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Subject: Professional qualifications

Professional qualifications

From: Niccolo Caldararo <caldararo>
Date: Monday, February 1, 1999
Recently after a Bay Area Conservation Guild Meeting, I was having
lunch with some local conservators and we were discussing treatments
and training issues. The two conservators mentioned that the
training programs accepted their interns and, as conservators in
private practice, they were expected to accept interns and train
them, as a means for prospective students to the programs to get
their initial experience. They thought this was contradictory,
however, as they were unable to apply for jobs in museums which
required training in the programs.

As usual, this went in one ear and out the other until I returned to
my lab and picked up my January AIC Newsletter and completed reading
it. I read through the job offerings and was surprised to find 12
conservator positions offered of which 7 required graduation from a
"recognized conservation program" or a degree in conservation. 5
others accepted advanced degrees or other extensive training. This
is surprising given the fact that the AIC membership has fought for
years to establish proficiency as a skills based definition and not
a degree based identity.

I then called two of the institutions requiring degrees and asked
how they determined "recognition". One told me that this was
determined by the Chief Conservator but that in practice they
accepted people who had substantial training and abilities (ie, they
didn't really limit applicants to degree programs even though they
published that they did). The other institution stated that they
only accepted graduates and they did not recognize all program
graduates (I specifically asked about one program and was told they
didn't accept their graduates). Only 3 in the US were mentioned and
"others" in Europe, one in Canada. This is disturbing as I asked if
"recognized" had any official reference, as in AIC recognition, etc.
and the answer was no.

This limitation of equal access to jobs is not only unfair, but goes
against long standing AIC policy. People should be considered for
employment based on their skills not on a piece of paper. It seems
to me that people who have attained a professional degree of
competence should be recognized as such and considered equally with
graduates on a skills basis. Perhaps job offerings should simply
state as required knowledge that of professional membership in the
AIC (Professional Associate or Fellow status). By having job
offerings in the AIC Newsletter which clearly discriminate against
some members, the AIC appears to condone the practice.

Niccolo Caldararo
Director and Chief Conservator
Conservation Art Service

                  Conservation DistList Instance 12:63
                 Distributed: Monday, February 1, 1999
                       Message Id: cdl-12-63-001
Received on Monday, 1 February, 1999

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