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Subject: Active participation in DistList

Active participation in DistList

From: Niccolo Caldararo <caldararo>
Date: Thursday, June 18, 1998
Barbara Appelbaum <aandh [at] idt__net> writes

>In answer to my recent urging for more people to "speak up" on line,
>I received the following.
> ...
>   "It is possible that many people are in my position. Conservators
>    at my institution are strongly discouraged from contributing
>    publicly to the list.

I think this is a very short-sighted policy by management at the
institution your correspondent has described.  It may reflect the
substantial changes which are sweeping over most of our cultural
institutions today. During my 25+ year career in museums I routinely
answered inquiries (all over the phone in those days) from the
public which included collectors, workers in galleries, other
museums and private conservators and archaeologists.  No one
questioned the time I spent in this public service aspect of my
position, but then perhaps I was just lucky to have had enlightened,
public spirited  people in the management positions at the
institutions I worked at.

I do believe, and I addressed this in the article I circulated at
the AIC meeting in San Diego, that the attitude your correspondent
describes results from the desire of management in museums today to
have conservators in museums be cash-generating units.  However, I
think this trend is doomed as the public, especially members of
museums are becoming increasingly aware of the lack of public
service of their institutions.  As this sophistication increases I
think we will see pressure on management to return conservation
activities to in-house service and education. One indication of this
trend can be seen in the recent report on giving by the AAFRC Trust
for Philanthropy (chart based on the report was published on the
front page of USA Today on June 17th 1998). The report shows that
giving to arts/humanities was the only sector to show decreases

Niccolo Caldararo
Director and Chief Conservator
Conservation Art Service

                  Conservation DistList Instance 12:4
                  Distributed: Thursday, June 18, 1998
                        Message Id: cdl-12-4-001
Received on Thursday, 18 June, 1998

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