Volume 14, Number 1, Jan. 1992, p.6

Report from NIC

by Jerry Podany

Jerry Podany, representative to the National Institute for the Conservation of Cultural Property (NIC) for The J. Paul Getty Museum, also acts informally as correspondent to WAAC about NIC projects and business. WAAC is a member of NIC, but we do not send a representative to NIC meeting.

The 1991 NIC annual meeting was October 22-23, 1991, in Washington, DC. "Looking Ahead: Raising Funds to Meet Conservation and Preservation Needs," was the theme for the meeting and for the upcoming year. Jerry reports the following news:

In 1991, the Conservation Assessment Program (CAP) saw a growth of approximately 25% in both the areas of grant awards and the number of recipient institutions. Increased appropriations to IMS, which funds CAP grants (administered by NIC), will mean more time for CAP assessors to prepare for site visits, conduct research, and write reports.

SOS! (Save Outdoor Sculpture!) is one of NIC's most successful projects. NIC will establish programs in each state to train volunteers to inventory and prepare condition assessments on outdoor sculpture. Coordinating institutions will receive grants from NIC, primarily to support staff. A pilot study in Illinois, Tennessee, and West Virginia was planned for fall, 1991, to test the project's methodology. The National Park Service and NIC sponsored a course for members of the public, technicians and managers who care for outdoor monuments; two 30-minute videos for training volunteers and a sourcebook for developing community support for SOS! are being prepared.

The National Committee to Save American Cultural Collections, a joint venture between NIC and the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities, is producing a 200-page book, "Caring for Your Collections: Preserving and Collecting Your Art and Other Collectibles." Designed for the layperson, the book is scheduled to be published by Abrams, Inc. in spring, 1992.

NIC's president, Lawrence Reger, said that the NIC is developing plans to expand its efforts to promote ongoing collection care in libraries and archives. NIC is reviewing a suggestion to develop a program similar to CAP for these kinds of institutions.

In discussing the issue of raising funds for conservation and preservation needs, administrators and conservators at the meeting concluded that in the last seven years, there has been a dramatic increase in public funds available, which has been accompanied by vigorous competition for these funds. Private funds, on the other hand, remain relatively small, and much work faces the national efforts to encourage private funding for preservation.

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