Conservation DistList Archives [Date] [Subject] [Author] [SEARCH]

Subject: Professional qualifications

Professional qualifications

From: Niccolo Caldararo <caldararo>
Date: Friday, February 12, 1999
In response to Karen Motylewski's post I must say that I did contact
John Burke to find out what was underway in the AIC committees
concerning education in conservation and recognition of programs and
training.  John and I had a long talk and John summarized the
situation for me.  Basically, (though John can comment on this in
more detail, if I leave anything out) it appears that there has been
a lot of informal discussion on this problem, but that the creation
of a solution that will satisfy everyone is still elusive.  The NIC
study of the training situation in 1984 was not followed up on,
mainly due to the essential difficulty of producing an evaluation
mechanism which was agreeable to everyone and which was practical.
This resides in both a kind of organizational impracticality, that
is, the production of a body like the regional bodies for
accreditation of colleges and universities or the dual process of
accreditation of medical schools and medical licensing of
individuals.  The particulars of such a process seems just daunting
to most people and to involve too much controversy to engage in.  It
seems most people are agreed that a process of recognition of
individual skills and education is possible, but that it must be
efficient, timely and not costly, all of which seems rather
unlikely.  Still I think we should work on it and from Joan Marie
Reifsnyder's summary of European efforts, it seems that we can learn
a lot from what is being discussed there.

I must also confess, in answer to Ms. Motylewski's comments, that I
did not have the Getty in mind when I wrote my first comments,
though I was aware of their efforts since I had recently spoken to
Jo Hill about her cooperative work in setting up a conservation MA
program at UCLA with the Getty.  I must thank Kathlen Dardes for
sharing with us what the Getty has done and is concerned about.

Finally, on a related note which came from some off-line email from
colleagues, is a related subject of the regard of directors and
curators to continued education and especially post-graduate
education of conservators.  I was surprised to read in Anne van
Grevenstein's article in the Preprints of the ICOM 1993 meetings, of
the resistance to such educational possibilities. And this brings to
mind the response to Chranda Reedy's talk at the same Conference
which I attended.  I recall that her discussion of proposed Ph.D.
education for conservators was not received well by a number of
directors and curators in the audience.  This rather surprised me,
not by the argument, but its intensity.  I had seen conflicts with
curators and directors in museums I had worked for (an
understatement, of course), but in Grevenstein's article (and I must
admit I do not recall her talk) curators and directors perceived
advanced university training by conservators as challenging to their
authority and as a threatening means to increase conservator
salaries (now isn't that an interesting idea!).  This brings up the
question, are conservators with program degrees seen as more
threatening to museum managers? or as equals upon which they can
more likely delegate responsibility?

Niccolo Caldararo
Director and Chief Conservator
Conservation Art Service

                  Conservation DistList Instance 12:67
               Distributed: Wednesday, February 17, 1999
                       Message Id: cdl-12-67-002
Received on Friday, 12 February, 1999

[Search all CoOL documents]