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Subject: Certification


From: Valinda Carroll <vcarroll>
Date: Tuesday, December 10, 2002
I hesitate to step into this argument, but here goes. First, I'd
like to correct Paul Himmelstein by reminding him that autodidacts
in the Commonwealth of Virginia may "read the law," passing the bar
to become a "professional" attorney without the benefit of a law
degree from a university. Someone with a law degree is not
automatically a lawyer; he or she must first pass the bar in each
state in which he or she wishes to practice. I'm sure that no one
would like to see fifty separate sets of professional standards for
conservators, but a national standard for our small group makes

A recent program graduate, I have had the pleasure of interning
under a number of expert conservators who do not have degrees in
conservation.  The trend toward degree-granting programs is a
positive one, but it is not reasonable to expect all
conservators-in- training to quit their jobs and move away from
friends and family in order to go to conservation school.  Until
there are opportunities to earn a degree in part-time, evening, and
weekend programs, or programs in the Southeast, Midwest, and West
Coast, there will continue to be apprentice/technicians who will
stick with conservation (often working alongside program-trained
interns) long enough to decide to make it a career.  These
individuals should not be discouraged from pursuing a career in
conservation.  As I understand the British system, they have planned
for an "alternate" qualification for those persons who have not
completed academic programs in conservation.

I realize that there are abstract concepts in conservation which do
not easily translate into a standardized test, but the encyclopedic
Paper Conservation Catalog is a good example of the body of
knowledge that does exist (good, bad, and ugly).  We have the
peer-reviewed JAIC in the US, in addition to Studies in Conservation
and other international conservation publications to present
conservation research.  As we read the postings of job openings, we
notice that non-conservators are defining who is and who is not a
conservator. I think that it behooves us as a profession to move
forward with certification.

Valinda S. Carroll
(M.A. Museum Studies, Hampton U., 1993; M.A., C.A.S., Art
Conservation,  Buffalo State, 1999)

                  Conservation DistList Instance 16:39
                Distributed: Tuesday, December 10, 2002
                       Message Id: cdl-16-39-023
Received on Tuesday, 10 December, 2002

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