AIC’s 40th Annual Meeting – Outreach to Allies Session, May 9, Collection Care Network Brainstorming Session: Table 1 – Mountmaking

The last presentation of the Outreach to Allies Session at the AIC Annual Meeting 2012 was an interactive session organized by the Collection Care Network. The leadership team of the network designed it as a way to identify priorities and projects for the network. Imagine nine groups of 7 to 9 people sitting around tables discussing the content of a nine different short videos. Each video presented a collection care challenge or question. The discussion aimed to suggest projects the Collection Care Network could develop that would provide tools to overcome the challenge or answer the question. Now imagine people engaged in conversation. So engaged they didn’t get up for food when asked to do so! So engaged they had to be asked a second time!! Now you have a very small idea of what the session was like. This particular post gives you more details about the discussion at Table 1. Look for the other 8 posts if you would like to review all the discussions.

Table One: I greatly appreciate the importance of good mounts both for visitor experience and for conservation so I was quick to volunteer to moderate the discussion at this table.  Due to the diversity of issues raised in the video and of perspectives around the table our discussions quickly became wide ranging.  Our table’s discussion dealt more with how we collaborate rather than what topics we deal with first.

The video: The video presenter was Shelley Uhlir, staff mount maker at the National Museum of the American Indian.  Shelley loved the idea of bringing together different but complimentary disciplines, of mount making and conservation.  She had seen the power of such collaboration in a mount-making forum held at the Smithsonian in 2010.  In that venue a wonderful conversation and exchange of ideas between mount makers and conservators took place.  Shelley hopes the CCN could make that sort of exchange available anywhere and anytime.   She went on to suggest a wide range of issues to address and kinds of information to exchange.

The discussion: Probably because the video was so clear and comprehensive in describing topics for interaction between conservators and mount makers the group discussion quickly turned to issues of how to facilitate exchange of information, particularly over the internet.  Concerns were raised about the person time required to maintain currency of information and several good suggestions were made.  The idea of having a credible source for information on the internet was especially appreciated and the importance of maintaining credibility emphasized.

The ideas for Collection Care Network projects:

  • Establish a Wiki or similar platform for sharing relevant information, especially providing links to the most reliable current information and not striving to reinvent the wheel.
  • Provide a venue for publishing reports on specific, small collection management and care related studies.  Such reports might be too narrow and focused for traditional publications but be valuable to colleagues facing similar challenges.
  • Establish dates for themed discussions, for example, selection and use of materials for mounts.
  • Possibly in conjunction with themed discussions, have a small group work intensively for two days to bring together a news report like summary of best current methods and information on a specific topic.

The contributors: Moderator – Robert Waller; Note Taker – Rob Lewis; Table participants – Priscilla Anderson, Jody Breek, Jennifer le Cruise, James Gilbert, Pip Laurenson