Volume 14, Number 3, Sept 1992, p.13

Letter to the Editor

by Andrea Morse and Eileen Sadoff; response from the WAAC Board

Several Art Conservators need to let it be known that they are very disappointed with the timing of the 1992 WAAC Conference taking place in Santa Fe, New Mexico, September 27 through 29th. The person (or persons) who organized this conference, unlike the past organizers, were very inconsiderate to all people interested in attending. The conference in Santa Fe was postponed from 1991, so there was plenty of time to look at a calendar and try to make the conference when there were no other conflicting dates. From good sources, I know that a list of possible conflicting dates, holidays and other conferences at that time is given to whomever plans the WAAC Conference. The WAAC Conference is held only once a year and those people in art conservation look forward to setting aside sometime in September-October to attend the seminars, learn about new treatments and converse with other Conservators geographically nearby. For the organizers to set the conference date right over the most religious Jewish holiday was unthinking and even borders on religious discrimination. Although people of the Jewish faith are in a minority in the field of art conservation, they still need to be acknowledged and as in all other religious denominations, their holidays should be respected. I cannot believe that the organizers of the 1992 WAAC conference were so naive as to know the importance that Rosh Hashanah holds for the Jewish faith. The people that organized the conference and even the members of WAAC would never hold a conference over Christmas Eve and Christmas Day--so why is it alright then to hold it over the Jewish New Year?

Andrea Morse and Eileen Sadoff

We appreciate and understand your concern about the WAAC meeting's scheduling converging with Rosh Hashanah, and we also were distressed over the problems we faced in making the decision. We acknowledge and respect the holy days of every faith, and we were very troubled by your letter. The WAAC membership made the decision to hold the meeting in Santa Fe, and the Board of Directors was mandated to organize hotel availability and rates. We were advised by the hoteliers that the Hot Air Balloon Festival in Albuquerque takes place during the first two weeks of October, and rooms and air transportation had been booked. November 3, National Election Day, was another factor we considered important. With the approval of our constituents, we had arranged for special speakers. Their schedules and availability were part of our determinations. Additionally, three conservation meetings were taken into consideration: the IIC and NIC meetings in September, and the biannual Harper's Ferry meeting in late October. We knew of the conflict with Rosh Hashanah, and we also knew that the following week we would have to consider Yom Kippur. We are very sorry to have offended any of our membership. We, jointly, made a difficult decision and are sincerely sorry to have caused ill feelings.

Sincerely, The Board of Directors of WAAC

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