Equity and Inclusion Working Group Report

Dear AIC Member,

It is a privilege to release and put into action the report of the Equity and Inclusion Working Group (EIWG), Recommendations for Advancing Equity and Inclusion in the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works. The EIWG was established in December 2016 for a term of one year and was charged with drafting a Statement on Equity and Inclusion, which was incorporated into our Core Values in April 2017. The Group was also tasked with writing a report that summarized similar efforts in allied professions and proposing avenues in furtherance of equity and inclusion in AIC Strategic Planning, and, lastly, recommending strategies and programs to help the AIC improve equity and inclusion within the organization.

The final report frames the EIWG’s recommendations according to four targets:

  • Develop Internal Engagement and Education Processes or Resources;
  • Increase Advocacy & Partnerships with Allied & International Professionals;
  • Enhance Recruitment, Growth, and Retention Practices;
  • Ensure Sustainability of Efforts.

The EIWG has fulfilled its charge with distinction and the Board is grateful to its members:

  • Jennifer Hain Teper, Chair
  • Heather Galloway, ETC Liaison
  • Kimi Taira, ECPN Liaison
  • Anisha Gupta
  • Beatriz Haspo
  • Thomas McClintock

Clearly the time has come for the AIC to commit to these efforts in a systematic and pro-active manner if meaningful progress is to be achieved.  Accordingly, members are encouraged to read and reflect upon Recommendations for Advancing Equity and Inclusion in the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works. Opportunities for member input will be scheduled and advertised.

As a reflection of its endorsement of this report, the Board has formally approved the appointment of an Equity and Inclusion Committee and will be posting a call for members soon.

The AIC Board

AIC’s Education and Training Committee Seeks New Members

The Education and Training Committee (ETC) seeks new members for a three-year term, beginning May 2018 with the opportunity to renew for a second three-year term. Transitions are scheduled to coincide with the AIC Annual Meeting.

The ETC is charged with guiding AIC in its efforts to advance the membership’s knowledge of conservation practice and scholarship. Activities include reviewing grant applications for FAIC professional development, providing input on strategic planning as it relates to AIC’s educational goals, assisting in the development and evaluation of continuing education programs, updating content on the AIC website and wiki, and providing support for the K-12 Outreach Working Group and to the Emerging Conservation Professionals Network.

ETC communicates primarily via email correspondence and the occasional conference call. The committee meets in-person annually at the AIC meeting. Work commitment is variable and flexible given personal scheduling demands. Rewards include developing ties to other members in the AIC community and insight into the research and educational efforts of the membership at large while helping to shape AIC’s efforts to meet those goals.

ETC welcomes applicants from any specialty group or network and seeks a balance of representation. To apply, please submit a brief statement of interest and your resume to Brenna Campbell, ETC Chair (aic.etc.chair@gmail.com) by April 15, 2017. Final appointment decisions to the committee are made by AIC’s Board of Directors.

Second Deployment of National Heritage Responders to Puerto Rico 

Two teams of FAIC’s National Heritage Responders are wrapping up a week of work in Puerto Rico. This is the second wave of team members to visit collections on the island affected by Hurricane Maria. 

Mold growth continued to be the primary issue facing most of the institutions visited. With such lengthy power outages, many collections faced exposure to extremely high temperatures and relative humidity. Even as power is restored for some institutions, assessing any incursions of mold remained a priority task. Team members continued to stress the importance of personal protective equipment for staff members working with collections, providing guidance on how to safely address the mold. 

Susan PPE

While site visits made up the bulk of the work completed by the teams, one group held a workshop for local artists and institutions on salvaging works. The Museo de las Américas, a museum in San Juan visited by the first deployment team in late November, graciously offered their space to host the workshop. Over thirty individuals attended to learn about how to handle their affected objects.   

Karen Workshop

FAIC will continue to work with affected collections and provide resources. You can learn more about our emergency programs here http://bit.ly/2okwlX1 and see previous updates on recent emergencies here http://bit.ly/2AErjb5. Stay tuned for more information about this group’s deployment and the team members who participated!

FAIC Awarded $900,000 from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation


9 January 2018

Contact: Eryl P. Wentworth
Phone: (202) 661-8060
E-mail:  ewentworth@conservation-us.org

Foundation of the American Institute for Conservation Awarded
$900,000 from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Foundation of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (FAIC) was recently awarded a grant of $900,000 from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support change and growth capital.

The Comprehensive Organizational Health Initiative (COHI) launched in 2014 by the Mellon Foundation, aims to build organizational resiliency within the national arts ecosystem by broadening access to resources in underserved regions, creating more equitable systems of support for artists and cultural organizations, and strengthening community participation. Working with the Nonprofit Finance Fund (NFF), cohorts of organizations progress through a sequence of financial capacity-building strategies and receive infusions of capital, peer-to-peer learning opportunities, and individualized technical support. COHI grants in 2015 served six members of the National Performance Network/Visual Arts Network and eight American art conservation service organizations. Following two in-person meetings of Mellon, NFF, and cohort leadership representatives, participant organizations worked individually with NFF advisors to assess their business models and develop plans for sustainability.

With this award, over a three-year period, FAIC will engage in activities designed to increase capacity and ensure financial stability in a rapidly evolving world. “The Mellon Foundation’s commitment to support growth capital for arts organizations is groundbreaking,” notes FAIC Executive Director Eryl Wentworth, “and we are thrilled to be a part of an initiative designed to strengthen our organizations and increase their impact.” FAIC strategies will focus on increasing fundraising capacity, developing a “Friends” program for those interested in conservation but not professionally involved in caring for collections, and building a sponsorship program. A special reserve fund will be created to provide working capital for future opportunities and change. With the assistance of contractors, consultants, and an additional staff member, these new activities will be incorporated into existing FAIC programs and initiatives.

# # #

About FAIC
FAIC, the Foundation of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic & Artistic Works, supports conservation education, research, and outreach activities that increase understanding of our global cultural heritage. Learn more at www.conservation-us.org/foundation.

About The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
Founded in 1969, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation endeavors to strengthen, promote, and, where necessary, defend the contributions of the humanities and the arts to human flourishing and to the well-being of diverse and democratic societies by supporting exemplary institutions of higher education and culture as they renew and provide access to an invaluable heritage of ambitious, path-breaking work. Additional information is available at mellon.org.

Last Chance to Support FAIC this Year

Dear Friends,

As 2017 comes to a close, we wanted to take the opportunity to thank those of you who have already supported our many endeavors, ranging from the Conservation DistList and Conservation OnLine (CoOL) resources to FAIC’s professional development programs, scholarships, Connecting to Collections Care webinars, and emergency programs.

Thanks to your support, we’ve managed to achieve a lot this past year. FAIC has awarded more than $300,000 in scholarships and grants; produced 25 professional development workshops and courses; provided 18 free collections care webinars viewed by more than 4,100 people from around the world; and supported 74 conservation assessments to help small and mid-size museums preserve their collections. The ConsDistList has a new look and reaches 10,000 international participants twice a week on a regular schedule. Our National Heritage Responders volunteers have been busy helping museums, libraries, and archives affected by this year’s hurricanes and wild fires. Two additional NHR teams will depart shortly to continue our assistance in Puerto Rico.

In order to provide these opportunities, events, and services, we need your support. We rely on donations from people like you so that we can keep these programs running. If you haven’t done so already, we hope that you’ll consider making a year-end donation to support the programs you use and love. You can write a check to FAIC and mail it to 727 15th Street, NW, Suite 500, Washington, DC 20005, USA, or make a contribution by credit card at www.conservation-us.org/donate.

Warm regards and many thanks for your ongoing support of FAIC!

Puerto Rico Deployment of National Heritage Responders

FAIC has been an important resource for many institutions in the aftermath of the 2017 hurricane season. Following deployment of a National Heritage Responder (NHR) team in Texas and site visits in Florida, this past week, a team of NHR members were able to provide assessments and training to institutions in Puerto Rico. Due to the extent of the damage caused by Hurricane Maria, response from a NHR team was necessarily delayed so resources could be directed to life and safety issues. While there are still significant infrastructure challenges facing residents, the recovery process now includes assessment and salvage of cultural heritage. FAIC had also provided remote support prior to this trip and will continue to work closely with national and local organizations throughout the recovery process.

PR NHR Deployment

Last week, our NHR team visited institutions across the library, archives, and museum field in Puerto Rico. Water damage and resulting mold growth were intensified by power outages and lack of air conditioning, and are the primary concerns at many institutions, less so structural damage due to wind. Mold is a health and safety issue, and NHR members helped provide instruction on proper handling of affected materials and use of personal protective equipment (PPE). In the image above, NHR members evaluate a collection of Puerto Rican artists’ catalogs.

FAIC will continue to provide assistance and support recovery efforts. For more information on our emergency programs, visit our website, http://bit.ly/2okwlX1, and see previous updates on recent emergencies here: http://bit.ly/2AErjb5. We will also continue to provide updates via our social media and member publications.

Even as we continue to respond to Hurricane Maria, we are also monitoring the devastating wildfires in California. Institutions can reach NHR members via phone (202.661.8068) and email (nhr@conservation-us.org).

Update on Disaster Response and Recovery 10/13

During what has been one of the worst hurricane seasons on record, FAIC’s Emergency Programs have been working fervently to connect people to planning and response resources. Through collaboration with our partners on the Heritage Emergency National Task Force, (HENTF) we have been working to gather information about affected institutions and provide support as needed.

In Florida, following Irma, National Heritage Responders visited several affected sites to help assess damage and set up cleaning protocols. Museums from Orlando to Miami received in-person assistance, and many more throughout the region were given advice via the NHR hotline (202.661.8068) and email (nhr@conservation-us.org).

A new outreach project has been developed in collaboration with HENTF in order to make contact with all collecting institutions that may have been affected by recent storms. FAIC worked with partners in Texas and Florida to develop lists of regional institutions. Students at the University of Texas’s iSchool created tools to conduct a calling project with the Texas sites; the model has been adopted by students at the University of Florida who are in the process now of reaching out to Florida sites. The primary goal of this outreach effort is to connect those who suffered damage with the National Heritage Responders if salvage information is needed, and with FEMA if information on the Public Assistance process is needed.

Response to Hurricane Maria in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico has been slow-going but progress is being made. The level of damage in the region has meant that life and safety issues have remained the priority far into the recovery process. FAIC is started to gather information about the institutions in need, and is once again closely collaborating with HENTF and our Federal partners to ensure an effective response. We will notify members about opportunities to support these efforts.

Finally, we recognize that hurricanes are not the only natural disasters wreaking havoc on our shared cultural heritage. The wildfires in Northern California have brought devastation to the region, and can impact not only those in the path of the flames, but those who may suffer from smoke and soot damage. FAIC is working closely with California partners to assess the situation, and the National Heritage Responders are developing lists of resources on smoke and soot damage to help with the recovery process.

The natural disasters that our nation has faced in the past several weeks serve as a reminder of the importance of preparedness – in our institutions, in our private practices, and in our homes.

Harvey Updates 9/8

FAIC’s Emergency Programs have been working in high gear to gather information about damage from Hurricane Harvey. Our National Heritage Responders have been fielding calls on their hotline (202.661.8068) and directing resources as appropriate. Steve Pine, an NHR team member and leader of the TX-CERA Alliance for Response group,  has been conducting assessments of Houston-area institutions that sustained damage. Today the first team of responders is arriving to assist with the stabilization of a mold-damaged mural and the flooded collection of props at a prominent local theater.

Many thanks to the Houston-area AIC members who have volunteered their homes for team members to stay in during future NHR deployments. We will keep the membership informed about additional opportunities to assist with recovery efforts.

Today, on a call organized by the Heritage Emergency National Task Force, FAIC shared updates on damage reports and our plans for action. We look forward to future collaborative efforts with our fellow task force members and representatives from Texas state agencies.

The next hurricane, Irma, is almost upon Florida. Our thoughts are with our members in Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas as they finalize preparations for this historic storm. We will plan to continue to update this blog with information about our response to Irma as well.

Harvey Updates 9/1

The storm system from Harvey has finally moved out of southeast Texas and Louisiana, leaving behind catastrophic flooding. Recovery will take some time in the region, as many individuals are displaced from their homes.

We are just starting to receive some initial reports of affected cultural institutions. A conference call held today, 9/1, shared information between federal and state partners, developing a strategy for future outreach to the 500+ institutions in the region.

Several media outlets have covered the cultural community’s efforts to prepare for and assess damage from Harvey:

We will continue to share information about potential deployments of our National Heritage Responders and other ongoing AIC/FAIC response efforts.

Please encourage local institutions to contact the NHR hotline at 202.661.8068.


Harvey Updates 8/29

As we learn more about Harvey’s impact on the cultural institutions in southeast Texas, we will share updates on conditions and our plans for response.

Until we have information to share, please consider referring to these sites for updated posts:

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Hurricane Center: http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/graphics_at4.shtml?cone#contents

New York Time’s Harvey Live Updates: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/29/us/hurricane-harvey-storm-flooding.html?mcubz=1

ArtNews Updates on Texas Art Museums: http://www.artnews.com/2017/08/27/as-harvey-hits-texas-museums-shutter-082717/


REMINDER: please encourage all local contacts to spread the word about our National Heritage Responders and their free 24/7 hotline for impacted institutions at 202.661.8068.