The Abbey Newsletter

Volume 14, Number 2
Apr 1990

AIC Will Find Good Archival Homes for Treatment Records

About three years ago, with funding from the Getty Trust and NHPRC, an AIC Task Force under Roy Perkinson began studying the feasibility of establishing an archive for treatment records, especially those from private conservators' labs after the conservator retires. The Task Force looked into legal and other aspects, and made recommendations. The result is not what some of us expected at first--an "old folks' home" for treatment records--but something like a placement service that will match up each set of records with the institution most likely to treat the records like a record series in their own archives In this sense AIC will act as a sort of adoption agency.

Excerpts from Nancy Schrock's October 1989 CAN article on this program are reprinted below. The program has been the Conservation Archive Network.

Questions of security, limited access, and confidentiality were some of the reasons why the Task Force concluded that treatment records should be placed in established archives staffed by qualified archivists, rather than placing then in AIC Headquarters or regional conservation centers, where staff expertise does not include archival administration....

The AIC Board accepted the Task Force recommendations that AIC advocate the preservation of and access to conservation treatment records as a policy, initiate and provide archival and records management information to conservators, and facilitate placement of endangered records. Treatment records would be placed in established archives associated with universities or research institutions that would, in time, form a Conservation Archives Network. AIC would serve as the clearinghouse for all information about archives of treatment records....

Nancy Schrock has been reappointed Archives Coordinator for 1989-90.... Readers are requested to contact her if they have any questions about the feasibility study, if they know of collections that are in jeopardy, or if their institution wishes to accept collections of treatment records in its archives. Information about records that have been lost or destroyed should also be reported, so that it can be included in the %master catalog for the benefit of future researchers....

Long-term plans of AIC include providing information about records management to practicing conservators, working with specialty groups to identify potential archival collections, developing contacts with museum archivists, registrars, and scientists to urge them to include treatment records in their information systems and expanding the Conservation Archive Network. In-depth indexing would be desirable, as the Getty Conservation Information Network develops its thesaurus and indexing capability. The ultimate goal is to provide access to the technical information created during documentation of conservation work, so that research and later treatment can be based upon as much knowledge as possible.

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