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Subject: AIC certification plan

AIC certification plan

From: Rick Kerschner <rkerschner<-at->
Date: Tuesday, December 23, 2008
On reading the two recent posts on AIC Certification on the December
19, 2008 DistList, I am compelled to respond. I mostly agree with
Alice Cannon's well reasoned comments about polls and voting
participation and disagree with Harry Cambell's assertion that "It
is becoming more obvious that there is not a strong and clear
mandate from members of AIC for certification..." The response that
AIC has received to date to its numerous polls and votes on the
various steps of the certification study process has been quite high
and, according to independent certification professionals,
statistically well representative of members opinions. One certainly
cannot assume that everyone who has not responded to the poles are
in favor of certification, nor can we assume that they are all
against it just because they did not respond. The best one can do is
assume that the statistically significant response to the polls is
representative of the AIC membership.

In fact, it is the results of these polls and votes that keeps the
certification process moving forward, not the actions of "a handful
of zealous members." As a past member of the AIC Board for 6 years,
I can assure you that they are not "zealots" on certification, nor
are past members of the Certification Committee or present members
of the Certification Implementation Task Force. They are active,
conscientious members of AIC who are trying to craft a certification
process that is not only acceptable to the majority of AIC members,
but desired by the majority of AIC members as indicated by
appreciable margins in numerous votes. They have their own
individual opinions of the various certification issues and are not
necessarily of one voice. What they all do desire is that everyone's
voice be heard and they are doing everything within their power to
coax an informed and widely read discussion before this next
important vote.

As an actively participating individual member of AIC since 1979, I
have followed this issue closely from its inception a few decades
ago, through its earlier "defeat" with the understanding that AIC
would instead concentrate its efforts on establishing a body of
knowledge and "educating" its members and the public about art
conservation. I believe the outcomes of this education process have
been very successful. The AIC professional development program is
second to none for an organization of its size. There is certainly a
higher awareness of conservation by the general public than there
was in 1979, but we need to do more. The refocusing of the FAIC
Board as a potentially effective public outreach organization is a
very positive move in that direction. We are much further along in
establishing a body of knowledge than we were two decades ago, but
there is also still much to be done in this constantly evolving
area. I personally believe that education and outreach efforts and
refining a body of knowledge will be more focused and effective as
part of a developing certification process.

I urge all AIC members to actively participate in the newly
organized certification discussion list that will be active during
January. It is important that everyone be able to read and
participate in the whole discussion, not just members of individual
specialty groups who may be having lively discussions on their
lists. All the members of AIC, and especially our fellow AIC members
who are actively working on the certification program need to
continue to hear from those for and against certification as well as
those who may have questions about how the process might work or
ideas to make the process better. This next vote is the most
important as it does not just ask AIC to study certification or
present a certification model. The results of this vote will commit
AIC to either move forward with implementing a certification program
or shelve certification for the foreseeable future. This is not a
decision to be made lightly and each of us has the responsibility to
ensure we are fully informed on this important issue.

Richard L. Kerschner
Director of Preservation and Conservation
Shelburne Museum
PO Box 10, Route 7
Shelburne, VT 05482
802-985-3348 x3361

                  Conservation DistList Instance 22:38
                Distributed: Saturday, January 10, 2009
                       Message Id: cdl-22-38-004
Received on Tuesday, 23 December, 2008

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