ECPN meeting minutes from November 11, 2013

ECPN Conference Call Minutes
November 12, 2013
Submitted by Kendall Trotter
Eliza Spaulding (Chair)
Megan Salazar-Walsh (Vice-Chair)
Michelle Sullivan (co-Professional Education and Training)
Ayesha Fuentes (co-Professional Education and Training)
Anisha Gupta (Webinars)
Saira Haqqi (co-Outreach)
Carrie McNeal (co-Outreach)
Fran Ritchie (co-Communications)
Kendall Trotter (co-Communications)
Ryan Winfield (AIC Staff Liaison)
Ruth Seyler (AIC Staff Liaison)
Stephanie Lussier (AIC Board Liaison)
Rebecca Shindel, Indianapolis
Emily Gardner Phillips, New England
Courtney VonStein Murray, Denver, Colorado
Jennifer Bullock, South Carolina
Sarah Hunter, Austin, Texas
Erin Stephenson, Houston, Texas
Kimberly Frost, Florida
Genevieve Bieniosek, WAG
Amanda Burr, Southern California
1.Approve September 10, 2013 meeting minutes
Minutes were approved, Fran will post to blog and Facebook
2.Invite liaisons to introduce themselves and share updates
Eliza_ welcomes liaisons, asks for updates they want to share.
Carrie_ asks about questions on liaison toolkit.
Rebecca_ new to Midwest and doesn’t have much of an infrastructure on who is in the region. With the new AIC directory be able to help make a regional list?
Ryan_ in the new AIC directory, can click on ECPN box as interest and can put in state and criteria you are looking for and list will pop up.
Carrie_ good that liaisons are introducing themselves on Facebook to connect to those in regions. Fran_ on Facebook if not friends with someone, messages don’t go to main inbox.
Carrie_ possibly list liaisons contact info on ECPN webpage or on Facebook.
Megan_ we can list names, might not want to list their contact information.
Eliza_ good idea, possible for Facebook members to go through ECPN officers to get liaisons contact information. Post on liaisons may not be seen with everything going on in Facebook.
Megan_that’s why it should be put in the description.
Kimberly _ lives in Florida, everyone is spread out. Other than correspondence, what to do when having events is not feasible regionally?
Carrie _ some regions are more conducive than others for happy hours, etc. Create a Facebook group for those in your region, or an email list. Different levels for everyone in how much time they can devote and if it’s possible to get people together. The main point is to be the connection between region and ECPN so we know what you are up do. As long as they know you’re there if they have questions.
Eliza_ another way to interact is by sitting in on ECPN calls and sharing our activities with people in your region. And, likewise, to report back to us with ideas, issues, and questions from people in your region. Thanks liaisons, thanks Carrie and Saira.
3.Annual meeting update
Eliza_ spoke with Ruth, Ryan, and Stephanie last week. There is a document on Basecamp they worked on together. Happy hour will be Wed. May 28th at the Hyatt Regency Hotel Bar or atrium space near the bar or main lobby area. Ruth is looking into options. May not be possible to offer free food/ drink, may be possible to get happy hour specials. Thursday May 29th 12-2 lunchtime session. Combining info meeting, speed networking, 1 on 1 resume review and 1 on 1 career coaching all in one session. 12-12:45 lunch and informational meeting — brief time for ECPN to introduce themselves and to share activities. May be difficult to gain feedback because larger audience and lunchtime, but will reach a larger, more diverse audience. The rest of the time will be divided among the other events, it may be possible for people to participate in multiple things. The conversation can continue after the call. Ruth is putting together basic info for registration brochure. Many won’t register until after New Year. Hoping to organize events before people register then think about matching people for sessions. Will contact about how to divvy up tasks.
Saira_ sounds good. Especially planning in advance of registration knowledge.
Eliza_ some of the projects we’ll be able to work on beforehand include making a survey to see who people want to be paired with and guidelines for the experienced conservators for the 1-on-1 career coaching and resume review sessions.
4.Mentoring program update
Megan_ will be a call for those matching mentors and mentees, will discuss matching strategies then. Michelle and Megan have been pulling together resources ECPN created in the past. Next step is to organize into something easy to find and useful. Want to do more than preprogram and recently graduated.
Fran_ possible to overlap information to keep in categories but if it targets multiple groups can be seen in both places? Many think of ECPN only for preprogram. Need to show how it’s useful for other emerging professionals.
Eliza_ can also organize by subject matter?
Megan_ another subject is applying to schools, specific to preprogram. Could also do interviews in general to appeal to broader group.
Eliza_ personally would look more at subject matter than personal designation.
Michelle_ Some resources will be self-selecting but will have information for people in various levels. Don’t know how long it will take to put up.
Megan_ as continue organizing it will keep developing. Fran’s blog post for grad apps looks good, kind of thing that would want to be included.
Fran_ hopefully can be used for years to come.
Megan and Michelle will go over what they want to work on first. Need to review specific resources more carefully.
Genevieve _ through WAG getting together pamphlets to get more people into wooden objects conservation. Should distribute to mentors who may not have experience other than their specialty? How to distribute?
Megan_ Internships are a good way to distribute info. Can include WAG pamphlet in resources, can discuss later.
Eliza_ thanks Megan and Michelle.
5.Review of new website
Eliza_ looks great. ECPN page looks very different from old page and currently only includes description of group and names of officers. No longer has info on contact information etc. (Asked Ryan about this but was Ryan not on the call)
Ayesha_ couldn’t find the call number on the website. It is hard to navigate the page.
Eliza_ agrees, will ask Ryan.
Rebecca_ specialty groups are listed at the top and ECPN is not listed there.
Stephanie_ AIC wants networks to have more visibility but had trouble distinguishing groups requiring dues and not. Agrees that it’s hard to find ECPN, something that will continue to be worked on.
Anisha_ can find contact info in online directory, may be streamlining information.
Eliza_ Opportunity to redraft page the way we want.
Anisha_ Not wanting to depend on Facebook is another concern. Should beef up page with programs, how to get involved and ways to reach out to others.
Megan_ links to resources would also be nice.
Eliza_ for example webinar program wanted an archive of links all in one page for easier access. Not sure how doable but should try to put it forward and see what AIC thinks.
Ayesha_ Thinks it’s important to advertise ourselves. Don’t want to make people follow links, need to have a one stop internet face
Stephanie_ bothered by hearing statements like ‘get involved with AIC’ there is a liaison and paid AIC staff. ECPN is AIC. ECPN is working to achieve goals and AIC is working to help achieve these goals. Wants ECPN to feel like we are part of AIC.
Eliza_ thanks Stephanie. Should try to put information together in organized fashion, see what we can do by end of year. Follow up with Ryan on this through listerv.
Anisha_ next webinar early February. Ruth and Ryan doing Cuba trip in January. Subject is outreach and advocacy so want it before museum advocacy day, build into that momentum. Like to put planning call together week before Thanksgiving. Use weeks before to see what issues to cover and format of the webinar. Timeline: preliminary call in early December. After holidays in January 1 or 2 calls with chosen technology. Technology has been upgraded need to talk to Ryan and Eric about new features. Doesn’t seem too complicated, just seems better. Following American Alliance of Museums on museum advocacy day how to incorporate in webinar.
Anisha_ Suzanne Davis webinar on professional development follow up on talk at AIC originally thinking of March or April. Too close to annual meeting, being pushed back to next fall. Do blog post on issues posed in session as a teaser to the webinar? Thoughts on this?
Eliza_would be fine to wait until next fall. Just a topic of great interest in community. Need some way to address session or continue discussion before that.
Anisha_ would be good to get more information out there.
Megan_ Can do frequently asked questions as a blog and get Suzanne’s input.
Eliza_good to make this interactive. Ask Suzanne if can share PowerPoint from AIC and solicit questions and then do a blog post based on this. If she is open for it.
Michelle_q&a good way to create less static blog post. Her 1st post was great. Good resource of commonly asked questions.
Anisha_will get in touch with Suzanne about this.
7.Introduce Public Relations Toolkit
Eliza_ Started 2 years ago when AIC asked for assistance. Project currently lives on AIC wiki, encourages to take a look at it and will send out a link. Hoping to get in contact with those Involved. Not sure how many people are actually looking at it on the wiki. How to develop ideas?
Megan_ great strategy, know from poster not everyone looks at AIC wiki. Good to figure out ways to promote it. Glad working on it again because it’s a good resource.
Eliza_good to share with broader community.
Eliza_reminder to keep as much info as possible on listserv so everyone knows what’s going on.
Stephanie_ if you’d like to send a more private conversation, please copy her, Ruth, Ryan, and Eliza on communications with those outside of group. In case issues arise can move conversation along.
Confirm next call time: January 14, 2013 from 12-1pm ET
Won’t be dedicated liaison call, though we encourage the liaisons to attend, next dedicated liaison call will be in March.

AIC CERT Responds to Hurricane Sandy

On Monday, October 29, New York City was hit by Hurricane Sandy, leading to mass blackouts and flooding in Brooklyn and most of lower Manhattan. Among the areas that were particularly hard hit was Chelsea, home to many of the city’s art galleries and artist studios. A week later, the AIC Collections Emergency Response Teams (CERT) held two back-to-back sessions of the Consortium on Recovery of Works of Art Damaged by Flooding at the Museum of Modern Art. The meeting was filled to overflowing with museum, gallery, and conservation professionals and artists who were still reeling from the disaster they had witnessed.

The Consortium served as a means for conservators to guide recovery efforts across New York City. Lisa Elkin, Director of Conservation at the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH), started off by reminding attendees of the resources open to them, not least of which were the conservators around them. Then Kala Harinarayanan, Director of Environmental Health and Safety at the AMNH, reminded those present that however concerned they may be for collections, their health and safety must remain paramount. She pointed out that surge waters could contain all kinds of hazardous materials, while buildings may have become unstable after the storm. These are important things to keep in mind as we begin recovery efforts. She advised having a companion when re-entering a disaster site, using communication devices, and using personal protective equipment as advisable.

At this point, Beth Nunan, Associate Conservator at the AMNH took over. She covered the nuts and bolts of actually running a successful recovery, stressing the importance of planning prior to beginning the effort. She reminded everyone that documentation was key – not just of the damage to the site and objects, but also of the priorities, logic, and work-flow of the recovery effort. Beth also discussed ways to prioritize damaged objects, which could include business records that could be critical to the continued functioning of a business; storage, and inexpensive sources for needed materials. Caitlin O’Grady, Conservation Fellow at the University of Delaware, concluded the session by discussing various recovery techniques and their suitability to different scenarios, taking us through the merits and drawbacks of freezing versus air drying material, and discussing issues of mold and treatment. The entire presentation can be viewed here.

At the end of the meeting, attendees adjourned to a separate room to discuss more specific problems faced by those in the audience. This was where the true magnitude of the problem became clear. One attendee was dealing with forty-five different insurance companies, none of which had given permission to move the artworks to a stable area. Another had soaked canvases and no space to dry them flat. As questions arose, the conservators in the room worked together to find solutions to common problems. Eventually the room broke up into the various specialties, with paper conservators in one corner, paintings conservators in another, and so on, each dealing directly with attendee concerns.

The Consortium equipped all those dealing with recovery with a broad base of knowledge relating to the differe issues involved. In addition, it served as a gateway to getting involved with recovery efforts throughout New York, as among other things, attendees had the chance to sign up to volunteer their conservation services.


Additional Resources:

Museum of Modern Art – Hurricane Sandy: Conservation Resources

AIC CERT – Hurricane Response Google Group


Author’s note: A version of this post has also be posted to the NYU Conservation Center blog.



The 2012 Great Debate at AIC’s 40th Annual Meeting (Updated)

I’ve had countless great debates with conservators at AIC, but I think they’ve usually happened outside in the hallway, over coffee, dinner, or drinks.

This is year that all changes.  

For the first time ever, at the 2012 Annual Meeting in Albuquerque I’ll be moderating the Great Debate at AIC.  This is a modified Oxford-Style Debate that will feature two tough topics that will be debated by the best and brightest minds in the field of conversation today.  (I got the idea from seeing it at the Annual Meeting for Museum Computer Network; you can watch one of those debates here.)

An Update & Important Note: I have placed debaters on one side or the other arbitrarily!  The side they are arguing from may not actually be the side they truly believe. This was done in an attempt to surface the best argument from both sides.

So, without further ado, here are the topics and the teams set to do battle:

First Statement: Publishing accurate and complete “how-to guides” for conservation and restoration treatments online is the best way for us to care for cultural heritage in the 21st century.

Affirmative Team

  • Karen Pavelka
  • Paul Messier 
  • Mary Striegel

Negative Team

  • Scott Carrlee 
  • Victoria Montana Ryan 
  • Matt Skopek 

Second Statement: Having conservators perform treatments in the gallery is the most successful way to generate funding for museums and raise awareness about the profession.

Affirmative Team

  • Vanessa Muros 
  • Kristen Adsit 
  • Camille Myers Breeze

Negative Team

  • Suzanne Davis 
  • Hugh Shockey 
  • Sharra Grow 

To make the debate successful we’ll need lots of help from a highly engaged audience.  And I don’t mean just to cheer on your favorite team, we need you to participate in the Great Debate at AIC!

There will be a significant amount of time in the debate in which members of the audience will get to ask each team questions to which they  have to respond.  Plus, the audience will decide who wins the debate.

The goal of the Great Debate is to create a new forum at the Annual Meeting that encourages meaningful discussions and provides conservators the opportunity to demonstrate their capacity to address challenging issues directly, openly, and in a fun way.

So be sure to come out on Friday the 11th  from 2:00 to 3:30 pm to see your colleague do battle on stage in front of a lively audience.  I know I’m bias, but this is going to be the most fun you’ll have at the Annual Meeting this year!



AIC’s 39th Annual Meeting – Links to photos

Photos from AIC’s Annual Meeting are being uploaded to our Flicker site as time permits. Each photo below represents a set. So far I’ve posted photos from the reception at Philadelphia Museum of Art on Wednesday night, the Manikin workshop, and Thursday’s portfolio review session. There will be a lot more coming, so please check back regularly to this post or go directly to our Flicker site (at to view additional photos.

Museum Manikins Workshop (click on this photo to view the entire set)


The reception at Philadelphia Museum of Art, June 1 (click on this photo to view the entire set)


Portfolio Review Session (click on this photo below to view the entire set)

AIC-AM2011-020611-Portfolio Review-013-post

ECPN Officers (click on this photo below to view the entire set)