PREVENTIVE CONSERVATION AND THE EXHIBITION PROCESS: DEVELOPMENT OF EXHIBIT GUIDELINES AND STANDARDS FOR CONSERVATION
TOBY J. RAPHAEL
Because of a lack of easily available, well organized information, exhibit specialists who plan, design, and produce museum exhibitions have had difficulty knowing how to incorporate preservation features into their work. Accordingly, the lack of awareness and understanding of this body of knowledge has taken a serious toll on the preservation of displayed collections. Preventive conservation techniques and technology are highly relevant to this group of professionals; however, communication is infrequent between conservation and exhibit specialists.
As an exhibition conservator with the NPS at Harpers Ferry Center, the author was given the opportunity to lead an effort to develop a comprehensive set of guidelines and standards directed at improving the conservation of collections going onto exhibit. The Exhibit Conservation Guidelines published five years ago has had a very positive impact towards achieving well-balanced exhibitions. The next step, currently under development, is the formulation and publication of conservation standards for the production of fully successful, preservation-friendly exhibitions.