JAIC 1993, Volume 32, Number 2, Article 2 (pp. 109 to 118)
JAIC online
Journal of the American Institute for Conservation
JAIC 1993, Volume 32, Number 2, Article 2 (pp. 109 to 118)

THE ROLE OF CONNOISSEURSHIP IN DETERMINING THE TEXTILE CONSERVATOR'S TREATMENT OPTIONS

PATSY ORLOFSKY, & DEBORAH LEE TRUPIN



1 INTRODUCTION

Since the last textile update session at the 1987 American Institute for Conservation annual meeting, textile conservators have greatly expanded their repertoire of accepted conservation and restoration practices. There have been scientific and philosophical advances as well as a greater willingness to embrace ethical restoration options. Many conservators, however, do not consider all of these new choices for all textiles. Why is this? What motivates a textile conservator to select a certain treatment strategy? On the surface it would appear that a decision to employ one option, just like a decision about any conservation procedure, is made through an objective technical evaluation of each individual textile, ideally uninfluenced by emotion, surmise, or personal prejudice. The authors believe, however, that there are, in fact, subjective, preconceived biases or cultural factors that inhibit or encourage us when considering certain treatments for certain textiles. This paper seeks to demystify the decision-making process by stating these biases clearly and describing how they affect treatment choices. In textile conservation, there is no interpretively neutral treatment.


Copyright 1993 American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works