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AIC 2010 Notes: Photographic Materials

Notes from two PMS sessions on Fri., May 14, 2010

Debbie Hess-Norris, Henry Francis DuPont Chair of Fine Art ice Provost for Graduate and Professional Education and Chairperson, Art Conservation Department University of Delaware

“Challenge and Strategies in the Preservation of Photographic Collections: Here, There, and Everywhere Across the Universe”

Hess-Norris participated in the Salzburg Global Seminar Connecting to the World’s Collections: Making the Case for the Conservation and Preservation of our Cultural Heritage, a joint IIC and IMLS presentation in late 2009. This was a continuation of the IMLS Connecting to Collections national initiative, and brought together people from across the globe to talk about the current state of photographic collections and preservation. The Salzburg Declaration was later released. PDFs of the sessions and more information can be found on the IIC website.

Hess-Norris gave an information rich presentation. My notes are mostly bullet points as I was trying to keep up with her. Hopefully her presentation will be written up somewhere. The main overall themes from the conference were:

  • paradigm shift form traditional perception of culture as elitist
  • must work to build international connections and include policy makers and the public
  • avoid knowledge and storage of knowledge in silos, collaboration is essential
  • learn from indigenous peoples to keep their culture alive; teaching must not be impose but requested
  • increased use of technology, blogs, social networks, websites
  • work top down and bottom up
  • cast global challenges as opportunities not barriers, be flexible and allow for compromise
  • heritage preservation must be represented in forthcoming climate change treaties
  • must balance preservation and access

Hess-Norris covered these themes from the conference and the subsequent conversations that have been happening via email.

  • Advocacy and public awareness
  • Conservation in developing world
  • Indigenous communities, access and cultural rejuvenations
  • Emergency preparedness
  • Collaboration
  • Sustainability
  • Salzburg Declaration
    • affirmed value of cultural heritage
    • urged cultural heritage sector to work together
    • integrate cons activities into economic initiatives
    • raise public awareness
    • strengthen research, education and exchange of knowledge
    • responsible conservation strategies
  • Keep discussion going

Theresa Anne Voellinger, Paper/Photograph Conservator, NPS Harpers Ferry Center

“National Park Service Service-wide Initiative for the Preservation of Film-based Media: Update and Presentation of Multimedia Training Program”

This is the fourth year of this project which seeks to provide stable cold storage for film based materials and train NPS staff in how to identify, package and store these materials. There is an estimated 30 million items in the NPS system that could benefit from cold storage. They are working with 250 Park sites, about 100 of whom have collections that will get individual freezers. The other sites will get training, including the new web-based training module (also available on videotape from NPS).

The training covers the purpose of cold storate, identification of different media and deterioration characteristics, purchasing a freezer, packaging materials for cold storage, blanket purchasing agreements, etc. The tool combines written and video documentation.

Three Conserve O Grams on Cold Storage for Photograph Collections have also been developed:

An overview 2009

Using an Individual Freezer Unit

Vapor-proof Packaging

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