Tuesday, December 21, 2010

November Meeting Minutes


November 18, 2010

Conference Call Attendees:
Ryan Winfield

Karen Pavelka

Amber Kerr Alison

Carrie Roberts

Amy Brost

Heather Brown

Rose Daly

Stephanie Porto, liaison from the Canadian Association of Conservators (CAC) Emerging Conservation Committee (ECC)

Stephanie Lussier

I. ECPN October meeting minutes approved unanimously

II. IAG Meeting (Amber)

a. Minutes will be posted to the AIC website, engaging with students was a topic, JAIC is interested in reviewers, approach the specialty groups and see if there could be a member of ECPN in each specialty group. 40th Anniversary meeting – focus will be on Advocacy and Outreach, considering changing the format of the meeting to be more general sessions

b. Communications and Outreach – Metadata .pdf for CoOL – more efficient search engine for CoOL, Meg Craft is excited about a student database of research. Approached by Lori Foley in the Emergency Task Force in CERT, student representative, could be like Health and Safety. Contact NYU to see if they would be willing to make postings available to the wider community, online job postings are free on the AIC website, Add links to ET section.

III. AIC Webpage Education and Training Section (Rose/Ryan)

a. Determined that, rather than adding job postings, add links to sites that routinely have job postings. This eliminates redundancy and the time commitment involved with maintaining current job listings. Links to include a list provided by Amy Brost in a recent call, plus others including Washington Conservation Guild.

b. Follow up with NYU to see if they would post more broadly. Concern that regional postings are never broadly available. Perhaps leverage AIC site, which now has free job listings. This page could become more robust.

c. Add images – need to explore how to do this and through whom at AIC

d. Resume samples and tips being explored

e. Becoming a conservator – need to enhance/update this area as well

IV. Database of Student Research (Carrie)

a. Recent discussion among Sagita Sunara, Amber, Carrie and Rose via Skype. Agreement that a vetting process must be in place. Already inherently done by faculty/staff at training programs. To submit research, require a master’s, PhD, or at minimum, a diploma in conservation.

b. Hosts being explored (CoOL or other)

c. Costs being explored – perhaps the membership could be a source for funding

d. Scope – start with N. America and if it is successful, grow internationally

e. Rights – work will be watermarked and also the copyright will remain with the student

V. AAM 2011 Proposal (Rose)

a. It was not accepted, although it was perhaps due in part to submitting by the more competitive second deadline rather than the early deadline. Will try again next year. Many emerging museum professionals there, so important to enhance ties there.

VI. AIC 2011 Meeting (Ryan/Rose)

a. Determined that the Business Meeting should be held Tuesday at 6 pm, and the dinner on Friday night at 6:30 or 7. This way, people who cannot attend the full week can attend one or the other. Also, new contacts made throughout the week can be invited to the Friday event.

b. Angels Project (Ryan) not yet developed, but will take place the Saturday after the meeting ends.

c. Media relations (Rose) – possibility of reaching out to Philadelphia Inquirer to do a story

d. Possible difficulty in reserving rooms for resume or portfolio sessions. Instead, consider having portfolio reviews during the Exhibit Hall break. Possibly 2 students (6-8 portfolios) from each program present to discuss their portfolios, Thurs. 1-1:30 and 3-3:30, at 3-4 tables.

e. Lightning round of short talks will be another year, maybe on the topic of outreach programs. Perhaps at ANAGPIC.

f. Short talks for another year could be done by ANAGPIC participants. Cut their 25-minute presentations down to 5 minutes. Fellows, PhD candidates, etc. on second day.

g. ECPN Poster – Amy will design based on last year’s poster. Style guidelines for AIC are in development and will be helpful. Amy to work with Heather, and gather images from ECPN to include.

VII. Outreach (Heather)

a. Blog posts have been added. To make the site more of a dialogue, ECPN members are encouraged to post comments.

b. Heather is contacting conservation guilds to ask for submissions to the blog, so ECPN members can be introduced to the various guilds. Rose to provide contact info to Heather for Richard McCoy at MRCG as one person to contact.

c. Heather has started a “Top 10” list on the blog as part of building up education and training content.

VIII. Communications (Amy)

a. Flier – IAG is developing best practices for AIC publications, and these style guidelines will help inform the flier design. Flier will be ready for the AIC meeting in May, along with the ECPN poster.

b. Amy is seeking photographs from ECPN members showing them at work on various projects. Image specifications to come, but high-resolution (print quality) images will be needed, with permission from the copyright holder.

IX. Mentoring program (Karen, Ryan, Heather, Rose)

a. Possible mentors have been approached. Plan to match all mentors and mentees by Dec. 1. Then follow-up with previous matches, and a call for additional mentors and/or mentees.

X. CIPP (Rose/Amy/Heather)

a. Develop a section of the website or ECPN blog about starting a private practice. Will contact Emily Phillips and others in private practice to see if they would write for the blog, or provide tips that can be assembled into a webpage. Reach out to CIPP Chair also.

b. Emily Gardner, a Buffalo graduate, also has a forum for CIPP newcomers that could be leveraged.

XI. IAG documents (Rose)

a. ECPN members should familiarize themselves with the IAG documents for committees available on the AIC website. Login and then go to Member Center > Committees and Task Forces > Internal Advisory Group Services.

b. Ryan set up the necessary permission for Amy. Ryan can provide access if it is blocked.

c. Minutes of the previous IAG meeting are available there also

Next conference call 1 PM EST, Thursday, December 16, 2010.

Respectfully submitted,

Amy Brost

Monday, December 20, 2010

10 Tips for Becoming a Conservator

Tip #4: Begin assembling your portfolio early on

I think the term “portfolio” can be confusing to beginning conservators because all of the graduate program websites refer to your portfolio as a collection of studio art (paintings, drawings, etc.). You will need to have photographs of your artwork and/or original pieces to bring with you to interviews, but in addition to that you will be required to create a comprehensive binder showcasing all of your conservation experience: before and after treatment photos, copies of treatment proposals and reports, and documentation of any other preventive conservation projects and research. Altogether, this is what you should think of as your portfolio.

Oftentimes pre-program students will not see a single portfolio until attending the open house of one of the graduate programs; this was the case for me, so I really appreciated the opportunity to flip through ten very different portfolios, and ask the students why they organized them in a particular way. This is one of the reasons I highly recommend attending the open house days. Each school posts on their website when the next open house/portfolio day will be, and you can also email the department administrator to have your name put on the invitation list.

Examples of open houses, from 2010:



Winterthur (photo at right)

If you’re unable to make it to an open house, ask your supervisor and other co-workers if they have a portfolio that you can look at—current or not—just to get an idea of what is included as well as how it is formatted. More and more people are posting their portfolios online too, so try googling ‘art conservation portfolio’ and check out the ones that come up. These past students from the UT Austin program were ahead of the curve in posting their portfolios before the program closed.

One thing that makes a portfolio great is visual appeal. Before and after treatment photographs are necessary as documentation, but be sure to also take lots of photos of objects during treatment and of YOU while working. Conservators are used to building portfolios, so they should be more than willing to assume the position of personal photographer for you if you ask nicely.

And remember throughout the whole pre-program process to stay organized so that when you finally get ready to put your portfolio together, you won’t have to scramble to copy reports or find out the names and dates of every piece you’ve treated! It helps to make copies of all written documentation involved with the projects you’re working on as you go along.

Finally, don’t worry about spending a lot of money on the materials for your portfolio; ultimately, the content is what will get you accepted into school or chosen for a job.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Internship at Northwestern Library

Internship at Northwestern

Conservation Intern
Northwestern University Library

Part-time up to 18.75 hours per week, Monday-Friday 8:30am-5:00pm
Temporary position for 3-6 months

Salary: $8.75/hour

Northwestern University Library is offering a pre-program
conservation internship for a period of three to six months. The
Conservation Internship provides practical experience in a busy
academic library conservation lab and is designed to help prepare
applicants to Master's level training programs in conservation. The
internship is also an ideal opportunity for a Northwestern
University student interested in learning more about the
conservation profession.

The Conservation Intern will develop an understanding of the
functions and responsibilities of a research library conservation
lab working with a variety of library and archival materials.
Through the completion of specific internship projects, the
Conservation Intern will gain bench experience, develop skills in
treatment decision making, and participate in a broad range of
preservation and conservation activities.

The Conservation Intern reports to the Conservation Librarian and
works closely with other Preservation Department conservators
depending on the nature of assigned projects. Internship projects
will include the conservation treatment of a collection of
scrapbooks from University Archives and assisting with an item-level
survey of the Arabic Manuscripts Collection from the Herskovits
Library of African Studies. Treatments are likely to include
surface cleaning, humidification and flattening of paper, mending
paper and filling losses (including aesthetic compensation),
creating appropriate housings, and other treatments. The complexity
of treatments and level of decision making will increase as skills
develop. At the end of the internship, the intern will be required
to produce a written report or presentation of their work.


Candidates will need to demonstrate hand skills and attention to

Previous experience in conservation is preferred, but not

Applicants must be U.S. Citizens or eligible to work in the
United States.

Candidates must be enrolled in a bachelor's degree program or
have completed a bachelor's degree.

The application deadline is January 31, 2011. The internship will
begin in February 2011. Candidates should indicate desired length
of the internship in their cover letter. Interested candidates
should send a resume and a cover letter to:

Tonia Grafakos
Conservation Librarian
Northwestern University Library
t-grafakos [at] northwestern__edu

Saturday, December 18, 2010

AIC Committee for Sustainable Conservation Practices seeking new members

The AIC Committee for Sustainable Conservation Practices is seeking two new professional members to serve on the committee for a 2- year term beginning in May 2011. CSCP provides resources for AIC members and other caretakers of cultural heritage regarding environmentally sustainable approaches to preventive care and other aspects of conservation practice. We provide resources via electronic media, workshops, publications and presentations. Professional members meet approximately once a month via telephone conference to discuss progress of their shared ongoing tasks including editing the AIC Wiki Sustainable Practice Page, research, presentations, and writing articles .
Please submit a statement of interest and your resume to Sarah Nunberg at snunberg [at] aol [dot] com by January 17, 2011.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

10 Tips for Becoming a Conservator

Tip #3: Take advantage of online resources

If you’re reading this blog then you’re already on the right track! Blogs are generally written as editorials, but contain valuable resources like researched articles, interviews with conservators, or links to other useful sites. And if readers add their own comments (hint hint), you can build a great dialogue between a diverse crowd. Here’s a sampling of some blogs worth visiting: Art:21 Blog, Brooklyn Museum, Dan Cull Weblog, Indianapolis Museum of Art, June and Art, Jeff Peachey.

Social networking sites are wonderful resources for organizing information in one place. Even if you don’t feel like connecting with friends, you can use Twitter and Facebook to network with other professionals or simply check the pages for conservation articles, current news, and links to blog postings. Both sites do more or less the same thing—bring you updates from a variety of people and institutions—but some conservators prefer to tweet than share, or like instead of follow. On either site you will find up-to-date reports from ICCROM, IIC, the University of Delaware and more!

AIC also produces an online news bulletin, on top of the quarterly newsletter sent out by mail. Even if you’re not a member, spend some time perusing the AIC site. You can watch tutorials on chemistry, register for workshops and online courses, and watch a video or two.

Finally, be sure to subscribe to the Conservation Distribution List. Each week an email is sent out listing events, job postings, conservation questions, and general conservation news. Like all of the other websites mentioned, the distlist provides up-to-date information, but it’s all compiled nicely into an email and sent to you. Sign up here.

The greatest thing about all of these resources is that they are open forums that allow you to participate; you can share a link on Facebook, comment on AIC news, or even post your own article on the ECPN blog—and I hope you do!

Friday, December 3, 2010

The Midwest Regional Conservation Guild

If you’ve been reading our 10 Tips for Becoming a Conservator, you know how important it is to get involved with professional organizations. The Midwest Regional Conservation Guild (MRCG) is a great example of a regional group that has a lot to offer, and it exists to benefit conservators like you! I asked the current president, Laurie Booth, some general questions to get an idea of what the MRCG is all about:

1. When and how was the guild founded?

The guild was founded 30 years ago by a group of professionals in the Midwest who felt it was time to form a regional group in order to facilitate a dissemination of information and to represent the needs of Midwest conservators to organizations like the AIC and Heritage Preservation. Our last meeting was dedicated to a history of conservation in our flagship cultural institutions as well as a history of MRCG itself.

2. How many members does the guild have, and who is membership available to?

Membership fluctuates from year-to-year, but ranges from about 70-120 members. The Midwest is loosely defined in our case. We have no restrictions on memberships vis a vis location of our members. We have members from Colorado, Tennessee, New York, Pennsylvania, etc.

We are working on an official discount for student members – please refer to the wiki site where we will post more information on the discount (for meeting fees) when they become formalized. The actual discount will probably vary from meeting to meeting. 3-4 students are given discounts to each meeting but are expected to assist with registration and other duties in exchange.

3. What are the benefits of becoming an MRCG member?

Membership fees include receipt of our semi-annual newsletter and inclusion in the official directory. We have one meeting a year in the fall, sometimes associated with a special workshop that is occasionally opened to allied professionals, but only members are typically allowed to attend meetings, which involve separate fees.

Our meetings are designed to be low-priced and are usually offered at cost to our membership. In the last few years we have begun to offer workshops on such topics as museum storage, art in transit, the conservation of contemporary art, mastering fills, and similar subjects.

4. Does the MRCG have a website?

Our wiki site, set-up by Richard McCoy, objects conservator at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, is excellent and provides just about everything you need to know about the Guild and how to join.

5. Finally, what is the most special thing about your guild?

We pride ourselves on being open, friendly, convivial and an excellent place to meet fellow professionals. At our meetings (which tend to be small, typically 30-60 participants) we share information in a multi-disciplinary format that is not readily available at AIC conferences as most specialty group sessions run concurrently. Regional guilds are a great way to get a taste of the various disciplines available to the budding professional and to effectively network with conservators working at the various regional cultural institutions as well as those in private practice.

Thanks, Laurie, for that introduction to the MRCG! I hope our readers will take advantage of your website and contact you if they have any more questions!