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Re: [BKARTS] AIC Stuff

I've just spoken with AIC membership, to try to track down some figures
of private vs. institutional members.  As stated in an earlier message
of this thread, the AIC comprises a wide variety of members, though it
must be said, the Book and Paper specialty group is greatest in number.

There is another specialty group called CIPP (Conservators in Private
Practice), which I am told had a membership of 418 last year.  This
compares to a bit over 3000 for total membership (or 13%, so obviously
some private folks see benefits of AIC membership ).  I was told there
are no reliable statistics of the ratio of private vs. institutional
conservators.  As with most statistics, these can be taken with a grain
of salt- the argument can be made that AIC attracts institutional
members at a greater weighting because it is often the institutions that
cover the cost of membership dues.

For another thought,
I graduated from a paper conservation course in England in 1996, which
graduates on average about seven paper conservators a year.  I would say
that our course was heavily weighted towards institutional conservation-
in terms of the venues we toured, the issues we discussed (storage,
preventative conservation, etc), the guest lecturers and there was
pressure -though often subtle- that an institutional job was better than
a private one. Since finishing, I have had the pleasure of working in a
variety of venues- both institutional and private.  I must say though,
as I believe Ed did, that private-practice people are generally exposed
to far more treatments in a year, and treatments of a greater
complexity-  I attribute this to the fact that, in my opinion, museums
have items in better condition and, to generalize, prevaricate and
debate endlessly about the approach to treatment.  Though I am an AIC
member, I often read of treatments in the journal where one is left with
the feeling of 'so what' why has this merited publication? Sometimes
it's more 'much ado about nothing'

I appreciate that as a course-trained conservator, I am perhaps more
aware of scientific theories, chemical concepts, new, innovative
treatment options, etc. than someone who has trained in a workshop- I am
humble enough though to admit that my hand-on experience in no way
compares to someone who has seen thousands of items pass through their
shop and studio, has leather under their fingernails, and years under
their belt.  Our book-arts forum allows that empirical experience to be
shared, to some extent.  I think a problem many book people seem to have
with AIC stems from the fact that book conservation is grouped with
paper conservation.  In the past bookbinders were apprentice trained.
Nobody really in any great number trained to be a paper conservator- the
job was done by Painting restorers, print dealers, private collectors,
or the odd binder or two.  We now have a specialty group for both with a
divided history- one half long and structured, the other newly-created
and institutionally trained.

People want recognition from peers and public, and this is what they
feel AIC certification will give them.  I have my doubts as well.

Doug Sanders

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Bruce Levy [mailto:levybooks@xxxxxxxxx]
> Sent: Tuesday, September 16, 2003 1:00 PM
> To: BOOK_ARTS-L@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
> Subject: Re: AIC Stuff
> "I think that most
> conservators and restorators practicing today are apprentice-trained."
> Actually, I think that most conservators IN PRIVATE PRACTICE, are probably
> apprentice trained.  I also think that most conservators from PROGRAMS, that are
> currently employed, are in the institutional venue.  I may be wrong- but I don't think I
> am.
> Bruce

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