Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works Objects Specialty Group
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Effects of Cleaning and Regard for Cleaning Goals 11 Years later
Niccolo Caldararo, PhD
Adjunct Professor, Dept. of Anthropology, San Francisco State University and Director and Chief Conservator, Conservation Art Service
This talk will revisit my 1993 article in North American Archaeologist, v. 14, n. 4, 1993:289-303, "Some effects of the use of ultrasonic devices in conservation and the question of standards for cleaning objects". It is a summary of what has happened since then, both in the field and in my practice, including the effects of cleaning on ancient DNA analysis touched on in a recent article in Ancient Biomolecules. The core of the talk will surround how both attitudes and needs have changed since 1993 and will revisit the problems faced in 1993, especially with regard to ultrasound. The talk will look back twice as a general assessment on how conservation has responded to the challenge of both technology and changing fashion. This will focus on the idea of information lost vs. idealized appearance and venture into areas Caple (1999) has recently challenged the field to consider. An important related issue for the bench conservator and person in private practice is how cleaning can alter both the goal of treatment and the estimate and responsibility of the conservator. What happens when cleaning changes both the regard of the owner for the object and / or uncovers significant information that the owner does not want revealed? What kinds of balance can be introduced when an owner has given authorization to a cleaning and his or her perception of the "cleaned" object is changed? What happens when cleaning of a "pristine original" demonstrates it to have been repaired?

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