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Subject: SCMRE


From: Ed McManus <ed.mcmanus>
Date: Monday, April 16, 2001
As President of the Washington Conservation Guild I have forwarded a
letter to Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution expressing
concern over his decision to eliminate the Smithsonian Center for
Materials Research and Education.  I encourage other conservation
organizations and conservators to do so also.  My letter follows:

    April 16, 2001
    Lawrence Small
    Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution
    700 Jefferson Drive
    Washington, DC 20560

    Dear Secretary Small:

    As President of the Washington Conservation Guild WCG, I am
    writing to express my deep concern over your recent decision to
    eliminate the Smithsonian Center for Materials Research and
    Education (SCMRE) this coming December. Your action has had a
    significant impact upon the conservation profession, causing
    many conservators to question your commitment to conservation
    and conservation science within the Smithsonian Institution and

    Traditionally the Smithsonian Institution has been recognized as
    a promoter of and an ally to the conservation profession. S.I.
    conservators have been strong advocates for the highest
    standards of collections care and preservation. Within the
    Institution they have played an important role in collections
    preservation, exhibition, materials research and training.
    Beyond the Institution, other museums and repositories for art
    and material culture followed the S.I. example, hiring
    conservators and establishing their own conservation
    laboratories. As a result, there was greater awareness of
    preservation standards and a desire to meet those standards.

    S.I. conservators have also been active players within
    professional organizations nationally and internationally. They
    were among the founders of my own organization, the Washington
    Conservation Guild, and for many years the WCG enjoyed the
    support of the S.I.

    The recent destruction of the giant standing Buddhas in Pamiyan,
    Afghanistan has demonstrated to the world how a seemingly simple
    decision by a small group of people can have a worldwide impact.
    If anything, that incident demonstrated that the ordinary people
    and responsible governments who spoke out against the
    destruction have a deep and heartfelt interest in preserving our
    cultural heritage. Conservation and conservators are an
    important part of that process because they provide the methods
    and the materials of preservation. The Buddhas are now gone
    forever. Let us hope that the Smithsonian Institution has not
    abandoned its commitment to the conservation of its collections
    and position of leadership that it has held within the
    profession for so long.


    Edward McManus

                  Conservation DistList Instance 14:55
                 Distributed: Thursday, April 19, 2001
                       Message Id: cdl-14-55-003
Received on Monday, 16 April, 2001

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