The 2014 annual meeting conference of the American Institute for Conservation took place last week in San Francisco. It was a GREAT conference. There were really fascinating talks that will change our field and change the way we work. AIC staff and the city of San Francisco have our admiration as hosts!
Nancy Odegaard, Steve Weintraub, and Chris Stavroudis each presented many, many, many, many important talks, sessions, and posters. Standards for the museum environment were re-examined and discussed in light of the urgency for using fewer resources. Pierrett Squires’s presentation, “Sustainable Collections Care on a Budget: A New Museum Store for Bolton, UK,” was an excellent example of a project that will preserve their cultural heritage and help to preserve the earth’s resources.
Dr. John Asmus, Research Physicist in the Physics Department of the University of California, San Diego gave a fabulous presentation of his years of study on the possibility that there really are two Mona Lisa paintings by Leonardo da Vinci. Leonardo made two versions of some of his most important paintings, so why not the Mona Lisa? Or, should I say, the Mona Lisas?
Bart Devolder, Painting Conservator at the Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage, spoke about the five-year, 1.2 million Euro conservation project of one of the most important paintings in the world: The Ghent Altarpiece. Aside from carrying out the technical examination and treatment of this premier item of world culture, Mr. Devolder juggles government oversight, a consulting committee of international conservators, the public watching through the glass wall into the lab, and TV interviewers!! Mr. Devolder is really a rock star conservator doing a very serious treatment while he informs and educates the public and the government.