(Research Collections, Libraries, Archives Conservation Task Force)

(Co-sponsored with NEDCC)

D. van der Reyden, CAL, 4/26/93

Thirty-two participants attended the session, which consisted of three lectures, as follows:

Lecture 1) morning lecture by Office of Risk Management Disaster Preparedness Co-ordination Pat Terry on the "SI Master Disaster Plan" (following a viewing of the Disaster Response Truck)

Lecture 2) noon lecture by SIL Head Book Conservator Janice Stagnitto on the "Library Emergency Action Plan (LEAP)" SIL is developing

Lecture 3) afternoon lecture by the North East Document Conservation Center (NEDCC)'s Karen Motylewski, Director of Field Service, on "General Aspects of Disaster Preparedness Planning for Museums."

Lecture 1)
The first lecture served as an overview of various aspects of disaster management under the broad umbrella of the SI Master Disaster Plan. It started with a viewing of SI's newly outfitted Disaster Response Truck, with commentary by Pat Terry on supplies (blotters, bubble wrap, conservation kits, etc.). In the lecture following the viewing Pat clarified several points, including the fact that there is no funding to replenish the supplies once they are utilized for an emergency. Among other things, she noted that her program for disaster training will start with training in the use of the truck for small groups of individuals representing key teams in various facilities; that NASM has developed a model plan which could be customized for the other museums; and that it is important that prioritization of collections be undertaken within each museum in order to determine what should be targeted first in an emergency.

Lecture 2)
The second lecture focused on one aspect of disaster management for one type of collection (e.g. the salvage of library materials), detailing the development of a plan, by one facility (SIL), which could serve as a model for others. Janice Stagnitto outlined some of the principles behind the LEAP program, such as the need to organize teams in such a way that each member has only one simple function to carry out, so simple as to preclude the need for extensive prior training. Decision making could be done by persons with substantial training and action by persons with less training. For instance, one person could remove artifacts from shelves, a second could decide which were stable and should be temporarily stored elsewhere, which would need interventive attention eventually, and which would need attention immediately. "Runners" could carry the artifacts to sites where one of these three things were being done. Location of priority collections could be signified by numbers or colors placed on shelves. Training may begin with 10 key staff members. A poster directing what to do if staff or others stumbled upon an emergency situation might also be designed.

Lecture 3)
Karen Motylewski noted that a pan-institutional disaster plan should determine the types of disasters to which an institution is most vulnerable (e.g. which "loud" disasters such as tornado, earthquake, fire, hurricane, or flood, or which "quiet" disasters such as loss of entire collections from of on-going, if unchecked, deterioration from poor storage and handling). Such a plan should also categorize the scope or scale of disaster it is addressing (e.g. a few wet books vs rooms of deteriorating material); and should emphasize "loss control" (e.g. what collections can the institution afford to lose if resources can save only part of the collections; how best to maximize benefits with minimum resources). She recommended that an advisory committee be formed to consider the implications of a plan comprised of the following parts or phases:

1) prevention/protection (proper environmental and housing materials and techniques for storage and display)

2) response (redundancy, individualized)

3) salvage (remove collections from dangerous environments)

4) restoration (determining triage based on informational or artifactual value of collections)

5) recovery (interventive treatment of vulnerable collections, e.g. coated book stock, photographs)

Karen focused on parts 1 and 2 for this lecture. To initiate a prevention/protection program, she recommend essentially a phased approach. First, an assessment survey should be undertaken to identify hazards caused by internal problems, environmental problems, security problems, etc. Second, the risk of hazards should be controlled or reduced by the installation of protection devices. During a response action, care should be taken to insure that personnel gets periodic breaks to relieve stress. To insure adequate supplies, general supplies such as protective enclosures, buckets, sponges, drop cloths, etc. should be secured against pilfering by wrapping packages so that seals will be broken if the packages are opened, and by doing a periodic inventory (locking can cause problems with access when the supplies are actually needed). The importance of staff awareness, monitoring, and redundancy were emphasized. Salvage operations could be consistent with those outlined by SIL's LEAP program, discussed previously by Janice Stagnitto. Restoration and recovery might best be organized by an institution's collections specialists and conservators.

Karen suggested that th



D. van der Reyden, 9/15/93

RELACT's FY93's events consisted of 8 sessions featuring dozens of lectures, and resulted in or was supplemented by over $100,000 in funds for programs ($30,000 grant from The Getty Conservation Institute for a symposium on Preventive Conservation in Latin America), supplies ($30,000 from a Research Resources Grant), equipment ($20,000 bequest from SIA), 2 conservation internships ($25,000 from CAL), and training materials ($10,000 from CAL for a video on care and handling). The 8 sessions and 4 additionally funded projects have each been fully described in summaries sent to RELACT participants monthly. Extracts from these summaries follow.


1. "Preservation Policies at the National Archives," a day-long seminar and tour at NARA taught by chief conservators Norvell Jones, Mary Lynn Ritzenthaller, and Sarah Wagner, for 15 SI archives, library, and research collections managers, including the heads of archives at NASM, NMNH, Freer/Sackler, AA & PG, and SIA. The conservators noted that they teach a two-day course each year, as part of NARA's two-year inhouse training program for archivists, consisting of an introductory two-day conservation seminar on handling and holding maintenance during the first year and a more advanced two-day seminar on environment, exhibition and treatment issues during the second year. They described their outreach program for NARA's 12 regional archives offices, which provided a close analogy to the SI's various museum bureaus. To insure consistency, a regional preservation coordinator serves as a liaison with each of the regional archives, which each has preservation officers trained in environmental control, holdings maintenance, etc.

2. "Preventive Care of Oversized Paper Materials" by Toddy Glaser, a half-day seminar at CAL, attended by 25 SI archives, library, and research collections managers. Toddy's lecture, which was commissioned for a conference held the following day at NARA, covered a wide array of topics ranging from drycleaning procedures and problems (loss of image, abrasions, punctures), to complex and controversial conservation treatments (such as varnish removal from maps), to good storage and housing practices (including using acid-free, large diameter rolling tubes). She reviewed reasons why commercial pressure sensitive tapes can not be used for repair. Each participant was given a notebook, prepared by CAL, consisting of course materials (summaries, bibliographies, instructions, brochures, etc.) to be updated, throughout the remainder of the fiscal year, at each successive meeting.

3. "Disaster Day" a day-long series of three lectures, attended by 32 SI archives, library, and research collections managers. Lectures were given by ORM Disaster Preparedness Co-ordination Pat Terry on the "SI Master Disaster Plan" (following a viewing of the disaster response truck); by SIL Head Book Conservator Janice Stagnitto on the "Library Emergency Action Plan (LEAP)," which SIL is developing; and by the North East Document Conservation Center (NEDCC)'s Karen Motylewski, Director of Field Service, on "General Aspects of Disaster Preparedness Planning for Museums." Pat focused on the pan-institutional approach, while Janice provided a model for a specific type of collection. Karen concentrated on how to organize planning programs.

4. "Conservation of Scrapbooks" by NEDCC's Sherelyn Odgen for 26 members of the Research Collections, Libraries, and Archives Conservation Task Force (RELACT) Training Program. RELACT members attending represented AH's Archives Center; Anacostia; African Art; Archives of American Art; SIA; SIL; Hirshhorn; NASM; NH; Photo Services, etc. The session covered the nature, deterioration and conservation treatment of a wide variety of scrapbooks.

5. Concurrent with CAL's Furniture Conservation Training Program's lecture/lab series for Conservation of Non-Wood Materials, a two-day lecture series was prepared and attended by 15 members of the Research Collections, Libraries, and Archives Conservation Task Force (RELACT) Training Program. RELACT members attending represented AH's Archives Center and Conservation Lab; Archives of American Art; SIA; SIL, Hirshhorn, NASM, NH, etc. The sessions covered preventive care theory, practice and research issues, including phased conservation approaches (prioritization and random sample assessment survey techniques, collections holdings maintenance handling and rehousing practices, and batch treatment options), as well as the history, chemistry, and deterioration of paper and media.

6. Library of Congress on "Functions of the Preservation Directorate" for 27 members of the Research Collections, Libraries, and Archives Conservation Task Force (RELACT) Training Program. RELACT members attending represented AH's Archives Center; Anacostia; African Art; Archives of American Art; SIA; SIL; Hirshhorn; NASM; NH; Photo Services, etc. The session included information about the paper, book and phase conservation sections; the use of phased conservation management to set short-, medium- and long-term goals to accomplish, in discrete phases, assessment of storage environment and condition of collections, correction through preventive care and holdings maintenance and treatment, and research and development of new procedures; and the use of a "point" or resource allotment system to ensure equal time and attention by conservation staff to LC's diverse collections.

7. "Preventive Care in Latin America," a two-day, bilingual seminar featuring over a dozen speakers from Latin American countries, co-sponsored by CAL, LC, APOYO, and GCI the week before ICOM, and awarded a $30,000 grant by the Getty. The conference was attended by over 120 museum directors, conservators, archivists, embassy liaisons, and other professionals from 20 countries (Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Brazil, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Ecuador, Peru, Mexico, Guatemala, Cuba, Portugal, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, Finland, Austria, Egypt, US and Canada), and by 7 RELACT members. The seminar was intended, among other things, to address the need for cultural diversity in the conservation profession by encouraging and facilitating the on-going participation by Latin Americans in international conservation conferences, serving particularly as a link between the 1992 Madrid IIC meeting on Iberian art and artifacts, the 1993 Washington ICOM meeting, and the 1994 Ottawa IIC meeting on Preventive Care. 28 abstracts were submitted for 4 sessions: Day One started with a morning session defining terms and problems of "preventive conservation in Latin America today," followed by an afternoon session on "models of preventive conservation strategies in North America." Day Two covered the "museum environment" with respect to research and application, with an afternoon session on "education and training." A panel on Strategies for Preventive Care in North America, moderated by Dianne van der Reyden, featured Toby Raphael from NPS, Carolyn Rose from SI, Mary Kennelly from IMS, and Peter Waters from LC.

8. Reviewed slide shows and videos on care of collections with Archives Advisory Council liaisons as well as SI's Pete Erikson and CAL staff to determine appropriate topics and formats for a video produced by CAL. The consensus was to have a video on basic handling, by users and staff, of paper materials found in libraries, archives and research collections, which could parallel a similar slide show offered on handling of book materials by the Library of Congress. Two scripts have been prepared and will be reconciled; images are being identified.

Supplimentally funded projects (see also session 7 above):

1. Supplies funded by a $30,000 Research Resources Grant: $30,000 was awarded to fund supplies for four museums' collections (NH's Fish Illustration File of "Type" Specimen, NASM's Rare Early Aviation Posters, Freer/Sackler's Ernst Herzfeld Archaeological Drawings of Ancient Near Eastern Temples, and SIA's Vail Telegraph Collection) to initiate pilot holdings maintenance projects which could be models for pan-institutional procedures.

2. Equipment and supplies funded by a $20,000+ bequest from SIA Archivist Bill Moss: To further the pan-institutional projects, outgoing SIA Archivist Bill Moss bequeathed over $20,000+ worth of equipment (board bender, ultrasonic welder, boardshears) and basic supplies (standard size folders, polyester enclosures, etc.) to support pan-institutional holdings maintenance initiatives and training.

CAL donated a former office and furniture for a collections and holdings maintenance resource center to accommodate the above $50,000 worth of supplies and equipment; the resource center is available to any SI personnel trained in and undertaking coordinated collections and holdings maintenance projects.

3. Internships funded by $25,000 by CAL: Two new interns are the first in CAL's Archival Conservation Training Program. Fei Wen Tsai (from Columbia University and the Library of Congress) is the post-grad intern until August 94, and she will be doing research characterizing Chinese papers, and treatment of Asian archival materials from NMNH, as well as prioritization and random sampling surveys and rehousing of various SI archival collections. Laura Steward (from Harvard and trained in Florence) is a third-year intern until February 94, and she is researching chromolithographic printing techniques and will treat a botanical drawing on dyed paper belonging to SI Archives, as well as assist in surveys and rehousing. The two interns are currently detailed to SIL Head Book Conservator Janice Stagnitto, with whom they are undertaking book-related treatment and research projects.

4. Video funded by $10,000 from CAL: A video on care and handling of paper-based collections for archivists has been scripted by CAL and should be completed in FY94.

e planning process be set in motion by identifying and assigning responsibility to someone to prepare a draft; educating the advisory committee; defining the scope of the project and establishing goals and timetables; and developing a reporting schedule. This is followed by action to assess the character and needs of the collection and to prioritize it on the basis of value, use and risk; to identify problems and hazards; and to develop resource estimates for personnel, supplies, time and cost budgets. This is followed by intervention to reduce risks.

The draft plan is then distributed for review and revision; a telephone tree is developed; anticipated resources must be confirmed; salvage guidelines are assembled; staff is trained; the plan is reviewed and updated annually.