Volume 15, Number 1, Jan 1993, p.32

Conference Reviews

Mary Piper Hough, column editor

Two conferences are reviewed in this column:

  1. "Update on the Work of the International Council of Museums Ad Hoc Committee for Hazard Reduction," review by Barbara Roberts.
  2. "Workshop on the Repair of Tears and Losses in Paper, Emphasizing Pulping," review by Paula Volent.

Update on the Work of the International Council of Museums Ad Hoc Committee for Hazard Reduction

ICOM is a non-profit organization dedicated to the improvement and advancement of museums and the museum profession. It was founded in 1946 and provides a worldwide communications network for museum people of all disciplines and specialties. It counts some 8,000 members in 120 countries, and is associated with UNESCO as a category "A" Non-Governmental Organization, and has been granted advisory status by the United Nations Economic and Social Council.

At the recent General Conference in Quebec City, September 1992, a Resolution was adopted that: (1) urged implementation of the Hague Convention (protection of cultural property in the event of armed conflict) and the 1970 convention on the Means of Prohibiting the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property, (2) that ICOM should find ways to provide moral and material support to National Committees of ICOM and museum professionals affected by cultural and natural disasters, by developing an emergency action plan in close cooperation with relevant organizations, (3) that ICOM consider the creation of a special fund to implement this emergency action plan, and (4) that ICOM continue to condemn the ongoing illegal removal and seizure of the cultural and natural heritage.

The Ad Hoc Committee has submitted an outline proposal to the ICOM Executive Board that includes a suggestion to solicit funding from the United Nations for support for a Coordinator and an Assistant (who would also work with the UNESCO-ICOM Museum Information Center, which is the world's largest repository of information on all aspects of museum management). The Coordinator would work to encourage existing organizations to continue to do what they do best and would provide a central point for fundraising and for those that need assistance or information.

The Committee recommends that the first two years be devoted to hazard mitigation and emergency planning advocacy, information gathering and exchange, finding out what is needed and what training would be appropriate. A systematic body of information concerning the state of cultural property in various countries and existing disaster mitigation strategies would be compiled, together with recommendations regarding future initiatives and funding.

Such initiatives might include the provision of disaster mitigation training modules, an expanded publications program, and the creation of a roster of disaster mitigation experts or emergency response teams.

The objective by the year 2000 would be to have a mechanism in place whereby cultural property is routinely included in the development of disaster mitigation strategies at the national level, and information regarding needs and practices is coordinated and made available internationally. A new president of ICOM was elected at the Quebec meeting, Dr. S. Ghose, from India. He is sympathetic to this cause.

review by:
Barbara Roberts
Seattle, Washington
Workshop on the Repair of Tears and Losses in Paper, Emphasizing
Pulping. Campbell Center for Historic Preservation Studies, Mount Carroll, Illinois

During the week of September 15-19, 1992, Robert Futernick, Judith Walsh and Bill Crusius led a week long workshop on the use of paper pulp in the repair of tears and losses in paper. The workshop was one of a series of conservation refresher courses organized by the Campbell Center for Historic Preservation Studies under the direction of Mary Wood Lee.

The workshop provided considerable opportunities for experimentation with both traditional and newly developed techniques in leafcasting and the use of both wet and dry paper pulp. Variations in methods of pulp application included the use of the vacuum suction table as well as more traditional manual leaf casting techniques. Creative group brain-storming and innovation resulted in a number of new approaches and use of tools including Bob Futernick's adaptation of a 3M brand "scrubby" into a vacuum suction table. Additional experimentation was carried out on the effect of additions of flocculants to pulping solutions, various couching surfaces in the creation of surface texture, and methods for color matching in pulp preparation and selection. The workshop provided an invaluable learning experience for the paper conservators who attended. In addition to conservation refresher courses, the Campbell Center offers architectural preservation and "Care of Collections" workshops.

review by:
Paula Volent, Conservator of Art on Paper
Venice, California

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