortunately, after all of that work, the director left and the campaign wasn’t launched. So instead they posted the video on the MNA homepage and they still managed to raise funds. The lesson Carmen left us with is that while social media is easy to use, it isn’t necessarily simple to use it effectively and successfully. She also stressed the fact that museums need to be open to their staff taking on different roles.

In the third talk of the session, Catriona Hughes and Sarah Kay spoke about how the National Trust moved conservation projects into the public spotlight, which helped increase revenues and visitorship. Early on in properties within in the National Trust, visitors were shown finished rooms and conservation was done off-site or in the off-season. When work had to be done on-site, there was no access or interpretation for the public. In 2001, there was pressure for the Trust to increase revenue and open properties for longer seasons, which meant that conservation could no longer take place in the off-season, and lead to an effort to bring greater awareness to conservation and to make these projects more interactive and participatory.

Conservation projects started to be carried out with transparency, and they found that public engagement is a powerful way of building support and is a tool for unlocking funding. An example is the Attingham Re-discovered project, which began in 2006 in an effort to make interior improvements to the Attingham mansion. By drawing visitors into conservation debates and decision-making, they saw an increase in visitors by over 100%. Marketing and social media played a big role in this as well-they launched Attingham Park TV on Youtube.

By putting conservation front and center, the National Trust found that they could generate support, encourage funding, increase visitor numbers and raise the profile of conservation and the value of traditional skills.

These inspiring presentations were followed by a talk show-style interview with Scott Carrlee, Nicola Longford and Susan Mathisen, led by Julie Heath. All three conservators’ careers have diverged from the bench into other areas, including museum and institutional development, administration and community outreach. I found this part of the session so interesting and inspiring-all three said that their education, training and experience in conservation gave them confidence and curiosity needed to contribute and to be successful in these other roles. In their new positions, they can also act as important advocates for conservation. In this economic climate, with seemingly few jobs and opportunities, hearing from Scott, Susan and Nicola was an excellent reminder that there are many ways to be effective in caring for collections and that there are more ways to be a conservator.


AIC’s 40th Annual Meeting – Angels Project at Sandoval County Historical Society

On Tuesday May 8, a group of 13 conservation professionals visited the Sandoval County Historical Society (SCHS) to assist SCHS volunteers in several preservation projects for the 2012 Angels Project as part of AIC’s 40th Annual Meeting in Albuquerque, NM.

SCHS is located just outside of Albuquerque, in Bernalillo, and was established in 1977 to collect and preserve the history of Sandoval County. The collections include photo and paper archives, paintings, and maps. This slide show shows some images from the photo archives.

We were warmly received by SCHS with baked goods and coffee and after an orientation of the collections and the history of the Historical Society, we split into teams and began tackling different projects, including:

–          Rolled Maps: unrolling and flattening of the maps and re-housing in map cases

–          Painting storage: cleaning the shelves and wrapping the unframed paintings for additional protection

–          Photo and paper archives: basic inventory of archive contents, hardware removal, re-housing fragile or unprotected items in archival sleeves and folders

In all of these activities, Angels Project volunteers worked alongside SCHS volunteers so that this work could be continued and maintained in the future. In addition, paper conservator Renée Wolcott spent some time speaking with the SCHS volunteers about conservation and basic preservation activities, and answered their questions about environment, pest management and other preservation concerns.


It was rewarding to see so many volunteers from the community that day who obviously care deeply about the Historical Society, its collections, and the importance of SCHS to the people of Bernalillo and the surrounding communities. Jason Church did a great job documenting the project-look for his photos on the AIC Flickr site.


AIC’s 40th Annual Meeting – Objects Luncheon: “So Far Away From Me? Conservation and Archaeology” by Suzanne Davis and Claudia Chemello

In the second talk during the OSG luncheon, Suzanne Davis and Claudia Chemello explored the question “are archaeologists and conservators so far away from each other?”, inspired by the sentiment of the Dire Straits song “So Far Away”. Their talk was illustrated with historic photographs of archaeologists working in Tunisia, Egypt and Turkey in the 1920s, from the collection at the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology at the University of Michigan.

As a follow-up to last year’s annual meeting presentation, which summarized the responses of a survey of archaeological conservators, this year Suzanne and Claudia presented the results of a 2011 survey of archaeological dig directors working primarily in the US. The purpose of the survey was to examine how archaeologists are engaging with conservators,  to gain an understanding of conservation needs from an archaeologist’s perspective, and to identify areas for outreach and education.

They made the survey using the online survey tool Qualtrics and after wide distribution, received a whopping 346 responses.

They plan to publish the complete results of the survey, but in their presentation, they summarized a lot of the data, such as:

  • Half of the respondents are employed in an academic environment and half are employed in non-academic organizations.
  • 41% have employed conservators in their projects. The 59% who have not said that it was due to lack of funding.
  • Most respondents spent between 1-30% of their budget on conservation, and the most frequent amount spent was $10,000/season.
  • 55% said that conservation is expensive or prohibitively expensive.
  • Of those who have employed conservators, 38% have not received conservation reports, which corresponds with the 25% of archaeological conservators surveyed who do not write conservation reports for the sites they work on.
  • 74% have never heard of AIC.
  • 13% have used AIC resources.

Suzanne Davis broke up their presentation of this data by leading the audience in singing a few verses of Dire Straits- So Far Away.

In general, the archaeologists’ responses showed that there is a confusion between the terms “curator” and “conservator”, and they expressed that they feel that many conservators don’t have sufficient field training, nor do they understand archaeological research goals but that they feel that conservation is a necessary expense for archaeological projects.

Based on this survey, what do Suzanne and Claudia recommend? In essence, they said, to paraphrase Mark Knopfler, lead singer of Dire Straits, “we need to stop making love over the phone.” They said that while conservators and archaeologists are not so far away from each other, conservators need to work on increased and sustained outreach to archaeologists and to develop more resources for the AIC website or on the AIC WIKI specific to archaeology, particularly regarding funding sources and site preservation. They also indicated a need to improve education to further integrate archaeological and conservation research.

We think that the results of this survey are so interesting and help to provide hard data on topics that are often speculated on by archaeological conservators. We hope that Suzanne and Claudia are able to publish the entire results of the survey and we look forward to hearing more about efforts to improve the relationship between conservation and archaeology, and to contributing to this effort as much as possible.

-Vanessa Muros and Molly Gleeson

AIC’s 40th Annual Meeting, Objects Luncheon: “Holy Mammoth, Batman! Conservation Education and Outreach for the Preservation of a Columbian Mammoth” by Vanessa Muros and Allison Lewis

This year’s OSG luncheon featured 2 archaeological-focused talks, each sprinkled with pop-culture references.

Vanessa Muros spoke first-a presentation titled “Holy Mammoth Batman! Conservation Education and Outreach for the Preservation of a Columbian Mammoth,” which was co-authored by Allison Lewis.

This presentation addressed the issues and challenges of training archaeologists in conservation techniques, and covered some of the outcomes-both good and bad-of such a collaboration. In the fall of 2010, Vanessa and Allison were contacted by archaeologists from Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA to advise them on the excavation of the fragile remains of a Columbian Mammoth. This was an unanticipated find and the archaeologists had no money to hire conservators and Allison and Vanessa had very limited time (or perhaps desire since they would be working for free) to spend in the field.

The solution that Vanessa and Allison devised was to act as consultants and to go out into the field to assess the condition of the remains and the possible treatment options, to devise protocols for safely lifting the mammoth remains and to train students working on the project to carry out this work themselves. After speaking to the archaeologists about possible analysis of the remains and ensuring that all sampling had been carried out, they devised protocols that involved consolidation of the bone and ivory remains in situ with Acrysol WS24, facing with cyclododecane, and block-lifting.

Vanessa took several block-lifted items back to the UCLA/Getty Conservation Program training labs at the Getty Villa, and, along with the graduate students, devised protocols for further stabilization of the excavated pieces using Acryloid B-72 for the dry bone and Acrysol WS24 for the bone that was still damp. Packing and storage solutions were also devised in consultation with Foothill College so that they could be replicated by archaeology students for the rest of the excavated material back at Foothill.

In the end, Vanessa and Allison deemed the collaboration a success-they felt that the archaeology students learned about conservation techniques, materials and proper storage, and the mammoth remains were safely lifted and stored. They also felt that they had promoted conservation and demonstrated the skills and knowledge required to be a conservator. Despite these great outcomes, they also saw several potential issues, including the fact that the project director, in the project’s Flickr photo album, labeled photos of archaeology students as “conservators.” Did the project director understand that his students aren’t conservators? Had they undermined our profession by demonstrating that non-conservators can do this work, and by teaching non-conservators irreversible and challenging treatments? Had they devalued conservation by volunteering to do all of this?

For being a potentially controversial topic, there were surprisingly no questions or objections about any of this by anyone in the audience. Personally, I think that this project is good for conservation- instead of trying to do the work themselves, the archaeologists contacted Vanessa and Allison, which I believe is an acknowledgement of the expertise and skills of conservators. And I think that while Vanessa and Allison trained students to carry out conservation methods, they did it in a way so that those students do NOT feel like they are conservators (even if the dig director may not fully understand). I also believe that these archaeology students will probably be even more likely to contact a conservator in the future, since this appeared to be a very positive collaboration. What I’d like to see, however, is archaeologists involving conservators like Allison and Vanessa from the beginning of projects. I know that there are always unexpected finds, but if conservators are involved from the beginning, there will hopefully be funding and time to carry out such work in the case that conservation is needed. Projects like this demonstrate the important relationship-building necessary for this collaborative work to take place.


2012 Rome Prize Winners Announced

Last week, the American Academy in Rome announced the winners of the 116th annual Rome Prize Competition.

Among the 30 recipients were Elizabeth Schulte, Owner/Chief Conservator of Elizabeth Kaiser Schulte Conservation of Art and Historic Artifacts on Paper in Atlanta, Georgia, and Randall Mason, Associate Professor and Chair of the University of Pennsylvania Graduate Program in Historic Preservation.

The Rome Prize is a national competition that awards grants each year to thirty individuals who represent the highest standard of excellence in the arts and humanities. The grants allow recipients to spend six-months to two years in Rome to pursue a specific project. Awards are made in the following disciplines: Architecture, Design, Historic Preservation and Conservation, Landscape Architecture, Literature, Musical Composition, Visual Arts, Ancient Studies, Medieval Studies, Renaissance and Early Modern Studies, Modern Italian Studies.

Schulte and Mason were the two winners in the “Historic Preservation and Conservation” category. Schulte’s fellowship project is titled “Changing Views of Rome Through the Eyes of Tourists and Mapmakers: Creation, Preservation, Education.” Read more about Liz and her project by following this link.

Mason’s project is titled “Gustavo Giovannoni’s Urban Conservation”. Read more about it here.

Congratulations to both of our colleagues on this award and great honor!


Paintings Specialty Group Reception at AIC’s 40th Annual Meeting

Attention all Paintings Specialty Group Student Members! PSG has raised funds for all of their student members presently registered for the AIC meeting in Albuquerque to attend the PSG reception on Thursday May 10.  PSG is working out a way to notify students who will be receiving a ticket for the reception in their registration packet.  Unfortunately, for those who are not yet registered, and for those who are not currently PSG Student Members, free tickets will not be provided this year.  Additionally, if there are any PSG Student Members who do not need a ticket to the reception (such as those who have found their own sponsors), please notify Katrina Bartlett (kbartlett [at] menil [dot] org) to help ensure that other Student Members who need/want tickets can get them.


Conservation Fellowship at Northwestern University Library

Northwestern University Library is offering an advanced post-graduate conservation fellowship for a two year appointment, September 1, 2012 – August 31, 2014. The conservation fellowship allows a conservation professional the opportunity to work on diverse special collections, including rare books, paper, and parchment documents.  The conservation fellowship includes a research component ideally leading to publication or presentation at a national conference.  The fellowship also offers the unique opportunity to visit and interact with conservators at other Chicago-area conservation labs that work with a broad range of material including paintings, works of art on paper, objects, textiles, and natural history specimens.

The conservation fellowship provides practical experience in a busy academic library conservation lab balancing treatment responsibilities with professional research activities.  The Conservation Fellow will develop an understanding of the functions and responsibilities of a research library conservation lab working with special collections materials.  There will be the opportunity to gain bench experience, develop skills in treatment decision making, and participate in the management of a complex workflow.

In addition, Northwestern’s unique holdings allow the possibility to gain experience in assessing and evaluating a variety of library and museum objects including paintings, ethnographic objects and textiles. Research topics will be developed in consultation with the Special Collections Conservator at the beginning of the fellowship and could include treatment techniques, materials identification, or historical studies. In addition, there is the potential for project work including needs assessment surveys and other preventive preservation activities.

Recent Conservation Fellowship projects have included the treatment and rehousing of a collection of 10th century parchment documents, the repair of a 19th century atlas, and the rebinding of a set of early 20th century photo albums from western Africa.  The current Conservation Fellow’s research project focuses on identification and treatment of photoreprographic processes and will be presented at the American Institute for Conservation’s 2012 Annual Meeting.  Anticipated projects for the 2012 Conservation Fellow will include repair of a collection of early 20th century scrapbooks related to the Brazilian coffee trade, a book illustrated by Joan Miró, and board reattachments on a 1669 volume of Katherine Philips’ poetry.

Working in the Preservation Department under the supervision of the Special Collections Conservator, the Conservation Fellow evaluates and treats special collections materials.

In consultation with librarians, curators, and archivists, the Conservation Fellow examines and develops treatment specifications for special collections materials. The Conservation Fellow performs a broad range of conservation treatments on rare books, manuscripts, prints, drawings, maps, and other unbound archival and special collections materials on paper and vellum.  Treatment includes the preparation of condition and treatment reports with an appropriate level of photo documentation.

The Conservation Fellow conducts condition surveys and assists in the development of action plans for special collections.

The Conservation Fellow stays current with new developments in the field of library conservation and conducts research related to an area of interest identified at the beginning of the fellowship.  Research should be of a quality that would result in a publishable paper or presentation at a national conference and would ideally include collaboration within Northwestern or with staff at one or more of the many Chicago-area conservation labs.

The Conservation Fellow may assist other professional staff in the department, including the Department Head, Preservation Librarian, and Conservation Librarian, with additional surveys, preservation education and outreach initiatives, exhibits-related projects, and disaster response initiatives.

Required:  Master’s degree in library science or associated field, with an emphasis on conservation training, or equivalent combination of education and relevant experience.  Knowledge of current conservation principles and practices, materials science, and the history of bookbinding and conservation.  Demonstrated ability to perform high quality conservation treatments on special collections materials, primarily book and paper, and to communicate effectively about treatment options and decisions.  Applicants will be asked to submit a portfolio of recent conservation treatments.

Preferred:  Work experience in a recognized research library conservation program.

Salary:  Annual stipend of $45,000. Northwestern University offers a comprehensive benefits plan, including health care and tuition benefits.

Send letter of application including current research interests and resume, including names of three references, to Scott W. Devine, Head of Preservation, Northwestern University Library, 1970 Campus Drive, Evanston, Illinois 60208-2300 or s-devine [at] northwestern [dot] edu

Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until position is filled.  Interviews may be scheduled at the AIC 2012 Annual Conference.  Northwestern University is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. Employment eligibility verification required upon hire.



Update on 2012 ECPN initiatives

What has the Emerging Conservation Professionals Network (ECPN) been up to? Between working on several ongoing projects, such as the mentoring program and the development of a student research platform, to starting new initiatives, including our regional liaison program and a forum call series, 2012 has been a busy year for us so far! On top of that, we’ve been working hard to prepare for our events at AIC’s 40th Annual Meeting in May.

For those of you who are not as familiar with our network, we just wanted to provide a summary of some of our projects. Read on to find out more! You can also find out more about our network’s mission on our webpage.

Network officers:

We’d like to extend a warm welcome to Gwen Manthey, who recently joined ECPN as our new Professional Education & Training co-officer. She succeeded Abby Aldrich, who was working with us in this role previously. Thank you Abby for your service to ECPN! You can find a current list of all of our network officers on our webpage.

Mentoring Program:

ECPN has been working with AIC staff to make some refinements to the AIC mentoring program. Some of the recent work has involved expanding the application form to include a survey that gauges applicants’ specific interests and goals, establishing a well-rounded review committee, and developing a mentoring program toolkit that offers suggestions to guide matches in their relationships. ECPN is in the process of assisting AIC staff to match pairs of mentees and mentors, and is continuing to promote the program and encourage mentor applicants. To learn more about the program, or to apply to be a mentor or to find a mentor, follow this link.

Student Research Platform:

Over a year ago, ECPN initiated the idea of an online student research platform, with a goal of sharing student work and research projects, which would otherwise be largely inaccessible to the conservation community. Last year ECPN created and distributed a questionnaire to directors of the North American conservation graduate training programs to poll them on their preferences and interest in an online student research platform. Based on this feedback, ECPN is now working to develop a revised proposal with a description of the platform, the audience, possible content, desirable features, and maintenance needs in order to ensure the platform’s sustainability.  There is international interest in this project, and the form that it will ultimately take is an ongoing discussion that we’re excited to be involved in.  

ECPN Liaisons:

ECPN has identified liaisons for several AIC specialty groups and committees and also for various regions across the United States. These liaisons are serving to promote events and opportunities for emerging conservators and to expand the reach of ECPN from the national to the local level.  A complete list of our current liaisons can be found on our webpage.

Forum calls:

Each month, ECPN officers meet via conference call to discuss ongoing activities. These calls are open to everyone, but are often focused on network business. Based on this, ECPN created the idea of a forum call series that would bring emerging conservators together to discuss topics of interest.  An online survey was recently distributed to gauge enthusiasm for the idea and gather feedback on possible topics. After very positive responses, network officers are moving forward to plan for the first forum call and to propose a schedule and topics for future forum calls. ECPN is working to identify the best platform for the “calls”, which will likely be web-based. Stay tuned for more information.

AIC’s 40th Annual Meeting in 2012:

A lot of our work lately has focused on preparing for our AIC Annual Meeting activities. If you attended any of our events last year, these may sound familiar to you!

On Tuesday May 8 we are holding an informational meeting at 5:00pm and a happy hour/mixer immediately afterward from 6:00-10:00pm. We are nailing down the final details about the location for the happy hour, but it will be within walking distance from the Hyatt Regency (the conference hotel)-look out for an announcement about this as it gets closer to the annual meeting.

On Thursday May 10, ECPN is holding two portfolio sessions, which will take place during the morning and afternoon breaks, from 10:00-10:30am and 4:00-4:30pm. We have invited a group of emerging conservators to bring their portfolios-including one digital portfolio-as well as several more established conservators, who will be on hand to offer advice about portfolios and presentation of work.

You will also see ECPN represented in the poster session. We are presenting a poster entitled “Creative Endeavors and Expressive Ideas:  Emerging Conservators Engaging through Outreach and Public Scholarship.” The poster will feature emerging conservators who are participating in a variety of outreach activities. We received so much great content for this poster that we are also featuring additional related content in a companion blog post. Our poster will be on view all week and on Thursday from 4:00-4:30pm one of our network officers will be standing next to the poster to share additional information and answer questions.

These are just some of the activities that ECPN is engaged in. We hope you see something that you like, and we encourage you to join us-either at one (or all) of our annual meeting activities, or on one of our conference calls, and hopefully on one of our new forum calls later on this year! Questions, ideas? Please leave a comment here or contact Molly Gleeson, ECPN Chair, at mcgleeson [at] yahoo [dot] com.