Are you concerned you don’t know how to take care of collections? Do you have any precious objects at home?
- Your grandfather’s medals from “the war”.
- Your great grandmother’s black and white photos.
- Your kid’s first noodle necklace.
- Your aunt’s stuffed animal collection.
- Your mum’s silver service.
- Your wedding dress.
- Your personal library.
- Prints, mugs, keychains, dolls, etc. you have collected over time.
- Your very valuable comic books / action figures / Pokémon cards
- Actual written letters from your first ever penpal
It can really be anything. Anything you cherish in one way or another. Have you ever wondered what would happen if you lost them?
Preventive conservation is all about not letting that happen without actually messing around directly with the objects and possibly ruining them.
You said “course”. What is this course about again?
This course is my first experiment in teaching conservation to everyone.
And no, I’m not talking about reducing plastic use and saving the elephants, although those things are great too.
I’m talking about the profession of conservation as exercised in museums, galleries, historical and archaeological sites, etc.
I’m talking about the career behind trying to make things last forever.
The American Institute for Conservation (AIC) defines conservation as
“The profession devoted to the preservation of cultural property for the future. Conservation activities include examination, documentation, treatment, and preventive care, supported by research and education.”
Big disclaimer: I don’t intend to educate formal conservators. There are extremely good programmes for that at both undergraduate and graduate levels all around the world.
What I want do to is bring the ideas of conservation to everyone and anyone, so we can all apply conservation knowledge at home to take care of our personal heritage:
The things we want to preserve for our own personal futures, for our own descendants, not the general and vague future human society.
Without having to pay through the nose or email museum departments to find out.
Ok, so who is this course for?
Anyone with a collection they care about now.
Anyone with a future collection in mind.
Anyone interested in heritage, maybe even thinking about studying it at a higher education level, but still unsure.
Anyone who doesn’t necessarily want to become a pro but wants to know what’s going on behind the scenes in museums and other heritage institutions.
But this stuff sounds complicated… how are you going to teach me this?
In this occasion,
We are going to play a game.
We are going to draw.
We are going to roleplay.
I will teach you the basic concepts around the ten agents of deterioration as used in museums all over the world so that you may look at your collections and see what you can do with your available time and money.
We will roleplay as secret agents and supervillains in a Bond-inspired game as you learn to apply museum knowledge on preventive conservation and create tailored preservation measures for your own home collections. Fake accents will be encouraged.
This is just the beginning…
I intend to run more and more conservation courses and conversations as we slowly get this information out there. There is no reason why conservation should be secret, unknown, mysterious.
Conservation is where science, art, history and human practices merge onto material culture. I want to share this with you.