Portrait of an articulated skeleton on a bentwood chair,
originally uploaded by Powerhouse Museum Collection.
Here’s a quick blog post to catch up about the project and the strange and wonderful places it has taken me. I got a huge response from conservators internationally from the posting to the OSG-l and the consdist list. Since no one is an island, speaking to these conservators has been very helpful for me to realize that There is a great deal of interest in sustainable practices among conservators and collections managers. I have conducted phone interviews with numerous people, including Sarah Brophey, the co-author of The Green Museum.
One of the more interesting discoveries from these interviews is the sense of responsibility that museum professionals feel toward sustainability. The sentiments from the Getty interview with Tim Padfield, Ernest Conrad, and Franciza Toledo demonstrates two sides of the issue that I found really intriguing. Whether sustainability is a moral or a pratical decision. To me it is both, if the purpose of conservation is to ensure that cultural heritage is preserved, then you should also be working to preserve the environment as well.
I sincerely thank everyone who has contacted me about this project, whether it was to offer data, allow me to interview you about your practices, and especially to those who wrote me quick notes of encouragement or pointed me to someone else who could be helpful. I have been incredibly impressed by the interest and support I received.
So, where is this project going? With a 5,000 word limit and I have realized I have so much information that it will have to be more focused. I will focus on the Winterthur HVAC shut-down test case, and the information I have from other conservators will be summarized in a more general way.
I have already thought about a Phase II for the project, possibly next year or further in the future to study more about what can be done without systems to maintain the correct collection environment. I hope I will be able to attend the IIC Roundtable at the AIC 2010 meeting in Milwaukee about Guidelines for the Museum Environment. It will be exciting to see the authors of some of the papers I have been reading.