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CCAHA's 40th: 10,000 Years of Work

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2017 marks 40 years of CCAHA. Every Friday, we'll share the articles, photos, and recollections that tell the story of how CCAHA became a world-renowned leader in conservation science. 

Click here to read the article.

This November 1982 profile of CCAHA touches on two salient concepts in the conservation field: standardized conservation training and the “inherent vice” of all objects.

For most of the twentieth century, conservators were apprentice-trained, learning their trade from anyone who would take them on. By the early 1980s, when this article was published, the movement toward codified training and certification for conservators was gaining momentum. “Newer conservators,” the article says, “follow a standard course to qualify as professionals.” Today, all of CCAHA’s conservators have specialized degrees in conservation science.

The article’s first paragraph highlights a key feature of conservation: inherent vice. “Every work of art,” the article begins, “Contains the seeds of its own deterioration. The paint can blister, powder, or crack; flakes can chip off leaving white patches. A painting can wrinkle and the back become diseased with mildew. These grim fates, however, are countered by the remarkable techniques of a group of people known as art conservators.” 

See ongoing coverage of our 40th anniversary here.