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Subject: Site-specific art and conservation ethics

Site-specific art and conservation ethics

From: Cathy Atwood <cb522>
Date: Saturday, September 18, 1993
This is a tardy comment on the "was it ethical or not" discussion of a
few weeks ago.  I bet every conservator has faced the situation where an
action _will_ be taken, and it is better for the artifact if a
conservator does the action. For instance, "they" have decided that a
piece will be exhibited, over the conservator's reasoned objections.
The conservator chooses to minimize damage by preparing the object for
exhibit.  The conservator may feel that personal ethics are subverted,
no matter what the AIC Code of Ethics has to say about the subject.

A worse scenario would be: the owner of an artifact requires an unwise
treatment to be done.  Do I (Conservator A) feel obliged to do the
treatment, since it would otherwise be done by Untrained Individual B or
Unskilled Conservator B? Here the conservator is forced to confront
conservation ethics, _and_ make a judgement on relative skills.  It is
tempting to take a stand with the owner (if I refuse to do the
treatment, they will be convinced by my principles and reconsider) but
this alternative isn't always feasible.

Cathy Atwood
Lincoln, Nebraska, U.S.A.

                  Conservation DistList Instance 7:27
               Distributed: Thursday, September 23, 1993
                        Message Id: cdl-7-27-003
Received on Saturday, 18 September, 1993

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