On June 22, 2017, U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) and Ranking Democrat Eliot Engel (D-NY) were presented with the American Institute for Conservation’s highest honor, the award of the Forbes Medal, for their bipartisan efforts that resulted in the creation of the “Protect and Preserve International Cultural Property Act.”
Now passed into law, this act imposes new, stronger import restrictions on antiquities that are trafficked out of Syria. By reducing trade in looted artifacts and the profits from looting, historic sites in the Middle East and the cultural material they contain are better shielded, and, by extension, knowledge of our past, of our shared humanity, is saved.
During the presentation on Capitol Hill, Chairman Royce said, “I want to thank the American Institute for Conservation for all of its important work. We are witnessing a cultural devastation in the Middle East. ISIS, Assad and other parties to the conflict are decimating the region’s Greek, Roman, and Byzantine heritage, and sites and artifacts of importance to all three major faiths, from Sufi Shrines to Jonah’s tomb. The U.S. must always lead in supporting those in conflict zones who are risking their lives to preserve the world’s history for future generations.”
Recent turmoil in the Middle East – particularly in Syria and Iraq – led to a thriving trade in looted artifacts, benefiting organization such as ISIS. AIC is pleased to celebrate these U.S. Congressmen who recognized the dangers of such looting, and worked across the aisle to protect precious cultural heritage from exploitation.
“On behalf of the board of directors of the American Institute for Conservation, I extend our thanks to Representatives Engel and Royce for their individual efforts and for their guidance of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs that has both established a precedent for and emphasized the necessity of protecting cultural heritage,” said AIC Executive Director Eryl Wentworth.
“This award is a fitting way to recognize their bipartisan work on behalf of the American and global community to preserve objects and sites of cultural heritage.”
The AIC Forbes Medal celebrates those whose work on national and international platforms has significantly advanced the preservation of cultural heritage. Prior to honoring Congressmen Engel and Royce, only eight recipients had received this honor since its inception in 1994.
The Forbes Medal is named for Edward Waldo Forbes (1873-1969), who served as director of the Fogg Museum at Harvard University from 1909 through 1944. He founded the country’s first fine arts conservation treatment and research center, and was dedicated to technical research of artworks. Four years after retiring from the Fogg, he founded and served as director of the American Research Center in Egypt.
We would like to share the following message from the AIC Board of Directors:
“The American Institute for the Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works decries recent actions that impede the preservation of cultural heritage. The deliberate placement, on two separate occasions, of a noxious symbol of intolerance – a noose – in the galleries of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture and on the property of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden interferes with their mission to celebrate and preserve cultural collections. These repugnant acts denigrate the work of our valued conservation colleagues, disrupt the visitor experience, and intimidate potentially new and broader audiences. We believe that the creative achievements and histories of all peoples must be acknowledged and honored through access, interpretation, and preservation. We urge everyone who cares for our cultural heritage to actively support the Smithsonian’s exhibitions and programs.”
To learn more about the events of last week, you can find an article from Smithsonian Magazine here.
If you would like to share this statement, you can also find it here in PDF format.
The 2017 AIC Board of Directors, Nominating Committee, and Specialty Group elections are now open. You will be able to cast your vote through the online voting platform until April 28, 2017 at 5:00 p.m. EDT.
Associate, Professional Associate, and Fellow members in good standing are eligible to vote in the Board of Directors and Nominating Committee elections. Members of each Specialty Group are eligible to vote in the elections of Specialty Groups of which they are members. Ballots will be checked against eligibility requirements. The ballot also includes candidate biographies and statements.
All AIC members should receive an email containing a link to the ballot. If you are unsure of your current membership status or which positions you are eligible to vote for, you can check your membership at www.conservation-us.org/mymembership. If your membership is current through 2017 and you have not received the ballot by March 23rd, please email us at email@example.com.
This morning, President Trump released a budget blueprint that calls for the elimination of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the Institute for Museums and Library Services (IMLS). This is the first American President in history to propose zeroing out all funding for the nation’s federal cultural agencies.
- Use the National Humanities Alliance’s (NHA) online tool for crafting a message to your congressional representatives asking for their support to fund and save NEH and IMLS. The NHA template does not currently reference IMLS, please add IMLS in to your message. NHA is currently updating their advocacy tools located under the resource tab of their website. Here you will find fact sheets about NEH and can search for NEH grants in your state.
- Use the Americans for the Arts’ (AFTA) online tool for crafting a message to your congressional representatives asking for their support to fund and save NEA.
- AAM’s “State Snapshots” tool allows you to see how much funding museums receive on a state-by-state basis to improve your case with your representatives.
- If you can devote the time to send three emails, AAM has an email template to send your congressional representatives a message in support of IMLS. Please update the message to include the elimination threat.
- You can send one email for all three agencies. However, multiple emails are a stronger message.
Even if you sent messages in our last campaign, before the threat was real, please send another round of emails. You can reuse a lot of your text from last time. If you have never responded to one of our advocacy alerts – now is the time!
- This year’s appropriations process is likely to last for several months. You will receive additional advocacy alerts from AIC over the next days and weeks. Please respond to the emails as soon as possible, even if it sounds similar to a past alert.
- Reach out to your network of colleagues, clients, and friends and ask them to send emails to their representatives.
The Appropriations Process
The President only proposes a budget. It is up to Congress through the appropriations process to determine what departments and agencies to fund and at what levels. The process for the 2018 budget will start with the Appropriations Committees and Subcommittee drafting legislation that sets funding levels for the NEH, NEA, IMLS, as well as other programs.
In the last several years, we have seen strong, bipartisan support on the Appropriations committee for the NEH including a $1.9 million increase in FY 2016 and increases proposed by both chambers for FY 2017.
It is critically important that this year’s draft appropriations bills in the House and Senate subcommittees provide adequate funding for humanities programs. Strong draft appropriations levels will put our priorities in a good position to counter the President’s budget blueprint.
We should be prepared for actions outside of the typical appropriations process such as blocking amendments that would cut or eliminate funding both in committee and on the floor. If, in contrast, one or both subcommittees do not provide funding for these priorities, we will need to be prepared to restore funding by amendment in subcommittee, committee, or on the floor.
Reports from the AAM and NHA Advocacy Days show that there is bipartisan support in Congress for NEH, NEA, and IMLS. We need to continue to show our Congressional Representatives that NEH, NEA, and IMLS are vital to our democracy and society.
Are you an emerging conservation professional who wants to advocate for the issues that matter most to you and your peers? Do you want to help AIC develop resources and programs specifically for early-career conservators, conservation scientists, and collections care specialists? If so, please consider applying for one of the Emerging Conservation Professionals Network’s (ECPN) open officer positions! ECPN is currently accepting applications from pre-program individuals, graduate students, and recent graduates for the following positions:
- Vice Chair
- Professional Education and Training Officer
- Communications Officer
- Outreach Officer
All positions will serve a two-year term beginning June 2017, just after AIC’s 45th Annual Meeting. The Vice Chair is expected serve a one-year term, transitioning to Chair for an additional one-year term.
To learn more about ECPN, please visit: conservation-us.org/emerging
Questions and position description requests can be directed to Rebecca Gridley, ECPN Vice Chair, at firstname.lastname@example.org. To apply for an open officer position, please submit a brief statement of interest and your resume to Rebecca by April 14, 2016.
We would like to share the following statement from the AIC Board of Directors:
“The American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (AIC) recognizes that cultural heritage belongs to everyone regardless of their faith, color, ethnicity, or nationality. Its care and preservation is a global responsibility and depends upon ongoing collaboration and scholarly exchange within the international conservation community. Only through inclusiveness, can the AIC remain a dynamic and effective professional membership organization. Therefore, the AIC deplores any action taken, such as President Trump’s recently enacted travel ban, to restrict the free entry into the United States of conservation professionals based upon their country of citizenship.”
If you would like to share this statement, it is available here.
We would like to share the following statement from the AIC Board of Directors:
The American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works strongly supports the Oceti Sakowin Oyate (the Great Sioux Nation) and the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in their opposition to the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) across treaty land. As the national professional organization dedicated to the preservation of cultural heritage, we deplore the destruction or desecration of any historic or sacred site, and are deeply concerned by the current threat posed to such cultural heritage by the DAPL. We are committed to collaborating with native people and support the preservation and long-term stewardship of their culturally significant sites. For these reasons, we join with allied agencies, including the American Alliance of Museums, the American Anthropological Association, and the Society for American Archaeology, to condemn any negative impact of the DAPL on historic and sacred sites.
Approved by the AIC Board of Directors
December 1, 2016
To view and share the statement, click here.
Kress-Funded Publication: Alice Boccia Paterakis Recently Published by Archetype Publications
Alice Boccia Paterakis, Director of Conservation at the Japanese Institute of Anatolian Archaeology in Turkey, was the recipient of Kress Publication Funding in 2001. Her resulting book, Volatile Organic Compounds and the Conservation of Inorganic Materials, has been recently published in paperback format by Archetype Publications. Alice’s research into the topic allowed her to observe and record conditions in various museum collections; in the text she discusses appropriate treatments, storage, and monitoring based on her research into the indoor pollutants found in museums and galleries. For more information, contents, or to purchase, please follow this link: http://archetype.co.uk/publication-details.php?id=238
This makes 23 published works since 1994 by authors awarded FAIC/Samuel H. Kress Conservation Publication Fellowships. Forty-two total awards have been given, and many of those who are not yet published currently are working with publishers. The fellowships have made an outstanding impact on the field of conservation and FAIC is committed to the production and dissemination of reference works for conservation professionals. For more information on the FAIC/Samuel H. Kress Conservation Publication Fellowships and recipients, visit: http://www.conservation-us.org/scholarships-grants/publication.
IMLS AND THE FAIC ANNOUNCE NEW COLLECTIONS ASSESSMENT FOR PRESERVATION (CAP) PROGRAM
IMLS Press Contact
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IMLS and the FAIC Announce New Collections Assessment for Preservation (CAP) Program
Washington, DC—The Institute of Museum and Library Services and the Foundation of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (FAIC) today announced a new program to provide museums with collections conservation assessments.
The Collections Assessment for Preservation (CAP) program will build upon the former CAP program (Conservation Assessment Program) that was funded by IMLS and administered by Heritage Preservation for 24 years, until Heritage Preservation ceased operations in 2015. The new program will continue to support collections assessments for small and medium-sized museums throughout the nation.
“Many museums need help understanding the condition of their collections and how to properly prioritize their conservation activities,” said IMLS Director Dr. Kathryn K. Matthew. “We are delighted to be working with FAIC. The new CAP program is much improved and is designed to give museums the tools they need to build strong and lasting in-house collections care and preservation programs.”
“We are honored to be working with IMLS to build on the success of such a valued program,” stated FAIC Executive Director Eryl P. Wentworth. “The new CAP—Collections Assessment for Preservation—program will be a collaborative effort to provide support and expertise to the staff of collecting institutions, helping them create and implement sustainable programs for the best possible care of their collections. We are excited to begin!”
The three year partnership will match professional conservators with participating museums to conduct assessments of their collections and will encourage the inclusion of building assessments, regardless of the age of the structures. Other key components to this new CAP program will include linking museums to training and other resources as needed; incorporating a structured follow-up session with museums and assessors; and improving training for and review of assessors.
In the first year of the program, FAIC will focus on development of the systems and infrastructure needed to run the program, such as museum and assessor application and evaluation materials; staff to manage the grant program; the creation of a roster of qualified assessors; and promotion of the program. FAIC plans to announce the first call for applications from museums to participate in the program in fall of 2016 with an early 2017 deadline. Detailed information will be available at http://www.conservation-us.org/(link is external) and https://www.imls.gov/.
About the Institute of Museum and Library Services
The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries(link is external) and 35,000 museums. Our mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. Our grant making, policy development, and research help libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive. To learn more, visit www.imls.gov and follow us on Facebook(link is external) and Twitter(link is external).
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 about FAIC at www.conservation-us.org/foundation(link is external).
It is with great enthusiasm that we announce Topics in Photographic Preservation, the Photographic Materials Group (PMG) biennial publication since 1986, is now available online: http://resources.conservation-us.org/pmg-topics/
To date PMG has published 15 volumes of Topics in Photographic Preservation with volume 16 to be printed soon. This new website, managed by PMG with AIC support is hosted by CoOL (Conservation OnLine), and makes volumes 1-14 available to the public online for the first time. Future volumes will continue to be added 2-3 years after their initial publication.
This new Topics website also points users to additional photographic preservation articles published in the Journal of the American Institute for Conservation (JAIC), and other resources created by PMG available for sale via the AIC store (www.conservation-us.org/shop/store-catalogs).
Completing this project has taken significant commitment during our tenures as PMG Chair and Publication Committee Coordinator. That said, there are many that assisted in making this valuable resource possible both before and during our tenures and we would like to thank all those who contributed over the years, especially Brenda Bernier, Paul Messier, Lisa Duncan, Brian Raniewicz, and Bonnie Naugle.
PMG Publications Committee Coordinator
Please also note these conservation publications are freely available on CoOL:
- Book and Paper Annual: http://cool.conservation-us.org/coolaic/sg/bpg/annual/
- Objects Specialty Group Postprints: http://resources.conservation-us.org/osg-postprints/
- Wooden Artifacts Group (through 2006, later articles available in the AIC store): http://cool.conservation-us.org/coolaic/sg/wag/
- ANAGPIC student papers: http://resources.conservation-us.org/anagpic-student-papers/
- Plus ACTS Facts, a newsletter about Arts, Crafts, and Theater Safety (ACTS): http://resources.conservation-us.org/acts-facts/