The twentieth and twenty-first centuries have introduced a bewildering array of new materials, used to design a broad range of objects now collected in museums, libraries, and archives. Many artifacts were designed to last for centuries, while others, though once innovative, show signs of deterioration. Colors change and fade, structures lose their integrity in unanticipated ways, and material components become obsolete. Cultural institutions must understand the long-term preservation needs of these items in order to determine appropriate priorities for conservation, storage, exhibition, documentation, and digitization. This two-day conference will explore the guiding principles of collecting and caring for artifacts of key historic importance from the recent past. Participants will attend general sessions in the morning and then select from concurrent sessions in the afternoon.
This program is intended for collections care staff responsible for documenting, curating, conserving, and archiving modern and contemporary materials.
Topics to be covered include:
- Thinking about collecting
- Working with living artists: the artist/conservator relationship
- Understanding modern materials
- Collecting materials with inherent vice
- Interpreting collections from the recent past
- Legal and copyright issues
- Collecting the controversial
- Where do we go from here?
Major funding for this program was generously provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities, with additional funding from The Pew Charitable Trusts, the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, The Philadelphia Cultural Fund, and the Independence Foundation.