Thursday, June 12, 2008

Other Emerging Leader Groups

Hey emerging conservators, it's time for you to get to know your peers, to share your work, and to get informed about the larger world of conservation. AIC is actively working to form a group that will serve the needs of emerging conservators. Do you want to have a say? A role? Do you have an opinion about what that this group should become?

Lucky for us, there are already some models to look at. AAM now has an Emerging Museum Professionals Group, and a group of recent graduates in Canada just started the Canadian Association of Emerging Conservators which has just been accepted as an ad hoc committee of the Canadian Association for Conservation. Although their missions and scope are probably different from what this group is likely to become, it is helpful to be able to look at what has, and has, not worked for them.


"The EMP group was started by a handful of AAM's emerging staffers who recognized that people new to the museum field needed a better roadmap for career development and networking. This page isn't about us though. It's about you. Please share your ideas with us and get involved." (taken from the AAM website June 6, 2008,

The EMP group have presences on Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, and have a Google Discussion Group. AAM/EMP staff created a kit for those interested in planning an event that lays out very clearly the steps needed to have a successful event. Meet-ups have started around the country. In April 2008, there were events in Washington D.C. and New York City. At the annual AAM meeting in April, there were several EMP events, including question and answer sessions with established professionals, and open mic night at a local bookstore.


"The Canadian Association of Emerging Conservators (CAEC-ACRE) has been formed by the six post-graduate interns in the first cycle of the re-instated Canadian Conservation Institute (CCI) advanced internship program. Observing the imminent retirement of many veteran CCI staff members, and finding themselves in an ideal situation to form a group, the interns determined to form an association whose main purpose is to address the issue of the 'knowledge gap' in the field, to aid in efficient succession planning and to work to promote the interests of new conservation professionals.

The CAEC is pleased to announce that as of a vote taken on May 6th at the Canadian Association for Conservation (CAC) Board meeting, the CAEC is an official Ad Hoc Committee of the CAC. This status is meant to be temporary, meaning that in a year's time a vote by the CAC membership at large, to be taken at the 2009 Annual General Meeting in Vancouver, will determine whether the CAEC is to become a regular CAC Standing Committee. The intervening year will be an opportunity for both the CAEC and the CAC to test the waters in terms of a working relationship and to begin the task of tackling the issues that are of greatest concern to emerging conservators." (taken from the CAEC website June 6, 2008, )

YMP Blog

There is also a young museum professionals blog that is "dedicated to new museum professionals which is a more open forum. There is a link to the blog on the AAM/EMP website, but it seems to be run through a team of contributors, not through AAM. Some of their recent posts include:

· Museums: A Hot Bed of Liberalism? - Jun 5, 2008

· The Salary Conundrum - May 8, 2008

· Report on the next generation of nonprofit leaders - Mar 6, 2008

If you know any further information about this blog we are interested in hearing!

So Now What?

So now is the time to think about what you as an emerging conservator, or you who were once an emerging conservator, want from this group. Please fill out the survey and keep checking this blog- and leave comments. We anticipate discussions of Certification and other topics to begin popping up soon! In case you have a question you do not want to publicly post, and would like to respond to us as emerging conservators, please email Rachel (Buffalo '07) or Laura (NYU '08) at


Chris Watters said...

So it looks like the Candian group is focused on making a dedicated website for their group... I wonder if it would be possible to combine resources and have a central website community...

Perhaps something akin to Facebook for young conservators... it could have forums that are strictly professional discussions as well as, being a social/networking tool?

Chris Watters said...

Also, why aren't more people posting comments? This is only going to be a meaningful forum if people actively participate.

enunan said...

I am definitely interested in seeing a discussion of the AIC certification program, especially as we have all just received the new proposed program.

I'm not convinced certification is the way to go at this point. It is a very costly and time-consuming process for something that seems to only hold value when compared to non-certified conservators. We know the value of our knowledge. Most of us went into debt to obtain it.

Have I completely missed something? What is the point of this certification?

art.conservation.nation said...

The issue of certification is something that is very important to me, and hopefully to you, as an emerging conservator, since it will greatly effect the future of this profession. The newly released survey is very important as to whether the discussion about certification will continue in the next few years, or be put on the shelf. Although I have been hearing about certification for a number of years, I still don't really feel like I have a good grasp on what it is, how it will benefit me (or not), and whether I should vote to for the discussion to continue.

Amber, Rachel and I are trying to organize an online discussion for emerging conservators, and we are hoping to also have someone from the certification committee be available to answer some of our questions. Or at least to gather some questions and see if we can't get them answered. Please contact us at if you have questions, would like to participate in the online discussion, or would like to help in setting it up. If you have access to one of the committee members, we encourage you to encourage them, to be part of the discussion. Unfortunately we don't have very much time before the survey closes, but there is no rush to get it done before the 29th. So if you haven't filed out our survey yet, you might want to consider waiting until you have some more information.

There are several points that repeatedly come up in discussions of certification: Why such a long waiting period before we are eligible to take the exam? What really are the benefits of certification, and are the costs associated with development and implementation worth it? Wouldn't money and time be better spent on increasing public outreach and awareness of the field?

It was also not until recently that I learned that we are not the first country to try certification- Canada and the UK already have accreditation in place. See the websites of the Canadian Association of Professional Conservators, and ICON for more information about accreditation in those countries.

I would also like to comment on Chris' suggestion of pooling resources with the Canadian Group. I think that this is a really great idea. I am fully supportive of the AIC group, but it will be limited only to AIC members. We may want to consider a more flexible, independent, and perhaps international group, in addition to the formation of the AIC group.

As of right now, I think that AIC is looking over the survey that we all took about the emerging leaders group. I have no idea what the results are from the group, but hopefully they will be letting us know what is happening soon. The last I heard, there will be some kind of conference call between them and interested emerging conservators sometime in July (maybe August at this point). AIC is launching its new website sometime in the fall, so maybe we will have more resources available to us at that point.

If we are successful in organizing an online discussion we will post the information about it here as soon as we can. We will also try to send something out through email.


Anonymous said...

I am hoping that a certification program, among other benefits like being a huge boost to conservators in private practice, will also consolidate the AIC's standing in the museum/cultural heritage community in order to facilitate better advocacy for conservation.

In the UK, there are already minimum salary guidelines. Perhaps with a greater voice the AIC could organize our field better. Think about if we convince AMA to include a requirement that an institution needed to have a conservation employee/ consultant to recieve accreditadation... that would be a boon to our industry!