WAACNewsletter
September 1998 Volume 21 Number 1


President's Letter

Jill Sterrett


My tenure as President had an auspicious beginning at the Timberline Lodge in October, 1998. As we all know, it is John Griswold we have to thank for that very successful WAAC Annual Meeting. Never having been to Mt. Hood, traveling to the Lodge was an adventure. The session on computers displayed impressive applications of its use as an essential practical tool in the documentation of conservation treatment. I am always inspired by its continued potential as a tool for sharing information. Special thanks to the Board for support in developing the program. Thanks also to Claire Dean and Stephanie Griswold for attending to details surrounding the local arrangements.

I'd like to extend another thank you to John and to the entire Board for the fine year that it was. Cecily Grzywacz and Linda Strauss have now completed their terms as Members-at-Large. Cecily compiled a host of documents that will assist Board members for years to come. Her contribution is particularly evident in the notebooks which have been developed to help orient Board members in their roles. Linda's on-going legacy includes her significant contributions to our web profile. Her always straightforward style was a wonderful presence on the Board. A special welcome to our new Vice President, Antoinette Dwan, and to our in-coming Members-at Large, Claire Dean and Julie Goldman.

For those of you who were not able to attend the meeting in Oregon, we've made a change to the structure of the Board. As WAAC has grown, the job of the Treasurer/Secretary has come to require nothing short of Herculean effort. Therefore, the role of Treasurer/Secretary will now be filled by two individuals' a Treasurer and a Secretary. We will continue to enjoy the invaluable experience that Chris Stavroudis brings to WAAC as Treasurer and we welcome Heida Shoemaker as Secretary. This change is underway now on an ad-hoc basis to provide much needed relief to Chris.

I want to thank Heida for jumping in the way she has. The By-Laws Committee (consisting of Julie Goldman, Heida Shoemaker, Chris Stavroudis and me) has already met to draft formal changes to the By-Laws for the membership's review at next year's meeting. In the meantime, Chris and Heida are working together to further clarify their roles. This looks to be a very positive evolution. Preserving the stamina of all of our colleagues who contribute their time to WAAC is in the best interest of the organization.

Looking ahead to this year's Annual Meeting in San Francisco November 15th and 16th, 1999 I'd hold those dates now.

It is hard to seize an opportunity that presents itself for the Annual Meeting in the last year of the millennium. We are considering themes that will allow us to both reflect and project on the work that we do as conservators of cultural material. What are the factors that influence our decision to treat to intervene? How are current societal trends and philosophies at play in the recommendations we propose for care? How do these societal trends act as an overlay to influence our concept of appropriate action? With the luxury of reflection and hindsight, what distinguishes a treatment that stands the test of time from one that doesn't?

One thing we know is that these questions are not only compelling in our own profession but they are of interest in discussions around land use and medicine as well as to historiographers and social historians. By exploring this theme of intervention from others' angles, the hope is to stimulate everyone's thinking. At very least, such reflection helps to bring all that has come before us to bear on the decisions of today. With an eye to the future, taking stock of our current working modes may help us to recalibrate our methodologies to accommodate the challenges of emerging technologies' including saving the virtual' in the 21st century. There will be many opportunities to consider this further in the coming year and I look forward to all of that discussion. For now, I wish you the very best.

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