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Subject: Conservation Awards

Conservation Awards

From: Susan Hughes <consawards<-a>
Date: Monday, May 9, 2005
The 2005 Conservation Awards

Images of farm horses in gas masks, scenery from a pioneering
Victorian hospital theatre, a late mediaeval 'Doom' wall painting
and vessels from Stonehenge saved from repairs with cement and
bicycle spokes are among the shortlisted entries for this year's
national Conservation Awards.

The Conservation Awards, backed by Sir Paul McCartney, are the UK's
leading awards for the preservation of cultural heritage. The
shortlists are the most wide-ranging to date and include
exceptionally impressive projects.

1.  Award for Conservation (UKP15,000):  This Award celebrates
excellence in completed conservation or restoration projects in
museums, galleries, historic buildings, libraries and archives.
Shortlisted for this Award are:

    The 'Doom' wall-painting, Holy Trinity Church, Coventry

        The details of this rare and extraordinary 15th century
        wallpainting were revealed after almost a decade of
        painstaking conservation work removing a severely darkened
        and shrinking Victorian varnish layer. The monumental image
        features Christ in majesty weighing human souls poised
        between the gaping mouth of hell and the stairway to heaven,
        and includes a group of semi-naked 'ale wives'. (Granville
        and Burbidge)

    'Not just a backdrop' - scenery from the Normansfield Hospital

        The Grade 2* listed Victorian theatre pioneered new
        approaches to the care of people with Down's syndrome,
        encouraging the use of drama and music as a means of
        expression at a time when others were condemned to a life in
        an asylum.  Over 100 scenery items--including rolled painted
        backdrops up to 35m square--were restored to former glory,
        and can now be used again to provide inspiration for users
        and researchers. (The Textile Conservation Centre,
        University of Southampton)

    Bronze Age pots from Stonehenge and Avebury

        The 105 ceramic vessels from the World Heritage Site of
        Stonehenge and Avebury are among the most important finds
        from the Bronze Age excavated by British archaeologists.
        Conservation of these vessels involved repairing the damage
        done by earlier restorations using unsuitable materials such
        as bicycle spokes, cement and sealing wax. This delicate
        operation took four years, and previously hidden decoration
        has been rediscovered on several vessels. (Wiltshire County
        Council Conservation Service)

    Mine Machinery at Force Crag, Cumbria

        With the aim of providing safe public access to the last
        working zinc and barytes mine in the Lake District, this
        project has conserved machinery in context--collecting and
        reassembling machinery that was scattered across the site
        and preventing further corrosion and decay to machinery
        abandoned to harsh environmental extremes after the mine was
        closed in 1991. The meticulously-planned project was
        completed inside one month, using four teams on different
        parts of the site. (Context Engineering Ltd, commissioned by
        the National Trust)

2.  Award for Care of Collections 2005 (UKP10,000)

This year, a new Care of Collections award is to be presented in
celebration of the tenth anniversary of the Awards. The award
focuses on projects which improve the conditions in which our
heritage collections are housed. Shortlisted projects are:

    Preservation of Images of Rural Life

        This project has re-housed 130,000 agricultural glass plate
        negatives--a unique record of farming life over the last
        century created by the Farmer and Stockbreeder and Farmers
        Weekly magazines. The project involved over 40 enthusiastic
        volunteers who discovered unusual images including a farm
        horse wearing a gas mask in the 1940's, and a camel carrying
        spraying equipment. These fascinating images, giving an
        insight into a vanished way of life, are now properly
        protected and can be made available to a wider public. (The
        Museum of Rural Life, University of Reading)


        This new UKP11m railway museum at Shildon, Co. Durham
        celebrates Shildon's history as one of the world's oldest
        railway towns and is the first national museum in the north
        east of England. The survival of 70 vehicles from the
        national collection, many of which were deteriorating out in
        the open, has now been safeguarded by housing them under
        cover in a custom-built collections centre, where they are
        on display to the public for the first time. (The National
        Railway Museum)

    Collection Care and the Community: making archaeological finds

        The Museum of London Archaeological Archive and Research
        Centre contains finds from 100 years of excavation across
        London, housed in 140,000 boxes of artefacts stored on 10
        kilometres of shelving. This three-year project involved
        large numbers of volunteers from different backgrounds who
        share a passion for London's history. They took part in
        hands-on care for objects at greatest risk from unsuitable
        storage, under the guidance of the museum's conservators and
        other staff. As a result, these irreplaceable collections
        are now accessible to the public and can also be viewed
        on-line. (The Museum of London)

Judging: All the shortlisted projects will be visited by the Awards
judges over the summer. The members of the 2005 judging panel are:

    Liz Forgan OBE, (Chair of the Judging Panel)
    Chair, Heritage Lottery Fund

    Dan Cruickshank
    Television presenter and historic buildings expert

    George Ferguson
    President, RIBA

    Sir Simon Jenkins
    Author and columnist

    Maev Kennedy
    Arts Correspondent, The Guardian

    Gillian Lewis
    Formerly Head of Conservation, National Maritime Museum

    Georgina Nayler
    Director, The Pilgrim Trust

    Alice Rawsthorn
    Director, The Design Museum

The Conservation Awards were originally set up by the Museums,
Libraries and Archives Council (then the Museums and Galleries
Commission), which has continued to give financial and other support
over ten rounds. Welcoming the shortlist today, Chairman Mark Wood
said: "Conservators are the health professionals of the heritage
sector, preserving and restoring cultural objects so that they
maintain their significance and meaning. Much of this work takes
places behind the scenes, but awards like these help bring
conservation to the fore, so that people can appreciate the skills
and craftsmanship of the profession. This year's shortlist includes
some outstanding projects, which illustrate the wide range of
knowledge and technical expertise required to maintain our cultural

John Fidler, Conservation Director at English Heritage, said, "The
Conservation Awards focus attention on the multidisciplinary skills
necessary in the field, and the importance of engaging the public in
the value of our collective heritage."

The shortlists for three further awards will be announced in June:

    Student Conservator of the Year
    Digital Preservation Award
    Anna Plowden Award for Research and Innovation

The winners will be announced at the British Museum on 22 November

Images of the shortlisted projects are available from
<URL:> in the English
Heritage/Conservation Awards 2005 folder.

The Awards are supported by Sir Paul McCartney and managed in
partnership by key organisations in conservation and restoration:
the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA), the UK Institute
for Conservation (UKIC), English Heritage, the Institute of Paper
Conservation (IPC) and the National Preservation Office. UKIC and
IPC are in the process of merging with other organisations during
2005 into a new larger professional body for conservation of the
cultural heritage, the Institute of Conservation. The Digital
Preservation Coalition and the Anna Plowden Trust sponsor the awards
in their names.

For more information see <URL:>,
which includes links to information about the supporting partners.

Susan Hughes
Administrator, Conservation Awards 2005
Institute of Conservation
3rd Floor
Downstream Building
1 London Bridge
London SE1 9BG
+44 20 7326 0995

                  Conservation DistList Instance 18:53
                  Distributed: Saturday, May 14, 2005
                       Message Id: cdl-18-53-015
Received on Monday, 9 May, 2005

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