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Subject: Conservation principles

Conservation principles

From: Bruce Levy <levybooks>
Date: Thursday, June 15, 2006
I agree with the premise: "It is my belief that
'minimum-intervention' is an institutional ploy to save money and to
cover up a lack of skills." In fact, after serving as Senior Book
Conservator, and head of the book lab at the HRHRC at UT Austin,
from 1985-88, I frequently stated that exact premise.  I have been
in private practice since 1980.  I have worked for many of the high
end clients in the US (institutions,dealers and collectors).

I am very familiar with the work being done in the major US
institutions.  I have absolutely no doubt that the above premise is
true, regardless of what anyone within the institutional venue says.
Institutional training, regardless of how thorough, at best turns
out "techs" who are rarely capable of complex treatments without
serious oversight.  Unfortunately, the very few capable people
either are promoted to their level of incompetence (administration)
or they get the hell out of the institutional venue all together, as
I have.  There are a few (very few) exceptions.  But these
exceptions only prove the rule, and you can count them without
taking off your shoes.

When I was first hired at the HRC I was brought objects (bound
materials) that had been withdrawn from circulation for several
years simply because the curators knew that the staff would only
screw them up.  The work I did there was at a level that simply
exposed the previous conservation department staff as unskilled
"techs".  It was a complete waste of time.  If you have any further
questions, please feel free to contact me.

Bruce Levy

                  Conservation DistList Instance 20:1
                  Distributed: Saturday, June 24, 2006
                        Message Id: cdl-20-1-019
Received on Thursday, 15 June, 2006

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