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Conservation 101: The Hidden Killers of Collections

  • Theatrette Rowland Wilson Building Australian National University 0200 Australia (map)

Victoria Pearce, conservator and Director of Endangered Heritage, presents a talk about the safety issues we see in museum stores and spaces, as a heads up from a conservator.

Many younger staff and students who have grown up in a work safe environment, have little idea of how Radium was in everything including toothpaste and how loose Asbestos was use for fake snow on film sets. Each generation makes new and surprising use of materials with valuable properties however it usually takes a few decades for us to realise the positive properties have a dangerous counter point. Materials like asbestos end up being banned for new materials, but what of the old historic artefacts which we collect all into one place, our museums. Collections do harbour dangerous items and many which become more dangerous over time as they breakdown, chip, break or off gas. Some contemporary plastics and materials break down very very quickly. Learn about the hazards to look out for in our collection stores, and acquisition of them should be part of a broader policy discussion. Specialists know a lot about their own area of expertise but can be put at risk for not looking at items just sitting on nearby shelves.

This is a free event suitable for the general public, and people working with all sorts of art or historic collections. This talk is a must for all interns, students wanting to do a placement, curators, intake officers, registration staff, artists, collectors and of course archaeologists working inside our collections.

About the speaker: A specialist Textiles Conservator and the Director of Endangered Heritage Pty. Ltd., Victoria has a Fine Arts Degree with Honours from the Australian National University and a Bachelor of Applied Science in Conservation from the University of Canberra.  Victoria's specialisation is in textiles conservation and covers garments, headwear, embroideries, tapestries, carpets, leather and fur, in addition to preventative conservation, strategic planning and project management.  Victoria has worked as a consultant on a number of International Heritage Development projects in China and Singapore and project managed the development of the National Textiles Museum of Malaysia. She is a member of the ICOMOS-ICORP committee working to reduce the risks to our collective human heritage globally.

Presented by the Canberra Archaeological Society.

Time and date:  11.30am – 12.30pm, Wednesday 22 May 2019

Location: Theatrette, Rowland Wilson Building, Australian National University, Acton ACT

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