Friday, July 8, 2011

JIAA Museology Seminar

The Japanese Institute of Anatolian Archaeology is providing an innovative workshop for local museum curators in different aspects of museum administration. The workshop included seminars on exhibit design, photography, and more, and included a two-day course designed to introduce the students to basic concepts and practices of museum and field conservation. Alice, Lucy, and Melissa developed a series of lectures that opened up discussions on what conservation is, what conservators do, and the methodologies that drive conservation practice. The goal was to offer an introduction to the field, suggestions on what museum curators can safely do to protect their collections, and to stress the importance of consulting with conservators in certain situations.

Alice began day one with a presentation on conservation principles, outlining the ethical guidelines that conservators (and archaeological conservators) work by, and offering a series of conservation treatment case studies. Next, Lucy gave a presentation on field conservation, defining the role of the archaeological conservator in the field and explaining how fragile artifacts can be stabilized and lifted. Melissa gave a presentation on preventive conservation, stressing the importance of environmental control, pest management, and safe housing in the protection of museum collections. The conservators ended the day with a hands-on session on safe handling, and showed the curators how to make storage mounts / packaging for their objects.

Lucy started off day two with a detailed account of art and artifact materials, modes of deterioration, and approaches to conservation in response to deterioration. She discussed organic and inorganic materials, offered examples of treatments, and then opened the floor to Corinna and Carrie to share their own conservation treatment case study. Next, the curators were brought to the conservation laboratory, where they were invited to examine objects through the microscope and carry out simple mechanical of practice metal artifacts. The students - some of whom hadn't used a microscope before - particularly enjoyed this segment of the course. Finally, ceramics restorer Elçin Bas showed the students how plaster fills are done on ceramics.

JIAA Director Dr. Sachihiro Omura hopes to continue this workshop next summer, and based on the success of this week we imagine this might become an annual event at the Museum of Archaeology, Kaman-Kalehöyük