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Subject: Professional qualifications

Professional qualifications

From: Niccolo Caldararo <caldararo>
Date: Tuesday, February 23, 1999
This is in response to comments made by Jack Thompson both on list
and off. Jack forwarded to me some email he received in response to
his comments and then his answers, I hope he shares them here.
However, he brings up an point I had forgotten, regarding
apprenticeships and evaluating them.  Back in 1982 I asked Martha
Morales if the Directory could contain information on peoples'
educational background, eg, BA, MA where from, apprenticed with
whom, how long etc.  There was little support for it as one might
expect, but what I had hoped was that we might be able to create a
genealogy of sorts connecting outstanding conservators with teachers
and then by this means focus on the teachers' methods by either
directly discussing them (if they were still alive) or by
interviewing people who had studies with them.  Of course the term
"outstanding" is as subjective as "successful" as Lawrence Auld
found when he tried to find out if GRE scores could predict how
successful a person would be as a librarian.  (By the way he found
they were not very predictive of much anything, and didn't even
predict life earnings, promotion, etc. as well as undergrad grades
did).  Nevertheless, it was interesting to note that the new
referral forms ask for just this information, who people interned
with and who they apprenticed with.  It will be interesting to see
how this information is used.

Back to conservation technician for a moment, it is curious that
George Stout condemned the old restorer's shop organization of a
division of labor among semi-skilled workers: some who only prepared
supports, others only doing relinings, others inpainting (Stout,
1948) and argued that such a segmented operation led to serious
accidents and poorly executed treatments.  Tony Rockwell told me
while he was preparing a talk he gave at a WAAC meeting a few years
ago on changes in painting conservation practice, that the Kecks
carried this criticism into their teaching arguing against
semi-skilled workers and demanding that conservators be fully
trained and capable of handing all work start to finish.  David
Watkinson does argue in his 1993 conference talk that the pressure
to hire technicians in conservation labs in England could be traced
to an increased number of managers in museums who had no knowledge
of conservation and believed that costs could be cut by bringing in
low paid, semi-skilled workers.  He also predicts that this would
have a depressive effect on the future employment opportunities for
fully trained conservators.

Niccolo Caldararo
Director and Chief
Conservator Conservation Art Service

                  Conservation DistList Instance 12:69
                Distributed: Tuesday, February 23, 1999
                       Message Id: cdl-12-69-010
Received on Tuesday, 23 February, 1999

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