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

Subject: Accreditation


From: Jack C. Thompson <tcl>
Date: Wednesday, August 11, 1999
This dialogue (between conservators and picture framers) has
interested me for some time.

The form of mat board known in the U.S. as 'museum board' has been
around a few decades now.

Gil Gunnary, owner of Gunnary's Picture Framing, had a good business
amongst the carriage trade (high dollar business) when I met him in
during the late 1970's in Portland, Oregon, USA.

He was pleased to vent his anger at a conservator, me.  He had heard
about this magical new mat board and inquired at the Portland Art
Museum for details.

They sent him away.  As a picture framer, he was beyond the pale.
They refused to tell him anything about the mat board, especially
including sources of supply.

Subsequently, I taught his staff how to cook wheat starch paste and
water-cut Japanese paper hinges.

There is a professional association of picture framers in the U.S.
(PPFA [Professional Picture Framers Association]) and during the
early 1980's I was invited to become the first conservation
representative to the board of directors of their guild.

During my time on the board we published the results of a survey of
all known (U.S.) manufacturers of mat board, including the materials
used and a ranking of quality.  We also developed a training program
and certification protocol for picture framers.

And we published a short book, Guidelines for Framing Art on Paper,
which recognized that all art is not equal, and that there is a
dialogue between the framer and the client which recognizes this

When PPFA-Guild decided upon this course, they hired an outside firm
of lawyers to advise them.

During this time the American Institute for Conservation was
slogging through their own certification program.  I shared my
PPFA-Guild data with the appropriate AIC certification committee
people, but it came to naught; they refused to use any outside
advisors.  I have mentioned this before in this forum, so I will not
go into any further depth now.

But I will take exception to the final sentence of the last paragraph
of Kate Colleran's posting:

>    We all agree that the professional standard of framers need to
>    be addressed. Sustained dialogue, the development of training
>    packages and of assessment methodologies for framers should be
>    the joint aims of our organisations.  These are best pursued
>    around a table and not through the pages of the Cons DistList.

Wording such as this seeks to marginalize framers.  I suggest that
picture framers are the front-line troops in our common battle to
arrest the decay of framed art, and it is not appropriate to conduct
this dialogue in secret, 'around a table....'

Museum/library curators/preparators are paid whether they accomplish
much or not, during the week or month.  Picture framers must satisfy
their clientele daily, or they will not be paid.

For this reason, if no other, it is important for conservators and
picture framers to develop a meaningful dialogue.

Jack C. Thompson
Thompson Conservation Laboratory
Portland, OR
503-735-3942  (voice/fax)

                  Conservation DistList Instance 13:14
                  Distributed: Monday, August 16, 1999
                       Message Id: cdl-13-14-006
Received on Wednesday, 11 August, 1999

[Search all CoOL documents]