Last week, Beth Doyle of Preservation Underground and I both attended the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (AIC) 40th Annual Meeting in Albuquerque, NM.  The theme of this year’s meeting “Connecting to Conservation: Outreach and Advocacy,” created an ideal venue for us to share our social media efforts and promote collaborative blogging, such as our “1091 Project.”

Nancie Ravenel, Objects Conservator at the Shelburne Museum in Shelburne, VT, moderated the Communicating Conservation breakout discussion group.  Rosa Lowinger, Principal and Chief Conservator of Rosa Lowinger & Associates, was unable to attend the meeting because she was leading a conservation outreach trip to Cuba.  Nancie read Rosa’s paper, “Writing About Repairing — Thoughts on Telling the Story of Conservation,” and participated in the discussion in her place.  Heidi Sobol, Senior Conservator of the Royal Ontraio Museum, Ontario, Canada, presented on her research into blog metrics with Mark Farmer, Web Design Manager.  Her excellent presentation, “Anatomy of a Blog: Conservation as Content,” compared and contrasted the metrics of two conservation blog posts, one video-based, and one text-and-photo based.  Finally, Beth and I presented “Outreach Online: Shaping a Preservation Presence with Social Media.”  As far as we know, we were the first presenters at AIC to use the dynamic Prezi platform.  The link to our presentation is here. Forty-five minutes of lively discussion followed the presentations, and I was pleased that the conversations continued, piecemeal, throughout the evening reception.  The purpose of discussion sessions, in my opinion, is to start conversations that will permeate the rest of the conference (and beyond). You can read the write-up about this and other sessions at the AIC blog, Conservators Converse.

View from Los Palomas, Albuquerque, NM

Conferences do not usually make for great photo-ops, so I thought I’d take a moment to sneak in some shots taken at the Book & Paper Group Reception, generously sponsored by Preservation Technologies and beautifully organized by BPG Assistant Program Chair Sarah Reidell.  The event took place at Los Palomas in Albuquerque, NM.

Los Palomas, Albuquerque, NM

Another session I attended (full disclosure: and helped organize) was the joint discussion session RATS/ACDG/LCCDG, which presented a panel on mass deacidification.  The session began with three presentations on three different deacidification systems: James Burd presented on Bookkeeper; Dr. Michael Ramin presented on Papersave Swiss; and Dick Smith presented on Wei T’o Paperguard.  Fenella France, Chief, Preservation of Research and Testing Division, Library of Congress, then presented her research with Jeanne Drewes, “Taking the Measure: Treatment and testing in Mass Deacidification.”  Nora Lockshin of the Smithsonian Library presented former intern Anna Friedman’s research, “Evaluating Deacidification After 20 years of Natural Ageing.”  A write-up of the discussion should be posted soon on Conservators Converse.

My favorite session of the conference was The Great Debate, organized by Richard McCoy, Objects Conservator at the Indiana Museum of Art.  This formal, Oxford-style debate really grabbed the audience’s attention — never have I heard so much impassioned cheering, laughter, and shouting during a conference presentation!

Did you attend the AIC 40th Annual Meeting?  We’d love to hear your impressions in the Comments section.  Then let’s head over to Preservation Underground to hear Beth’s commentary on the conference and continue the conversation.