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Sunday, May 15 • 3:00pm - 3:30pm
(Collection Care) Preventive conservation in changing times

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For many museums, budgetary constraints and institutional reorganizations have created a concerning reality. In this climate of change and limited resources, it is easy to lose years of progress in preventive conservation. At the Canadian Museum of Nature (CMN), we have been adapting to this climate and have developed strategies for continuing our highly successful preventive conservation program. While managing increasing workloads, we have been experimenting with ways to leverage our work to keep preventive conservation from becoming an afterthought. By sharing our ideas, we hope to encourage a dialogue about these complex issues. Our immediate concern was to minimize the loss of institutional knowledge about collections preservation. We had already been gathering key foundation documents about our collections storage facility and preservation program. It was critical to continue this work and write a departmental history or framework before items were archived. While responding to and participating in expanding new initiatives, CMN Conservation staff attempted to mitigate preservation concerns by “protecting the core”. This meant focusing on immediate projects that would have a long-term effect on collections preservation, including capital renovations and space reallocation of the collection storage building, and highlighting longstanding preservation procedures that were at risk of being lost during a time of significant staff turnover. To ensure the continued strength of our longstanding culture of preservation, a collections-wide Preservation Committee was established to better share and disseminate information. Furthermore, we have contracted out our pest monitoring and have worked closely with the pest control company to ensure a successful IPM program. We have also worked very closely with key internal departments, in particular Facilities and Rentals & Events, to fine tune our approach to preventative conservation. We are also reaching out to museum management and working with new managers to educate them about our successful preventive conservation program so they can be ambassadors of collections preservation and make more informed decisions as we embark upon new ways of showcasing our collections. We view this as an opportunity to ensure that our highly successful preservation strategies in collections remain a priority in the day-to-day operations of the museum. We are also finding ways to work more efficiently - doing work once and distributing it many times. This involves a combination of reviewing and streamlining old information to ensure it reaches the widest audience possible. We are currently exploring ways of automating this process to facilitate widespread distribution while reducing the workload of Conservation staff. Further, we are trying to find new ways to better integrated into the Museum’s planning cycle to address preventive conservation issues as well as highlight outstanding risk assessment priorities.


Luci Cipera

Conservator, Canadian Museum of Nature
Luci Cipera works as a conservator at the Canadian Museum of Nature. Luci joined the Canadian Museum of Nature in 2004 on the team responsible for moving the bird and mammal galleries during the museum’s renovation. She is a graduate of the Master of Art Conservation program at... Read More →
avatar for Carolyn Leckie

Carolyn Leckie

Conservator, Canadian Museum of Nature
Carolyn Leckie is a graduate from the Queen University Art Conservation program. Carolyn worked at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, the Canadian Conservation Institute, and the Denver Museum of Nature and Science before joining the Canadian Museum of Nature 10 years ago. She... Read More →

Sunday May 15, 2016 3:00pm - 3:30pm EDT
Room 516 AB