Monday, August 31, 2009

ECPN Conference Call Minutes 8-20-09

ECPN Conference Call 8-20-09
Ryan Winfield
Katie Mullen
Rose Daly
Rachel Penniman
Kathleen Dardes
Angie Elliot
Jason Church
Steve Pickman

I. Welcome
II. Project Updates
a. Communications

Email, NING and Blog will get text of call for bloggers, please also send this out to folks that you personally know are interested.

ii. Skype interview with Jeff Guin
Interview between Jeff and Rachel P. will be posted. Address available soon...

i. Angels Project
Ryan reports that Ruth did not get a chance to visit any potential sites, but Tony Rajer is providing leads, and we will ask Ann to start looking for potential sites as well.

ii. Flicker site for presentation photos
Possibly -\groups\ecpn
No approval needed for joining, must join to post. Most important thing is to tag your photos as extensively as possible. Jason will do a blog post explaining how the Flikr group will work. Jason will discuss on the blog being aware about use your institution permits, along with an emphasis on photos that can be shared, and about how to edit the rights licenses

Logo – we’ll revisit the logo, since we’re branding on flickr, etc. We’ll ask for more submission within a month and then do a poll. Group members will try to go back and tag the logo entries in the blog in preparation.

c. Professional Development/Training
i. Status of training advisory group
RP reports for Amber that all ANAGPIC programs, except Buffalo, have contacts in place. Katie will send name of contact that she had initially at Buffalo. Then Amber will send out introductory email to advisory group explaining what types of things we’re looking to work on. Example: ECPN can coordinate with the programs to provide a consolidated source for emerging conservators on internship and volunteer (pre-program) info, and on possibilities funding info for attending conferences. The information can then be placed in the career section of the website.

ii. Mentoring
Angie – Ryan has passed on more applications. There need to be more matches – what’s the best way to do it? Ryan will send out an email blast w/ call for mentoring program applicants and bloggers.
How will people be matched up? – Ryan says that Angie et al, can match people once they want to know how to approach it. One idea: Rank people by 1st – how they want to communicate, then by specialty. The mentee applications will be sent to the mentors, who can then choose from a pool – but that might lead to problems if many mentors pick one mentee. Tyrna points out current program in NY to mentor possible museum directors, she will pass on contact info and we’ll see what they can learn from that program about matching people. An “online dating model” might be a good way to approach this as well – all people go into a pool that is password protected, then choose each other.

III. New Business/ Open Discussion
a. 2010 Budget
It is budget preparation time, come up with ideas for September about what type of budget we might like to see, which will go to the board meeting in November, e.g. funding to attend anagpic.
Rachel asks if people have ideas for projects that would require a budget. Example, should we try again to have a workshop at AIC?
Steve suggests for equipment for podcasts, as a possibility – Zoom h2 handy recorder, which is under $200. Ryan says AIC in general might purchase this, he’ll check into this. Jason could coordinate who and how it’s going to if we did get one. We are looking into meeting accessibility requirements in terms of close captioning and transcription for podcasts.
Also add budget for chairperson attendance at internal advisory group.
Budget for ECPN meeting at the annual meeting next year, which would be a good opportunity to solicit more mentors and mentees, and have those who are already meet. This will be also be announced in the official program next year.
We’ll have informal dinner again (but not a budget issue)

b. 2009 IAG Meeting
Nov 14th, Saturday. All committee and specialty group chairs meet with the board and all strategize for the next year of the organization. If we have anything for this – pass it on to RP before she attends.
No further new business.

IV. Setting of next call and adjournment

Next call will be September 17th 1 PM EST.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Interns begin a SOS! Project

During the summer of 2009, the four intern/fellows, Rose Daly, Diana
, Laine Kirkhof, and Laura Brill, decided to look at outdoor
sculpture through the SOS program to learn more about documentation
methods, outdoor sculpture, public outreach, and Vermont. Rose arrived
in Vermont with the idea for this project, and the three
other interns in the lab were interested in it as well. The
project is accessible to anyone, regardless of the extent of their
knowledge of outdoor sculpture, since the guidelines and forms are
already in place. There is even a girl scout merit badge, which we all wanted desperately, but had to be affiliated with a girl scout troop, too bad.

The project was very informal. Our objectives were to become more
familiar with the SOS process and investigate how the project had been
carried out in Vermont. We also wanted to encourage future efforts
in Vermont, and other interns to do the same in other states. After
researching and downloading SOS forms, we set out to examine a
Rose and Laura examining the first sculpture

We printed out reports an went to look at one sculpture as a group to get an idea of how difficult it would be to write up a report in the field. In terms of logistics, it took us about 45 minutes to fill out the form and take pictures. For this sculpture we used the longer form, that is no longer required by the project.
We brought along a camera, tape measure, our clipboard, forms and a pen. A flashlight, a
magnet, and color card could also be useful items.

A few days later, Rose, Diana and Laine went to the Vermont Historical
to research the 1992 SOS files. They spoke with Paul Carnahan
the VHS librarian, who explained the filing system, and gave some
suggested some improvements for future efforts. He was very supportive
of the effort and offered to publicize any future project through the
League of Local Societies. On a side note, Barre is one of Vermont's
biggest granite producer's and there are many granite sculptures and buildings in the area.
Diana and Laine researching previous records of sculpture and more about the goals of the SOS! project.

To prepare for the trip to Burlington Laura downloaded the Art in Public
Places tour booklet from the Burlington City Arts. We chose the walk
down Church Street as it had the most public sculptures. We looked at
Democracy, Leapfroggers, and Millennium Sculpture.

We greatly enjoyed the project and would recommend it to any emerging conservator who is interested in outdoor sculpture.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Abstract/Proposal Writing Workshop

* If you're eager to present a paper at a meeting but aren’t sure how to condense your ideas into 250-500 word proposal . . .
* If you’re familiar with bibliographic abstracts but aren’t sure how to convert that style into a dynamic and compelling response to a call for presentations . . .
* If you want to use the abstract-writing process as a way to clarify your thoughts for future writing projects . . .

. . . this is a workshop for you.

In this 60-minute online meeting you will learn:

* The four different goals for writing an abstract.
* What you need—and don’t need—to include in a paper or presentation proposal.
* How to write an abstract/proposal for a paper you haven’t yet written.
* How to make your proposal engaging without sacrificing your authority.
* Three simple tricks to match your abstract to a call for papers.

Writing a good abstract or proposal is a skill you can learn.

The workshop presentation will be a text-based discussion in a “Group Meeting” or IM format.

To attend the workshop: $25.00
Special: Attend the workshop and we will review* your draft abstract/proposal $40.00

American Institute for Conservation (AIC) Member Special: 20% discount.

Click here for the registration form ABSW09
Download, complete and mail or email your registration to us. Use the drop-down menu and button below to pay via credit card or PayPal. We also accept checks.
Mailing address: P.O. Box 6611 New York NY 10128

Monday, August 24, 2009

Why Blog?

I can't speak for everyone involved, but as someone who is engaged with trying to get the blog up and running in a meaningful way for ECPN, here's how I see it:

Why Blog?

I think the better question is why not blog?

*It provides a relatively informal forum in which emerging conservators can pitch their research, and get their names out there!

*It invites collaboration - in that the format of a blog invites informal peer review and discussion, in a more accessible way than other conservation publishing venues permit.

*It's timely - ongoing research can be posted and commented on. There is often a several year lag time with other venues.

*Along with collaboration and review, it encourages transparency in our work.
(see Richard McCoy's musings in Dan Cull's brilliant blog on the role of "conservy" blogs

*a blog invites discussion also on people's thoughts and reflections on the field, not just their research, in a timely and direct way that is not possible through traditional venues.
(here's a good example, again the product of Richard McCoy, guest blogger for Ellen Carrlee:
Indeed, look at all of Ellen's posts on the proceedings at AIC for great examples of how to marry quick dispersal of the research being done in conservation with review. Like this:

*The blog is a playground! Not only to get to know one another one one another's research, but for those of us, like myself, who don't blog on our own, it invites us to engage with and learn how to use emerging technologies and communications methods. And we can even find members to tell us how to begin!

*We're already attracting some attention and discussion, no? So I would say it will serve as a touchstone for building the ECPN community. And possibly serve as a base for those interested in some of the great blogging that a few conservators are doing now, through the engagement of guest bloggers and tools like a blog roll.

*It's empowering!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Helpful thoughts on writing a blog post

Writing a blog post can be daunting. You have a page staring back at you and you want to be informative, clever, and maybe a little silly. Luckily, there are several tutorials online to help you out.

The ECPN blog is run through is a great source for how-to videos of blogging.
From the basics of setting up a blogger account and writing a post, an example of adding pictures from the internet see this tutorial.
There are also youtube videos about adding youtube videos to a blog

Blogger provides a comprehensive help section as well.

Now we've covered the basics and the how-to, I would like to open a discussion about what makes a blog interesting and fun to read.
  • Write about what you know: I think this is most important, and if you have a specialized knowledge of something in conservation you would like to share, that's great. People will love to hear about it. Blogs are written by people, not corporations, and people want to know what YOU think.
  • Be honest, share your opinions, offer hints and advice, write a review about:books, articles, workshops, museums, websites, other blogs . The best blog posts are discussions that offer information, lots of links to sources for more information, and ask a questions to start a dialogue between the blogger and the reader.
  • Link as much as you can, let the reader decide what information they can follow. This tutorial can help you to add links in your posts.
  • Add photos and video if you can. There may be rules and regulations depending on your museum, and we hope to address those issues in future posts. I did find a number of photos of the Lunder Conservation Center at the Smithsonian American Art Museum online, and with Creative Commons I can use the photos if they are attributed correctly and not used for profit.

  • The information I used for this post I found on this site, and this one. But a simple search for "How to write a blog post" will give you many other sites.
  • But to really begin you need to understand and become part of the blogosphere by reading and becoming actively engaged with other bloggers.
Happy Posting!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

ECPN needs you!

We’re opening the blog up as a forum for our members! Get your name, your work and your own blog out there to your peers Are you an emerging conservation professional with something you’d like to say? Or an experienced professional with something you’d like us to hear?

Seeking guest bloggers for ~500-1500 word entries!

Suggested topics include your outreach efforts, your ongoing treatments, perspectives on your specialty, resources you think we want to hear about, how you get and keep volunteers in your lab, disasters you’ve planned for and ones you haven’t! Have another idea that you’d like to write about? Just let us know!


Pick a week in the next calendar year in which you think you can post one blog entry and contact Katie Mullen @ kamullen at library dot in dot gov to get signed up.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Helping other emerging professionals beyond our border…Part 2…Kinda…

Think of this as more Part 1a than as Part 2. So a little more than a month ago I posted about the initiative by the US State Department to develop a new National Training Institute for the Preservation of Iraqi Cultural Heritage in Erbil, Iraq as well as how we as emerging conservators could help. While I don’t have additional information to communicate at this time, I thought I would share something I came across the other day that very strongly resonated with me about what I had posted.

I listen to a podcast program supported by National Public Radio on WNYC called Radiolab, which is hosted by Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich. Let me say to begin with that I am a big fan of this podcast and would highly recommend it. I could try describing them but they do a much better job than I do: “Radiolab believes your ears are a portal to another world. Where sound illuminates ideas, and the boundaries blur between science, philosophy, and human experience. Big questions are investigated, tinkered with, and encouraged to grow. Bring your curiosity, and we'll feed it with possibility” (

I usually will listen to the episodes in spurts and often save them for when I am involved with a more in-depth conservation project. The other day I was listening to an episode titled “Race” that was originally broadcasted in December 2008 and revolved around a quote by Francis Collins in 2000 following the completion of the first full mapping of the Human Genome - "the concept of race has no genetic or scientific basis." The podcast sought to delve into what does this mean and where does it leave us by exploring the issue along several avenues of thought. What grabbed my attention was the last thought of the podcast, which focused on whether we can accurately identify a person’s background from their appearance. In it, a former translator and correspondent of NPR’s Baghdad office, Ali Abbas, related about how the question of identity and appearance in Iraq today becomes an issue of life and death based on the religious tensions and violence between the Sunni and Shi’a. The difference in identity came down to the spelling/pronunciation of a name (do you say uh.mar or uh.maar?).

The podcast is just over 59 minutes long but the section I am directing you to starts at the 48 minute, 04 second mark. You can find it at the following link: As you can see (or rather hear), the challenges that a program such as the Iraq Cultural Heritage Project (ICHP), which seeks to unite the Iraqi people around a shared cultural heritage rather than try to divide them, will be many. All the more reason that I again encourage you to show your support for this project and our future colleagues through the simple act of donating a book for the institute’s library.

For more information about donating, see the recent post on the AIC blog:

Friday, August 7, 2009

Scholarship to attend Museum Computer Network conference

The following announcement was posted to the AAM-EMP group:

Announcing scholarships to attend the 37th annual Museum Computer Network conference in Portland, Oregon!

The Museum Computer Network is delighted to offer museum professionals the opportunity to apply for scholarships that will enable them to attend the MCN annual conference in November.

The annual meeting provides an occasion where you can meet and learn from experts on the technology topics challenging today’s museums. It’s also a great time for networking and establishing new relationships to strengthen your resources for the coming year.

What? Eight scholarships are available to attend MCN’s 2009 annual conference. Each stipend includes the full conference registration fee, free hotel stay, and a US $50.00 stipend to cover additional expenses.

Who? This scholarship is available to museum professionals who meet one of the following criteria:
• Employed at an institution with no more than 20 permanent staff
• First-time MCN conference attendee.
• New to the profession with less than 2 years experience in the field.

Where?Museum Information, Museum Efficiency: Doing More with Less
37th Annual MCN Conference
November 11-14, 2009
Portland, Oregon

Why? The annual MCN conference offers tremendous personal and professional benefits and rewards. Not only do attendees gain professional knowledge from sessions, they also have the opportunity to network with professionals from around the world.

How? Complete the MCN 2009 Scholarship Application and Acceptance Agreement and submit according to instructions available online at

Submission Deadline: August 15, 2009

Questions? Please contact Jana Hill, 2009 Scholarship Committee chair, jana [dot] hill [at] cartermuseum [dot] org.