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Subject: Conservation advocacy

Conservation advocacy

From: Lisa Mibach <heritage1>
Date: Sunday, February 1, 2004
To add to Jeremy Wells' plea for advocacy to the public
(Conservation DistList Instance: 17:51 Thursday, January 29, 2004):

Although we have a long history of public advocacy in conservation,
ranging from efforts by individuals at schools, museums, antique
shows, and for a wide variety of groups, through public lectures at
AIC meetings, to web sites and an elegant book for collectors
organized by Heritage Preservation (then NIC), and have spent a
cumulatively enormous amount of time, we never seem to have reached
"brand recognition" such that we don't have to explain to new
acquaintances what a "conservator" is.

Perhaps we should re-examine our methods, and analyze where people
get their information and form their opinions. We may also have to
find special funding for more ambitious efforts than we have used in
the past. I recall that Heritage Preservation once considered using
a series of ads in public interest television time, and this may be
worth re-examining, now that we have collectively accumulated a
number of professionally-produced films that could be used and added

I firmly believe that the advice of an experienced public relations
firm would help us to avoid repeating the same efforts that have not
proven successful in the past; at their best, PR firms strive to
disseminate accurate information about a topic to reach widespread
recognition of a concept.

I have also been impressed at the number of conservators who have
individually arrived at the same conclusion, that a fictionalized
television series might be the most effective way of reaching a mass
audience. The success of forensic and police TV series seems to
augur well for this approach. There are logistical obstacles to
overcome (finding the right writers, selling the idea in the right
places, etc), but I believe that we have collectively more than
enough stories and senses of drama and humour to create a series
that is as actively followed as is "the Sopranos". A series would
allow us to cover a variety of topics (stolen art? forgeries?) and
materials, complete with all the ethical dilemmas we delight in.

We do need an organization to spearhead this, as none of us has the
time to devote individually to follow through on all the work.

We will know that we have succeeded when we are introduced to
someone, say what we do, and hear "Oh really???" instead of getting
that familiar blank look.

Lisa Mibach

                  Conservation DistList Instance 17:53
                Distributed: Wednesday, February 4, 2004
                       Message Id: cdl-17-53-001
Received on Sunday, 1 February, 2004

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