Guardians of World Treasures Sign Salzburg Declaration on the Conservation and Preservation of Cultural Heritage

From an IMLS press release:

Washington, DC-On October 31, 2009, 59 cultural heritage leaders from 32 countries, including representatives of Africa, the Middle East, South America, and Asia, unanimously passed the Salzburg Declaration on the Conservation and Preservation of Cultural Heritage ( The declaration was the culmination of “Connecting to the World’s Collections: Making the Case for Conservation and Preservation of our Cultural Heritage,” the Salzburg Global Seminar (SGS) held October 28 – November 1, 2009 under the auspices of the U.S. federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and SGS. The declaration will be widely distributed to cultural ministries and other policymaking entities; it has already been translated into Arabic.

The seminar built on the findings of “Connecting to Collections: A Call to Action,” IMLS’s multi-year initiative on collections care, putting them into a global context. It combined presentations by leading experts in conservation and preservation throughout the world with small working groups tasked with making practical recommendations for future action on specific topics. Those guiding topics included emergency preparedness, education and training, public awareness, new preservation approaches, and assessment and planning. One evening was devoted to a fireside chat on “conservation in the developing world,” with a panel of participants representing Benin, Iraq, Mexico, Singapore, and Trinidad and Tobago.

At the opening session, Vinod Daniel, Seminar Co-leader and Head of Culture Heritage & Science Initiatives at the Australia Museum, noted that he had never attended a meeting “as diverse as this, with people from this many parts of the world, as cross-disciplinary as this.” A report summarizing the discussions and outlining the recommendations will be published later this year, sent to key stakeholders around the world, and made available online at and

The Mummy Returns

GCI and Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) are hooking up for a five-year collaboration to conserver King Tut’s tomb.

“King Tut has magic that we must conserve for future generations. I was happy when we CT scanned the mummy of King Tut in order to reveal the secrets of his family, but now I am even more thrilled to invite the Getty Conservation Institute to restore his tomb and return the glory of the boy king,” said Dr. Zahi Hawass, Secretary General of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities, and Vice-Minister of Culture. ” I am happy that the GCI will look at the tomb and preserve its beautiful scenes.”

Read more about the project on the Getty’s field projects page>>

Custodians of World Treasures Meet to Discuss Conservation Issues, Possible Solutions

The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) reports that later this month, guardians of the world’s cultural treasures will meet in Salzburg, Austria, to explore global themes related to conservation and preservation and develop recommendations for protecting collections around the world. The seminar, “Connecting to the World’s Collections: Making the Case for Conservation and Preservation of our Cultural Heritage,” will be co-hosted by IMLS and the Salzburg Global Seminar (SGS) from October 28 – November 1, 2009; additional support has been provided by the U.S. President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities. The gathering in Salzburg will build on the IMLS’s initiative on collections care, Connecting to Collections: A Call to Action, to explore global themes, issues, initiatives, challenges, and successes related to conservation and preservation.

Read the full press release>>

AIC Session at AAM Conference

On May 1, 2009, AIC sponsored a session at the American Association of Museums (AAM) annual meeting in Philadelphia on disaster preparedness and recovery. Barbara P. Moore, an objects conservator in private practice in Rochester, NY, was Chair for the session. The panel included Anna Stanfield Harris, Curator of the Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art in Biloxi, Mississippi, Robert Herskovitz, Outreach Conservator at the Minnesota Historical Society, and Jerome Thompson, State Curator of the State Historical Society of Iowa. Approximately 100 people were in attendance

Anna Stanfield Harris demonstrated how the Ohr O’Keefe Museum’s emergency plan was applied during Hurricane Katrina, how well it served the Museum, and how that plan has been further developed in light of lessons learned to include regional collaboration on a “safe haven” storage facility.

Jerome Thompson then spoke about the state-wide communication networks that were used effectively during the floods in Iowa in the summer of 2008, and about the state-wide disaster response planning effort for cultural institutions that he is undertaking now.

Bob Herskovitz, who has been first on site to assist many cultural institutions that have suffered serious damage to their collections, spoke about what museum personnel can do before a disaster, in the midst of a disaster, and during the recovery phase to lessen the impact of the event on collections, staff, and institutions.

Finally, Barbara Moore gave the audience an overview of resources for museums to use both in developing disaster plans and in responding to emergencies.

AASLH: Federal-State Partnerships for Museums

The American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) has posted useful information and links on the Federal-State Partnerships for Museums. The Federal-State Partnerships Coalition is a group of 63 organizations, formed to advocate for federal grants that would come from IMLS to each state and then be distributed to museums based on the evidence of need as articulated at the state level, not the need determined at the national level. The Coalition has worked hard to be sure the museum field understands the benefits from such a program, and that members of Congress who work on IMLS legislation hear from the field that they should support the movement when IMLS is reauthorized (scheduled for 9/09).

The site includes information about the effort, frequently asked questions, a link to instructions on what to do right now to help, and a sample letter to congress members in support of IMLS.