Tip #6: Attend conferences, lectures and workshops
Like lab visits, attending educational events can teach you a great deal about conservation, as well as give you an opportunity to meet other conservators, scientists, artists, and museum professionals. Take a look at the calendars of local museums, galleries, universities and conservation guilds to find out what’s happening.
Here’s an example of a conference on photographic materials summarized by Amy Brost.
Professional organizations generally hold an annual conference, which offers a plethora of lectures and workshops…enough to make it worth the trip to another state. AIC’s annual conference will be held in Philadelphia in 2011, and includes a variety of interesting paper topics, courses, and tours of conservation labs (see the schedule here). You can also check the websites of other organizations listed in tip #2 for upcoming conferences and events.
Even for those already in the field of conservation, continuing education is a necessity to stay abreast of current theory and practice. If you read the distlist, you’ll see posts about upcoming events every week, that target a breadth of audiences. Though some can be pricey, there are many talks and webinars that cost absolutely nothing, like this lecture by Carol Mancusi-Ungaro at the Menil Collection in Houston, or the Connecting to Collections webinar series. Just be patient and look around for something that suits you.