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Collaborate, learn, and network with your colleagues both in person and online. Attend our annual meeting, the largest conference in North America for conservation professionals.

Opening + Concurrent General Sessions

Opening General Session 

On Thursday, May 13, 2021, from 8:30 am to 12:00 pm, we will offer a fast-paced session of 12-minute talks centered on the meeting theme Transformative Work: Creativity, Collaboration, Resilience. If you are submitting an abstract for this session, please select it as your first choice. We will consider all abstracts submitted for this session for the concurrent general sessions.

Concurrent General Sessions     

On Friday, May 14, 2021, from 2:00-5:30 pm, we will offer multiple tracks of talks centered around the meeting theme, Transformative Work: Creativity, Collaboration, Resilience. We are holding calls for four topic-focused sessions (chaired by members who responded to the previous call for session proposals) plus one open call. Presentation length should be 18-20 minutes to allow about 10 minutes for questions and discussion. 

On Display

Chair: Madeleine Neiman

Preparing collections for exhibition presents a range of practical and ethical challenges. Conservators must consider exhibit environment, casework/ display materials, and object condition as well as artist intent and cultural requirements/restrictions. This session invites papers from conservators, conservation scientists and collections care professionals about their exhibit-focused work. We welcome papers discussing both the triumphs and challenges of putting collections on display.

Topics could include:

  • Display in the age of COVID-19; adapting/altering display practices to allow for re-opening in the midst of a global pandemic.
  • Confronting the ethics of exhibition; how conservators weigh institutional mandates to exhibit collections vs. preservation requirements when displaying highly sensitive, extremely fragile or incompatible materials; lending objects for use or display in non-museum environments; consultation with descendent communities or living artists about the manner in which their cultural heritage/artwork is treated/ prepared for display.
  • Materials and materials testing for display; the journey to find safe, stable materials for use in exhibiting collections.
  • Environmental challenges in exhibitions; innovative solutions to cope with the presence of windows, HVAC failures, or exuberant visitos.

Collaborating with Stakeholder Communities

Chairs: Jessica Betz Abel and Michaela Paulson 

We are seeking papers for a Concurrent General Session to discuss how conservators of all specialties are moving beyond the requirements of legislation like NAGPRA and Section 106 regarding consultation and repatriation to ensure that they are taking concrete steps toward restructuring power dynamics within treatment and preservation practices. This session will present case studies showing how conservators - at all levels of their careers and within institutions or workplaces of any size and kind - are implementing community-led change more broadly for collections, sites, and communities. 

By firmly establishing inclusive practices and incorporating collaborative approaches to treatments that center around stakeholder community involvement and participation, we can push ourselves and our colleagues toward more innovative and meaningful work that not only facilitates access to cultural material, but also redefines ideas of ownership and stewardship.

Possible topics may include, but are not limited to: Collaborative treatment approaches to cultural heritage materials with living stakeholder communities, known craftspeople and artists, and community-based treatment approaches to foreign and domestic archeological, historical, and architectural sites.

Creating Connections & Community During COVID

Chair: Sarah Reidell & Kate Smith 

Building, strengthening, and renewing connections and community during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Goals:  For many, this period of pandemic, isolation, and burgeoning social justice action has been emotionally and professionally tumultuous. Connections provide solace, inspiration, and energy to sustain us through these periods. New collaborations and opportunities for connection arose from the global pandemic within our conservation and preservation community and also with allied professional communities and public audiences.This panel will highlight examples of new or adapted collaborative relationships within the conservation/preservation field that built, strengthened, and/or renewed connections and community during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many new collaborations and opportunities for connection arose from the global pandemic  within both our conservation and preservation community and also among allied professional communities and public audiences. For many, this period has been emotionally and professionally tumultuous. We’ve become acclimated to uncertainties and new, unimaginable circumstances. Connections provide solace, inspiration, and energy to sustain us through these periods. Panelists will share case studies, tools, and other means that fostered supportive, collaborative, and innovative relationships during the work-from-home period of the COVID-19 global pandemic. Imagine a session where we walk away feeling inspired and energized, reminded that what we accomplish moves us all forward, together.

Transformative Research and Treatment in the Care of Natural History Collections 

Chair: Fran Ritchie

Have you developed a new treatment that would benefit a natural object? Undertaken research that changes long held "truths"? Discovered a way to do treatments on a shoestring budget? Overcome new obstacles in the care for natural history collections in light of COVID - 19? If so we would like to hear about it!  

Open Call

Submit abstracts that fit the conference theme but not any of the sub-sessions above.