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Subject: Traveling exhibitions

Traveling exhibitions

From: Rick Kerschner <rkerschner>
Date: Wednesday, March 6, 2002
Roeland Stulemeijer <cdnusm [at] yahoo__com__sg> writes

>    *   To what degree does the Conservator stay involved in a
>        travelling exhibition?
>    *   Is there a need for the Conservator to examine the artefacts
>        in between locations, after each transportation?
>    *   Does a Conservator go over to the other venues/museums to
>        check on the facilities, to see if the environment for the
>        artefacts will be the same or similar? (RH, Temp, light
>        levels even safety wise)

The decision to send conservators with a traveling show depends on
several factors: the number of artifacts traveling, the importance
and fragility of the artifacts, types of materials, number of
venues, expertise available at the borrowing institutions, etc.. We
have sent two major exhibitions on the road, each to multiple venues
within the last 10 tears. The exhibitions have contained some of the
best artifacts in our collection, including paintings, paper,
textiles, large folk art sculptures, weathervanes, decoys,
scrimshaw, etc.

We send a conservator and a preparator/registrar to examine each
artifact for condition and assist with tricky mount installations at
the beginning of each venue, and/or de-installation and packing at
the end of the venue. The cost for these services is part of the
cost of the show. I believe that this attention has prevented damage
to the artifacts, caught problems while they are still minor, and
enabled us to keep a close eye on individual artifacts that may have
particularly fragile areas. When necessary, we can do remedial
treatments on site so that the artifacts are safe to travel to the
remaining venues. The exhibiting museums have appreciated the fact
that we do the conditioning and the assistance with installation or
packing. Based on our experience, I would highly recommend this
approach for any major traveling exhibitions.

Although site visits to borrowing institutions to check out
conditions such as light, temperature and RH control, or security
might be ideal, we depend on information provided in facility
reports followed up with communications between our head of
conservation and the facility manager at the borrowing institution.
We also require weekly submission of temp/RH data during the period
when the show is exhibited or stored at the borrowing institution.
The follow-ups are important. We have found that some museums to not
maintain the control they claim they will in their facility reports.
However, in only one out of a total of 13 venues for two different
shows was the problem of a serious nature.

Richard L. Kerschner
Director of Preservation and Conservation
Shelburne Museum
PO Box 10, Route 7
Shelburne, VT  05482
802-985-3348 Ext 3361

                  Conservation DistList Instance 15:61
                 Distributed: Wednesday, March 6, 2002
                       Message Id: cdl-15-61-003
Received on Wednesday, 6 March, 2002

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