Conference Review from AIC News May 2008 (vol. 33, no.3):
The 2007 NATCC was a highly anticipated follow-up to a very successful 2005 Mexico City conference. The conference organizers, understanding the central role that preventive conservation plays in their field, put forth every effort to give this potentially un-glamorous topic the attention it deserves. 178 attendees from countries around the world gathered for two days of presentations, preceded by two days of workshops on varied issues such as mannequins & mounting accessories, aqueous cleaning methods, x-radiography for textiles, museum track lighting, and selecting safe exhibition and storage materials. The thoughtful exchange of information and the opportunity to network with colleagues did not disappoint.
Mitigating the risks of exhibition is a major component of preventive conservation. This was addressed in several papers dealing with national treasures of Canada, Mexico, Sweden, Colombia, Tanzania, Peru, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Traveling shows, environmental conditions, and physical supports were all discussed in various ways.
The sub-theme of Emergency Response was explored during panel discussions with Jane Long of Heritage Preservation, Robert Sonderman, and Theresa Voellinger of the National Parks Service. These discussions emphasized the importance of coordinating with the efforts of other First Responders, under the Incident Command System. Mary Ballard discussed the environmental conditions that encourage mold growth, and related these to the various processes that raw fibers undergo to become fabrics. Awareness of the macro and micro scale, and how one impacts the other, is another instance where perspective is important.
Simultaneous translation in English and Spanish, as well as dual-language publication, continued the decidedly international focus of the conference. Presentations closed with a look at the 2009 conference venue, Quebec City. Receptions at the Textile Museum and the National Museum of the American Indian provided attendees the opportunity to visit a remarkable selection of exhibits at both museums. The Textile Museum featured Private Pleasures: Collecting Contemporary Textile Art; Ahead of His Time: The Collecting Vision of George Hewitt Myers; and Textiles of Klimt’s Vienna. NMAI curator Emil Her Many Horses offered viewers a guided tour through the beautiful and in-depth study Identity by Design: Tradition, Change, and Celebration in Native Women’s Dresses.
-Allison McCloskey Leone is at the Williamstown Art Conservation Center
Courtesy of the American Institute of Conservation for Art & Historic Works (AIC)