Call for topic-focused sessions and pre-sessions – AIC 2019

Greetings, colleagues! I hope your summers are off to a good start. We are now taking session proposals for AIC’s 2019 annual meeting. I know you get a lot of email, so in case you missed the call for proposals, all the info you need is below. Ruth and I hope to hear from you! We are both travelling this month, so if we don’t write you back immediately, don’t feel downhearted. We’ll be in touch as soon as we can.

2019 Meeting Theme

New tools, techniques, and tactics in conservation and collection care
Are conservation professionals innovators? We think so. From developing new approaches to conservation treatment and preventive care, to utilizing cutting-edge technological research, to examining how cultural heritage is defined and valued, conservation professionals are innovative, dynamic, forward-looking agents of change. And, how does collaboration with related fields and allied professionals influence the dynamics of the conservation – innovation process? We seek papers that explore all types of new work: practical, method-focused treatment projects; advances in collections care and management; discoveries in conservation science; and conservation initiatives that intentionally have a positive impact on communities.  In 2019, let’s come together to share new ideas for solving conservation and collections care problems large and small.

Call for sessions at the main meeting
Do you have an idea related to “New tools, techniques, and tactics in conservation and collection care” that would make a great, topic-centered concurrent general session? If so, please email AIC Vice President and General Session Program Chair Suzanne Davis at Include a tentative title, the program format, and a brief description of what subject(s) will be addressed; multi-disciplinary topics are encouraged. Members proposing sessions must be willing to serve on the General Session Program Committee. The deadline for submissions is June 28, 2018. For questions or to learn more, write Suzanne.

Call for Pre-session/Special event proposals
Do you have an idea for a pre-session event that is not exactly a workshop or tour? If so, please let us know! Just email AIC Meetings and Advocacy Director Ruth Seyler at with your thoughts on pre-session events. Calls for tours and workshops have gone out separately, but in case you missed those, please send them along to Ruth.

Abstract submissions should be no more than 500 words with an additional 300-word speaker biography and will be due on or before September 15, 2018. In mid-July, an email will be sent out with more detailed information including a link to AIC’s abstract submission portal.

For more info about the 2019 Meeting
View the results of our 2019 Annual Meeting Themes Survey to see how the theme was selected. For more information on the Greater New England location concept and the Mohegan Sun Resort, visit our 2019 Annual Meeting website.

Call for Participation: New Annual Meeting Event “A Failure Shared is Not a Failure”

AIC members from all specialty groups are invited to attend and participate in the event “A failure shared is not a failure: learning from our mistakes,” happening on Saturday, June 2nd, from 4:30 to 6:00 p.m. — click here to add it to your Sched. We will gather and share our cautionary tales, including treatment errors, mishaps, and accidents, with the idea of helping our colleagues not to repeat them.

Discussing mistakes is a hot topic that has already been embraced by others in our community. Two examples of events scheduled during the month of May are: “Mistakes were made,” a regular feature at the American Alliance of Museums conference, and the lecture “Conservation Confidential” hosted by our conservation colleagues across the pond in the Independent Paper Conservators’ Group.

Participants can speak for up to 5 minutes; if you prefer to remain anonymous, a reader will be happy to present your tale on your behalf. If you are unable to attend AIC’s Annual Meeting but would like to submit a tale to be read by one of our organizers or a colleague, please reach out.

Screens to project PowerPoint slides containing your images/video will be available (16:9 format), and a Dropbox folder will be made available for submissions. Please also bring your presentation on a USB Drive (highly encouraged). Time permitting, audience members inspired by their colleagues will be welcome to present. If appropriate (and acceptable to the speaker), the floor will be opened for questions and discussion following presentations. Extra points for suggesting safeguards and solutions!

Please note that this is a forum for sharing personal mistakes and solutions only. Participants are requested not to name other persons, organizations, work places, and avoid politics—institutional, national, and global!

The event will include a cash bar, so come, relax, unwind, share, laugh, groan, and learn. We plan to publish the event for those who wish to be included.

If you are interested in participating or have questions about the event, please contact Tony Sigel at or by calling 617-767-1900 (cell), or Rebecca Gridley at by May 10th.

Please include 2-3 quick sentences introducing your topic and indicate whether you plan to use a PowerPoint with images and/or video.

See you in Houston!

45th Annual Meeting – Opening General Session, May 30, “Preventive Conservation in the Renovation of the Harvard Art Museums: Before, During, and Ever After” by Angela Chang, Penley Knipe and Kate Smith

I was particularly interested in “Preventive Conservation in the Renovation of the Harvard Art Museums: Before, During, and Ever After” by Angela Chang, Penley Knipe and Kate Smith, as my employer LACMA is currently undergoing a similar museum building project.

Angela Chang, who presented the paper, began her talk with a brief summary of the museum’s history, which concluded with the presentation of the new LEED Gold building by Renzo Piano as well as the new storage facility that housed the entire collection during the museum building’s construction. She demonstrated how Harvard’s conservators successfully integrated the aspect of preventive conservation into an already established design and construction process. She also stressed the importance of cooperation and communication with external groups, such as administrators, donors, architects, and others, for the success of the project.

Angela discussed three main topics in conjunction with the new building.

  1. Samples of all potential and existing materials in the construction of the storage facility and the new museum were tested using the Oddy Test. Results of the tests, among other topics, were discussed in weekly construction meetings held with architects, contractors, engineers, and project managers. Only 50% of 900 tested material samples passed the test and some materials needed to be tested repeatedly due to sample mix-ups. Existing fireproofing material made of cementitious plaster, for instance, was completely removed from the storage facility for the sake of the preservation of the collection and health of humans.
  2. 300 computerized and smart, single or double blinds control the light levels in the exhibition spaces and the conservation labs, but the new museum building turned out to be more light flooded than initially expected. A seasonal programming schedule was derived from a light monitoring program based on over 50 readings and requirements from the facility department. Based on the seasonal occurrence of light leaks, conservation staff needed to identify exhibition areas not suited for light sensitive artworks and still works on permanent displayin order to safely exhibit parts of the collection. Light blocking films, for instance, are currently being tested to address light leaks.
  3. For a short time now, visitor incidents are recorded systematically and measured with a program developed by Security, Conservation, Collections Management, and IT called Art Touch Cards. The 46 guards can notify conservation and collection management staff immediately with urgent issues; minor issues are reported by filling out cards that are compiled and reviewed daily. Based on quarterly analysis of the data, artworks and galleries with a high incident rate can be identified and issues can be addressed. Improvements were made by adding colored lines of tape in the galleries as visual barriers, editing label texts, limiting the amount of visitors in one room, staffing galleries, and training guards.

Angela summarized her presentation by pointing out that all departments serve a collective purpose and that how relatively simple management systems, like the Art Touch Cards, can bridge interdepartmental communication gabs. She reiterating how the success of the building process, as well as its maintenance, is dependent on the close collaboration of different departments and external groups.


45th Annual Meeting, May 31st, (Treatment: Going Big) “Puvis de Chavannes’ Philosophy: Condition Issues and Strategies for the Removal of a Severely Detached Mural, its Conservation Treatment and Remounting,” by Gianfranco Pocobene and Ian Hodkinson

Gianfranco Pocobene and Ian Hodkinson’s talk about their rather harrowing treatment of a large mural panel, Philosophy (1895-96) by Puvis de Chavannes, in the Boston Public Library perfectly fit its placement in the session “Going Big.” Pocobene presented the project while also referring to his past involvement with the entire allegorical cycle when they were last treated by the Straus Center for Conservation in 1993 for moisture problems and resulting damage.

Treatment of Philosophy was spurred by the discovery in 2014 that the mural panel, which was adhered into a plaster niche, had partially detached from the wall and was beginning to buckle and sag. After stabilizing flaking paint and supporting the detached areas with padded battens set into the niche, Pocobene and Hodkinson embarked on an investigation of the attachment interface between the canvas and wall as well as the building’s structural components behind the mural to understand where the moisture penetration had originated from and how to proceed with treatment. Cross-section analysis by Richard Wolbers confirmed observations made about Puvis’s painting methods during the 1993 treatment of the cycle. Exploration into the structure of the support was made available through a small area of missing brickwork discovered after removing a piece of oak trim from the edge of the mural. This revealed several things: multiple plaster layers, corroded tie wires attaching metal lathe to steel angle bars, and that the canvas and paint layers were embrittled and liable to shatter with any application of pressure. They concluded that the corroded tie wires were the sources of the paintings detachment and water infiltration may have been caused by a flue carrying a HVAC duct encased behind the niche and a nearby internal rainwater downpipe.

Pocobene and Hodkinson faced the hefty task of removing the already 80% detached mural from the niche and keeping it as planar as possible to avoid loss and damage to the brittle paint surface and canvas. Pocobene reviewed the many questions and summarized the discussion that led to the final treatment decisions. As there were no other examples in conservation literature regarding such an undertaking, careful inquiry, tests with a scaled mock up, and reliance on past experience with mural conservation were imperative. However, inaction was not an option and the authors bravely went where no other paintings conservators had gone before.

The removal process, although more intricate than I will describe in this short blog post, involved facing the front of the mural with Kozo paper and Belgian linen, removing the marble fascia and allowing access to the bottom edge of the mural (undertaken by stone conservator Ivan Myjer), and using a back support, top support, and sliding supports to carefully support the mural as detachment of the mural progressed. Although slate rippers were used to detach the mural at the scratch coat to brown coat interface, the authors eventually used vibration alone. Block and pulleys were used to hoist and maneuver the mural (attached to panel supports by extended strips of the facing) from the niche and it was carried to a separate room a floor above the Grand Staircase.
The preparation for and lining of the canvas presented additional challenges for the authors. First, plaster was mechanically removed from the verso, but the lead white adhesive was allowed to remain. The initial lining was carried out with BEVA 371 and an interface of Belgian linen, but the aluminum skin on the honeycomb panel support began to fail while the lower sections were being lined. For the second, and successful, lining attempt a new honeycomb panel was fabricated and 10% paraffin wax was added to the BEVA 371. The added wax was found to allow easier reversibility, a lower activation temperature, and no change in strength. The subsequent filling, inpainting, and reinstallation were briefly discussed, but were not the primary focus of the talk.

This talk was a perfect representation of the trials and triumphs encountered in the treatment of large-scale works. Pocobene and Hodkinson proceeded through a complicated and uncharted treatment with logical decision making, collaborative discussions, and employing knowledge gained from years of treatment experience

45th Annual Meeting – General Session: Beyond Treatment, Wednesday May 31, 2017, “What’s so Ethical about Doing Nothing?”, Jonathan Ashley-Smith

Despite describing himself throughout his presentation as a 20th century dinosaur, Jonathan Ashley-Smith gave a very humorous and thought-provoking presentation on a topic that is very relevant to conservators of this and any other century. It overlapped and contrasted in a very interesting way with Elena Torok and Meg Loew Craft’s paper, presented shortly afterwards, “In Support of the Bigger Picture: Preventive Conservation as a Recognized Specialty”.

There was a lot of depth to the presentation – too much to be clearly conveyed in this post – and I hope that a paper is published so that I and others can take the time to digest and debate the issues raised. To cut to the chase, Ashley-Smith’s presentation lamented the loss of in-depth treatment knowledge and well-developed hand skills in the ‘modern’ conservator. He attributed this partly to the increase in preventive conservation activities in institutions, partly to the shift away from a craftsman model towards a more intellectual or scientific focus, and partly to a decline in the teaching and maintenance (including professional development) of interventive treatment skills.

In presenting this thesis, Ashley-Smith did not deny the need for preventive conservation. He sees the increase in preventive activities as a response to budgetary pressures, where arguments of economies of scale and the risks associated with interventive treatment are encouraging institutions to favour “doing nothing”. He does remind us, however, that preventive conservation does not do nothing – you can alter the dimensions or rate of degradation of artifacts through altering their storage climate – with obvious potential benefit as well as risk. Furthermore, objects are not held in suspended animation in storage, they are just in a waiting room until they are “displayed, mended, rehoused, thrown out, studied or mauled”. In storage risk can be controlled but not eliminated.

With regards to his second point, Ashley-Smith argues that the decline in practical skills has occurred due to an increased focus on the intellectual, brains over hands. He cites the example of a skilled conservator with 40 years experience who was asked to leave his university teaching position because he did not have a doctorate. This is causing a decline in standards where conservators no longer have the required knowledge and hand skills to undertake complex treatments. In such a case it is unethical to undertake treatments where you do not have the required skills and experience, but it is not because the treatment in itself is unethical.

In addition, Ashley-Smith contends that there has also been a move by professional conservation associations to reduce risk, which is being achieved through increasingly narrow interpretations of what constitutes ethical treatment. In their turn, codes of ethics reference greater enforcement of ethical standards, with associated exclusion of those who do not meet the standards. This can be exacerbated by
social media where conservators can be shamed away from actions that others believe are wrong, and leads both to conformity and hiding skills, also preventing the development and celebration of treatment skills.

As a solution to these issues, Ashley-Smith has several propositions for conservation professional associations: to embrace diversity and inclusion, and reject conformity, through stimulating consistent reasoning and active discussion, and encouraging individual accountability; and to create more fellowships and internships for further study and practice of interventive treatment in individual conservation specialisations. If institutions are unable to accommodate this then it could be achieved by supporting the private conservation sector to offer training in hands on skills.

In finishing with a quote from Joni Mitchell, “that you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone”, Ashley-Smith left the audience to think about and debate this important topic.

45th Annual Meeting – Unique Objects/Unique Treatment, Weds. May 31, 2017, “Nanocellulose films: properties, development and new applications for translucent and transparent artworks and documents,” presented by Remy Dreyfuss-Deseigne

Remy Dreyfuss-Deseigne described research related to mending methods for transparent materials using nanocellulose films. His research has been carried out with several institutional partners, at the National Library of France (BnF, Paris, France), Research Center for Conservation (CRC, Paris, France), French Museum of Cinema,  and during his 2015-2016 NEA fellowship in paper conservation at the Conservation Center for Art & Historic Artifacts (CCAHA, Philadelphia, PA).

Remy opened with some images of difficult structural problems: torn gelatin windows, animation cells, and architectural drawings on tracing paper. He then introduced nanocellulose, explaining how it is made, what its properties are, and its potential for use in conservation.

His work focuses on one kind of nanocellulose, microfibrillated cellulose (abbreviated MFC).  Nanocellulose materials are produced for a variety of uses in electronics and biotech, and are being researched and manufactured by several universities including in Grenoble, France  and at the University of Maine.

Nanocellulose is produced by mechanically shearing wood to rip apart the fibers until they are nano in scale.  Cotton, spruce and birch can all be used as sources for nanocellulose. The amorphous parts of the remaining cellulose structure are treated with acid in order to dissolve them, leaving highly crystalline fibrils.   There is a lot of ongoing research into the production of nanocellulose in the nanotechnology, renewable materials, and sustainable engineering fields.

Nanocellulose fibrils vs. crystals, image from:


For conservation applications, Remy compared the properties of nanocellulose films to  lightweight Japanese papers like gampi and kozo used to mend tears on translucent artworks. Nanocellulose is supplied as a gel that can be cast out by pouring into a petri dish and evaporating out the water, creating films that vary proportionally in thickness related to concentration. Remy’s research investigates its properties in combination with different adhesives, and its response to artificial aging tests (light, temperature and humidity) as well as mechanical strength tests.

He found that the nanocellulose films were thinner than papers but quite strong (nearly as strong as Gampi), and mostly behaved like cellulose, a good thing for their use as a paper conservation material. Most importantly, mends made with the thin films are practically invisible in regular and transmitted light. These mends were demonstrated on translucent slides with tears from the collection of the  French Museum of Cinema (impressive work!).  Ongoing testing will include further analysis of the material, e.g. pH and mechanical strength measurements and fungal resistance tests.

While this was the first time I had heard about nanocellulose it has many potential uses, and not just for mending translucent materials. As a biomaterial derived from renewable forestry resources, nanocellulose has gotten a lot of attention over the past five years for its potential in industrial applications. Given its high ratio of strength to weight it has great potential for use in fill materials of all types, and has already found applications in industrial 3D printing as a substitute for carbon fibers in composites.  Since it is compatible with many adhesives, it may find wide-ranging applications in conservation. I am looking forward to hearing more about Remy’s ongoing research and thank him for the excellent introduction to an interesting material. You can learn more about Remy’s work at his website.

45th Annual Meeting – General Session, May 31, “Not a Known Carcinogen: Health and Safety Considerations of New and Innovative Treatments” by Kerith Koss Schrager, Anne Kingery Schwartz, and Julie Sobelman

As conservators, we routinely use a host of chemicals, sometimes in ways that are unusual. As a result, it is important for us to take proper precautions at all times. However, as objects conservator Kerith Koss Schrager and industrial hygienist Julie Sobelman pointed out at this year’s annual meeting, we may not always do so. Since we are used to solving complex problems, we do not always seek out health and safety experts to interpret for us, even though they may be required. Much of our behavior around health and safety is learned by example, and we may make judgments based on personal experience. While we are always taught to prioritize the safety of the objects we treat, we may not always prioritize our own safety in the same way.

Kerith and Julie illustrated these issues using the example of cyclododecane. Cyclododecane is used in multiple areas of conservation, and while there are over 100 conservation publications mentioning it, few of these mention health and safety concerns. Most of conservators’ information about the chemical comes from the safety data sheet (SDS), which suggests that it is not hazardous. A survey of conservators found that roughly half of those surveyed did not believe it was safe, while 18% believed it was. The respondents based their answers on either the SDS or on hearing of other conservators using it. However, the SDS for cyclododecane is based on industrial use of the chemical, which is very different from the way conservators use it. In the case of cyclododecane, research is conflicting as to whether it is hazardous.

Rather than looking at just the SDS for a chemical before using it, Julie suggested consulting additional resources such as EPA Chemview and CDC/NIOSH International Chemical Safety Cards. If we have to use chemicals about which we are uncertain, using proper environmental controls and other protective equipment is important: using a fume hood does reduce exposure.

Julie and Kerith ended their presentation with a plea for conservators to create a culture where health and safety matters. As a newly fledged conservator who does oversee interns and volunteers, I left the room committed to making sure that those who share my lab have no reason to regret doing so.

45th Annual Meeting – General Session, May 30, “When An Airplane Acts Like A Painting” by Lauren Horelick

The subject of this talk was the treatment of “Flak Bait”, a World War II B26 Marauder at the National Air and Space Museum with an impressive track record – 207 missions with no crew loss, the only remaining B26 from the Normandy landings, with its original paint intact, though a green and grey overpaint had been added when it originally was put on display. The aim of the treatment was to make the aircraft look exactly as it did at the end of the war. This included not only the painted surfaces, but the doped fabric elevators, rudders, and ailerons, which were the main focus of this talk.

The doped fabric sections had historic patches, from repairs made while the aircraft was in use, as well as post-historic tears. Traditionally, doped fabric parts of aircraft are re-covered, rather than repaired, and the art of doing so is maintained by the aircraft maintenance restorers at the NASM. In order to preserve the “patina of use” of the object, this standard approach would not be an option. Lauren opted to explore different treatment options, and opted to look at how known methods from paintings conservation could be applied to this project, as the doped fabric had a lot in common with a painting on canvas. The eventual treatment involved careful facing of the material and removal from the frame, followed by cleaning thoroughly to remove ingrained dirt and mold. This worked largely according to plan, with one issuee when the stabilized fabric was returned to the frame – the repair of a major tear had allowed 0.5% shrinkage over the length of the object, causing significant registration issues. Eventually it was possible to relax the fabric and return the object to an acceptable position on the frame. A resin coating applied over the surface successfully shifted the color from chalky yellow back to the original olive green, addressing another overarching issue of the treatment, maintaining uniformity of appearance over the entire object.

The part of this talk that resonated the most with me was the discussion of conservation versus restoration, especially when restoration practices such as re-covering doped fabric aircraft are “celebrated practices”. Another presenter also made this connection – Davina Jakobi, in her talk on conservation of ship model riggings, quoted Lauren and expressed that she had found the same challenges in deciding to repair rather than re-rig. Navigating these ethical questions can be tricky territory, but when handled with grace as both Lauren and Davina did, can provide great results. Lauren counted the improved collaborative relationship between conservation and restoration as one of the main benefits of this treatment, along with the development of new methods to save an ephemeral material, and I would have to agree.




45th Annual Meeting -Treatment: Don’t Go It Alone, May 31st, “A Pole with a Story: Innovation Conservation and Documentation of an American Indian Story Pole” by Lesley Day

The narrative of this talk focused on a 12-foot story pole carved by William Shelton (Coast Salish), in 1930, specifically the treatment of a 6-foot section of it that is within the collection of the Hilbulb Cultural Center in Tulalip, Washington. Shelton has an interesting backstory- unlike most Northwest coast Indians during the turn of the century, he avoided boarding school was raised in traditional Indian ways only to leave home later to learn English and the white man’s ways. His position in both worlds allowed him to bridge divides and achieve some cultural allowances during a time of intense restriction and suppression. This included permission to carve the monumental pole which would capture many important stories of his people that he feared were at risk. Totem poles are a well-established material tradition for Northwest coast groups but the invention of story pole is credited with Shelton.

This pole was cut into sections and separated at some point in the past. A section was brought into the collection by the community. When the conservators, Lesley Day, Ellen Pearlstein, and Claire Dean, first encountered the pole section, it was in poor condition, covered with debris with large areas of wood loss and flaking paint. Lesley showed a series of time-lapse videos of the cleaning, which effectively demonstrated how this technological format can not only be an excellent tool for outreach but for the Native community also provides access and transparency. This was not the only time-lapse video in the conference; one was also included Lauren Horelick’s talk on the Flak-Bait in the General Session. Aside from cleaning, significant instabilities caused by insect damage and biological growth needed to be addressed. The wood matrix was punky and splintering, thus the surface needed consolidation. The conservators selected Butvar B98 in ethanol, a popular resin at this year’s annual meeting; it was also chosen as a consolidant for plaster in a treatment presented by Hugh Shockey’s in the Objects Session. In addition to wood consolidation, lifting and flaking paint was stabilized using cast Paraloid B72 film that was inserted behind the lifting flakes and heat set with a tacking iron.

After consolidation of the surface, major structural losses, which left undercut and unsupported areas, were stabilized. The conservators wanted to avoid impregnating the structure with epoxy resins, an undeniably irreversible intervention. Therefore they developed a removable system using a flexible epoxy Conserve W200 that was built up in several layers to avoid being locked in place by undercuts. These elements were then adhered into place with Butvar bulked with phenolic microspheres. Conserve W200 was selected for the reason that its flexibility would be compatible with dimensional changes in the wood.

Due to the scale of the pole and lack of access to fume extraction, the treatment was undertaken outside under a carport tent instead of in the restricted-access conservations labs, which is more often the norm. Along with the time-lapse video, the outdoor context allowed further community outreach which benefited the project significantly. During the visit of a community member, it was discovered through memory that the top section of the pole existed and was within the museum’s collections storage. It had been feet away the entire time but unassociated.

There are future plans to reunite the pole sections. A contemporary carver in the community was consulted and has proposed carving a strong back that would unite the two pole sections. Though it could not have been easy to work outdoors and under the eyes of the community, the invaluable connections made through these interactions proves once again that these actions are critical for best practice in the field.

44th Annual Meeting: General Session: GO – Emergency Response, Monday 16 May 2016, "Building a Foundation for Cultural Recovery, Resilience and Future Conservation Efforts in Haiti after the 2010 Earthquake" by Stephanie Hornbeck and Olsen Jean Julien

In the aftermath of the major earthquake that struck the Port-au-Prince region of Haiti in 2010, the Smithsonian Institutional Haiti Cultural Recovery Project was formed in partnership with the government of Haiti. The partnership was established to assist local professionals in the recovery of their cultural heritage. The 2010 earthquake was the most destructive event in Haiti’s history and resulted in the collapse of museums and historic structures.

Stephanie Hornbeck

The project was launched in 2010 and continues to be highly successful. The efforts began by defining a plan for the partnership, both within the Haitian government and the cultural sector. Funding, provided from both public and private donors including AIC, exceeded three million dollars and was used in finding a facility that would house the 100,000 objects endangered as well as hiring a staff that worked to rehouse, document, and treat this collection.
The Cultural Recovery Center staff included local and international conservators, 54 international conservators and collection managers, and local assistants including 13 full time students. Ideal volunteers came with an open-minded attitude and willingness to help wherever needed.
Conservation priorities were established for the endangered collection, which included West and Central African tradition, Historic Haitian Art, and Contemporary Haitian Art. Some of the artifacts recovered include broken panels and paintings, crumpled and torn paper, broken sculptures, and built heritage in total collapse. Conservation and preservation professionals faced numerous challenges including working in a tropical climate, lack of written and photographic inventories, and a general absence of basic collections care practices. The country has faced decades long problems with discontinuous electricity and many museums didn’t have covered windows. The presenters emphasized that their goal was not to establish priorities within the collection, but to aid in stabilizing and treating the collection items that locals deemed a priority. This commendable attitude proved to be quite difficult at times, as many museums did not have their collections prioritized prior to the earthquake.
Some of the conservation activities included assessing and improving facilities, providing guidance and support during the stabilization of damaged collections, training volunteers and staff to process and stabilize a high volume of damaged works, and treating a selection of culturally important and badly damaged works. The treatment stage included the stabilization of 35,000 works from 20 institutions.
The presenters gave reasons for why stages of the Haiti Cultural Recovery Project were successful or unsuccessful. Less successful situations arose when establishing an agreement with the National Bureau of Ethnology, negotiating with ISPAN for the construction of the conservation center on public property, and managing the transition from one government to another. In addition, the speakers stated that it was difficult to have the Haitian government to be proactive and take ownership of the project. Success was attributed to the core set of values shared between the six types of partners. When translated into the management of the situation, these principles lead to a mutually understanding, which ultimately lead to the success of the project.