Lois Olcott Price is Senior Conservator at the Conservation Center for Art and Historic Artifacts
This topic was chosen to explore an observed tendency of the last several years for the most experienced conservators to become increasingly involved in collection management functions at the same time they are spending significantly loss time treating individual objects. This function is assigned to less experienced conservators and/or technicians who work under varying degrees of supervision.
By collection management I mean those activities that tend to influence the welfare of the collection as a whole or that influence conservation policy. These activities include surveys, environmental monitoring, physical plant renovations, exhibitions, loans, acquisitions, staff education, fund raising, budget making, etc. This shift from bench to management has raised a number of questions:
I hope that we will be able to explore this topic beginning with our own personal situations and then broaden the discussion to speculate on its long term consequences for the field of conservation.