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Subject: Private practice in institutional lab

Private practice in institutional lab

From: Emily Williams <ewilliams>
Date: Saturday, January 27, 2001
We have been following this thread with interest as a contract
conservation program was recently set up at Colonial Williamsburg.
There is no private practice in our labs, but we have begun to
accept contract projects from other institutions. Months of
discussion and planning led us to a policy that helps us avoid many
of the potential pitfalls that have been mentioned. Our program was
developed within the department of conservation and is administered
by individual lab managers with the oversight of the director of
conservation. We have accepted only projects that inform the study
of our own collections, thus serving the research interests of our
curatorial and conservation staff.

In these first two years of contract conservation, we've met our
major goals: Contract income supplements and does not replace
portions of the departmental budget. It is used to hire additional
staff (from interns to associate-level conservators) whose presence
benefits our own collections as well as those of our client
institutions.  The program builds strong relationships with our
client institutions, and is a useful means for public outreach and
education through the publicity generated by some of the projects.
Contract conservation has also increased our professional visibility
within our own institution.

As with any program, there are bumps along the way, but there is
consensus here that the benefits of contract conservation far
outweigh the discomforts.  Each of our ten labs have participated in
the program--some supporting up to two full-time positions and
others choosing simply to augment internship funds from other
sources.  We would be happy to chat with anyone off list about the
program. Practical implementation varies for each of the labs, so we
can help you contact the lab managers for archaeology, architectural
materials, furniture, instruments, metals, objects, paper,
preventative conservation, textiles, and upholstery.

John Watson
Conservator of Instruments

Emily Williams
Associate Conservator of Archaeology

                  Conservation DistList Instance 14:41
                 Distributed: Monday, January 29, 2001
                       Message Id: cdl-14-41-003
Received on Saturday, 27 January, 2001

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