The Conservators go to Montreal Part II

This is part II of a blog series. Read part I.

As you know from a previous blog post, Jodie Utter, conservator of works on paper, and I, paper conservation fellow, recently travelled to Montreal for the 44th Annual Meeting organized by the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (AIC) and the Canadian Association for Conservation of Cultural Property (CAC).

Coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the Florence flood, which destroyed masses of art and cultural material, this year’s conference theme was Emergency! Preparing for Disasters and Confronting the Unexpected in Conservation. Many of the talks addressed the effects of past, present, and future disasters on collections and cultural property. Much focus was placed on the need for effective risk assessment and emergency response strategies. This emphasis reiterated the importance of keeping our emergency plans at the Carter up to date.
Between the two of us, Jodie and I attended a large variety of presentations. These included talks about collections emergency procedures in various institutions and treatment protocols for a myriad of situations. Other more scientific-based talks were also interesting, covering many technologies used to identify or document works of art—including Reflectance Transformation Imaging and X-ray fluorescence. One presentation even discussed the precise dating of ancient Egyptian manuscripts using Micro-Raman spectroscopy!

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A presentation about separating photographs stuck to glass or to each other.

There were many receptions organized throughout the length of the conference at key cultural institutions in Montreal. This included the Musee des Beaux-Arts de Montreal, and the Bibliotheque et Archives Nationales du Quebec. Naturally, such events were accompanied with behind-the-scenes tours, which are always a treat.

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The reading room at the Bibliotheque et Archives Nationales du Quebec.

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The staff at the Bibliotheque et Archives Nationales du Quebec showing us some of the prizes in their collection.

During the closing ceremony, Jodie was awarded the AIC Publication Award for her technical study on Charles M. Russell’s watercolors. This award recognizes excellence in writing about conservation topics. What an achievement for both her and the Carter! If you wish to read her essay, the book Charles M. Russell: Watercolors 1887–1926 is available at the museum store.

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Jodie with her publication award.