Ethical issues in conservation
Responsible for "[augmenting] the Code of Ethics by explanatory interpretations and additional statements, prepared by this committee or elicited from other units of ALA. When units of the association develop statements dealing with ethical issues, a copy will be sent to the Committee on Professional Ethics for review so that it may be compared to the existing ALA Code of Ethics in order to determine whether or not conflicts occur.")
"'Standards for Ethical Conduct for Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Librarians' first appeared in 1987 and was designed to amplify and supplement the ALA Code of Ethics. A second edition of the Standards was approved by ACRL in 1993. This version, recast as a simplified 'Code of Ethics for Special Collections Librarians' with commentary, was approved by ACRL in October 2003."
The earlier version included the following note:
"These standards were published in College and Research Library News (C&RL News) 54:4, April 1993; also issued in a separate printing, June 1994)"
"Promoted by the European Confederation of Conservator-Restorers' Organisations and adopted by its General Assembly , Brussels 1 March 2002
"Please note that since Icon ceased to be a member of ECCO in September 2007, Icon and its members no longer conform to the part of Section III(ii) indicated by asterisks."
"ICOM Code of Ethics for Museums was adopted in 1986 and revised in 2004. It establishes the values and principles shared by ICOM and the international museum community. It is a reference tool translated into 36 languages and it sets minimum standards of professional practice and performance for museums and their staff."
"The guidelines embodied in this document were revised by the Editors of the Publications Division of the American Chemical Society in January 2000."
Talk presented at the IIC conference, Preventive Conservation: Practice, Theory and Research. Ottawa, Canada September 15th 1994. This talk is considerably different to that published in the preprints of the Conference, available from IIC, 6 Buckingham street, London,WC2N.
Text of a talk given in the session When conservator and collections meet at the Annual Meeting of the Associaton of Art Historians, London, April 7-8, 1995. Not published.
Talk given at a joint meeting of ICOM-CC, the conservation committee of the International Council of Museums and ICEE, the International Committee for Exhibition Exchange, in a session called Exhibition or Destruction, ICOM general meeting. Stavanger, Norway, July 5 1995. Unpublished.
Text of a talk given at the British Museum during the Conference Restoration: Is It Acceptable? 24-25 November 1994. This text is substantially different to that published in the preprints, BM Occasional Paper 99, The British Museum, Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3DG. ISBN 0 86159 099 6. Offprints of the writtten text are available from the author on request.
Presented at Conservation Without Limits, IIC Nordic Group XV Congress 23-26 August 2000, Helsinki, Finland and printed in the PREPRINTS (Editor Riitta Koskivirta) pp 21-33
Abstract: The recent field of audiovisual restoration and preservation had no expressed ethics of preservation. A search for existing approaches in conservation of art, paper, monuments, and in the Memory of the World programme showed very little useful consistency in relation to conservation theory. Instead of trying to make a separate new ethic, it was more useful to consider a framework which would function in any preservation environment. In order for such a framework to be useful, rather than merely philosophical, it must be able to assist decision makers in prescribing coherent actions.
Operational Conservation Theory does precisely this: it is based very firmly on the structure of information present in any object (even a landscape!), in the form of visible and latent information. The information is both of a scientific (technical) nature and of a perception nature. Another constituent of Operational Conservation Theory is the life-cycle of an object in which there is a gradual transfor-mation from utility into "mere" information value.
">The Institute of Museum Ethics maintains that ethical issues underpin all aspects of work in museums—from governance to education, registration to exhibitions, finances to operations and visitor services."
"Whether in day-to-day decision-making or forging an overarching mission, museum ethics are about an institution's relationship with peoples—individuals and groups in the communities a museum serves as well as its staff and board members."
"We define museum ethics through principles related to individual and institutional behavior, such as integrity, accountability, loyalty, honesty, and responsibility. We provide the tools to identify operative ethical principles, and we keep abreast of issues in the field as well as larger societal changes in order to anticipate the emergence of circumstances that might have an impact upon ethical practice in museums."
"The Institute also holds that museums should encourage understanding and promote social justice. As a result, we support the exploration of how institutions can use the past to address present concerns, facilitate dialogue among diverse groups, and empower marginalized communities, locally and globally."
"... includes guidelines, models and articles discussing ethical considerations (decision-making processes) as well as theoretical issues in the conservation of modern and contemporary art"
Abstract: The ethical treatment of corporeal materials is confounded by the dual cultural and scientific values ascribed to human bone. The cultural concerns for the sacred significance of human remains often come into direct conflict with scientific investigation. The authors have been involved in a number of difficult situations between the professional communities who have responsibility for the scientific investigation of human remains and the lay communities who have been concerned for the sacred and spiritual aspects of these materials. This paper addresses a variety of professional approaches to the treatment of human skeletal materials and the need for interdisciplinary cooperation among the professions that study and care for these materials. It also addresses the need for AIC to recognize human remains as a discrete material deserving of considerations that are distinct from any other materials we treat as conservators.
deals with issues of artists' intent with regard to thangkas:
Abstract: The concept of Original Artistic Intent is difficult to apply to Tibetan thangkas. Thangkas are composite objects produced by painters and tailors with differing intents, skills and training. Iconographic specifications, regional and doctrinal differences in style, changes in form from harsh treatment and altered mountings all complicate the issue.
Discussion of the ethical issues involved in restoration of Jewish sacred scrolls, performed by a non-Jew, examining the issues from the standpoint both of Jewish law and professional practice Specific cases of a Sefer Torah and a Megillat Esther are discussed.
An informal interview with Bill Leisher, Head of Conservation, Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Tatyana Thompson, Painting Conservation; and Scott Schaefer, Curator of European Paintings and Sculpture, Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Interview conducted by Caroline Black, Newsletter Editor.
One of the more unusual presentations at the AIC meeting in Philadelphia this year was given by Reid Mandel, currently a law clerk to a Justice of the Supreme Court of Minnesota. He explored the use of copyright laws to address one of conservation's more troubling problems--the protection of a work of art after it leaves the conservator's hands.
The notion of confidential conservation records is familiar to everyone. Some conservators feel that condition and treatment reports, like doctors' records, are confidential. Others feel that to maintain the professional nature of conservation, and to best protect the artwork, the free exchange of information, access to such records should never be denied. The legal realities are surprisingly straightforward. The perceptions of the issue within the profession, however, are not.
Following years of hot debate and efforts to recognize a wide spectrum of viewpoints, the federal government passed legislation in November 1990 that will change practices in most U.S. museums and other institutions that have collections of Native American, Native Alaskan or Native Hawaiian cultural materials and human remains.
Discussion of concerns and of experiences pertaining to this new legislation--H.R. 5237, The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act--will help conservators approach this new era intelligently.
On September 30, 1991, at the WAAC Annual Meeting in Seattle, a panel addressed the topic of multicultural participation in museum collection care. The presentations that were made, along with a selection from the questions and answers that followed, are published here in edited form. Panelists' addresses are on the last page of the article.
The following items may not focus entirely on ethical issues, but contain at least significant component of relevance
`Blinding the Duck' explores some of the complex issues arising from the use of images of Aboriginal people and material in `The Flight of Ducks' (a participatory new media documentary built around a collection of objects from a camel expedition into Central Australia in 1933).
This work was one of the first on-line works to be formally (
http://www.nla.gov.au/nla/pandora/flight.html) archived by the National Library of Australia. There have now been calls to dismantle the work.