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Subject: Symposium on lighting

Symposium on lighting

From: Paul Himmelstein <aandh>
Date: Thursday, July 23, 1998
    **** Moderator's comments: This is a truncated posting. Complete
    information, including schedule and list of speakers, is
    available on the News page in Conservation OnLine

Light and Lighting in Historic Buildings that House Collections
3rd Symposium on Museums In Historic Buildings
Williamsburg, Virginia
November 5-7, 1998

In 1990, APT (The Association for Preservation Technology)
International and AIC (The American Institute for the Conservation
of Historic and Artistic Works) organized the first symposium on
museums in historic buildings as part of the APT annual conference
in Montreal, Canada.  The event resulted in a draft charter with a
series of principles for balancing the often conflicting
conservation requirements of historic structures and artifacts. This
was developed and refined the following year in New Orleans, where a
second symposium resulted in the "APT/AIC New Orleans Charter for
the Joint Preservation of Historic Structures and Artifacts" (see
the APT Bulletin, Vol. XXVII, No. 3 (June 1996):57-60).  The New
Orleans Charter, which has been translated into French and Spanish,
was rapidly accepted by professional organizations in the United
States and Canada.  It is gradually being disseminated
internationally, is currently used by an increasing number of
museums throughout the world.

The topic for the 3rd APT/AIC Symposium on Museums in Historic
Buildings is light and lighting in historic structures that house
collections.  Light is the only environmental factor which plays two
different roles in the exhibition of cultural property.  Light, as
conservators constantly warn, is responsible for irreversible
deterioration of artifacts.  At the same time, however, light is
necessary for exhibition, and can play a positive role in the
interpretation of cultural property.  Light can be controlled to
minimize its deleterious effects while at the same time creating a
period- appropriate feeling in historic spaces.  The function of
light in an historic interior is not only to make the furnishings
visible in the way they were originally seen, in candlelight,
gaslight, etc., but light itself conveys a host of meanings about
exterior vs. interior spaces, about light as the embodiment of
spirituality, and light as the revealer of truth.

The Williamsburg symposium will bring together experts in the
conservation of cultural property with professionals from allied
fields to discuss the role of light in the exhibition of cultural
property within historic structures.  Although this symposium will
discuss appropriate equipment and design for such situations, it
will also include consideration of the historical role of light in
various building situations.  Before any decisions can be made on
the appropriate light design and equipment for a given structure and
collection, there must be an understanding of the role that light
originally played in this situation; such as, the need for daylight
to allow close visual tasks before the invention of suitable
artificial light sources, the philosophical role of light in
religious structures, and the changing role of lighting fixtures as
new light sources were employed are among the many factors to be
considered before filtration and enhancement of existing light can
be considered.

The New Orleans Charter addresses several fundamental concerns for
choosing appropriate lighting for cultural property housed in
historic structures.  These include the requirement of adequate
study and the requirement to make the solution specific to the
situation being considered.  Although there have been a number of
meetings concerning exhibition lighting, there has been very little
discussion of the specific needs of historic structures or the
history of light and lighting in them.

Invited presenters will include social historians, curators,
conservators, historic site managers, and lighting designers.
Manufacturers of equipment appropriate for use in historic
structures will be invited to exhibit.  Several different lighting
designs, using a variety of equipment and techniques, have been
installed in historic structures in Williamsburg showing a variety
of philosophical approaches.  Participants will be encouraged to
comment on these installations and bring their observations to the
discussion sessions.

APT and AIC members will receive information on registration in a
direct mailing. For additional information, or to request
registration information,  please call the Conference Hotline at
(815) 753-7922 or consult the APT web site at

                  Conservation DistList Instance 12:12
                   Distributed: Friday, July 24, 1998
                       Message Id: cdl-12-12-017
Received on Thursday, 23 July, 1998

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