Volume 6, Number 2
What Paper Conservators are Expected to Know
The American Institute for Conservation has started certifying
paper conservators by examination through its Board of Examiners.
The following list gives an idea of what successful candidates are
expected to know.
The certification procedure includes, in addition to written and
oral exams, an examination of the facilities, equipment and work
done at the applicant's place of work.
- Conservators' methods and techniques: including dry- cleaning,
mending, making inserts, flattening, washing, bleaching,
deacidification, tape removal, removing backings and adhesives,
adhering backings, matting and framing; use of adhesives, papers,
solvents and reagents; etc.
- Routine problems in paper conservation will be presented and the
candidate will write up proposed treatments including the techniques
and materials to be used. These problems may include: oil paint on
paper or board, synthetic media, mixed media, collage, extra-large
objects, three dimensional objects, decoupage or Schaerenschnitte
(paper cut-out), embossed prints, wallpaper, etc.
- Causes and results of damage and deterioration: including use of
improper materials and treatments, improper environmental
conditions, inherent vice and accidental damage, etc.
- Acquaintance with related areas of paper conservation such as
parchment, papyrus, tapa, palm leaf manuscripts, pith "tsuro rice"
paper, synthetic paper, etc.
- Proper procedures: including light and climate control, storage,
exhibition, handling, packing and shipping, records and reports,
insurance, administration, etc.
- Personnel safety procedures.
- Professional ethics.
- Research questions including: materials and techniques of art
and historic artifacts on paper: including history, composition and
manufacturing methods, deterioration, testing, uses, and visual
recognition of papers, media and drawing, graphic and painting
techniques, etc. Elementary principles of chemistry and physics
applied to conservation.