Articles, Preservation

Identifying Plastics

I attended a session on Plastics today during the virtual AIC Annual Meeting, the professional association for conservators and preservation specialists. Netherland conservators Carien van Aubel and Olivia van Rooijen introduced the Plastic Identification Tool, an absolutely fantastic resource to aid inventory and condition assessment of collections.

Libraries, archives, museums and private collections may have a wide range of materials, each with their own methods of self-destruction and concomittant special storage and exhibit needs. Artworks, textiles, furniture, artifacts – all may have plastic components which may not have been identified during accession and which need to be assessed and monitored for deterioration. Some varieties of plastic can extremely vulnerable to damage from light, temperature and humidity, and may require very specific preservation strategies and housings to mitigate damage to the object itself or to nearby artifacts. Damage may present as color change, odor, sticky or pooling plasticizers, or changes in flexibility. An objects conservator may be required to accurately identify materials and conservation priorities, but a preservation consultant (like me!) can assist in developing and carrying out a condition survey.

Articles, Preservation

KonMarie taking over the world – even in LAMs!

The KonMarie method is taking over the world and here is a funny take on applying it to LAMs (libraries, archives, museums), with a few great questions to ask about objects, supplies, equipment, staff and board members, not to mention that drawer in which you keep a jumble of … who knows what. Do you want to take this into the future? Does it serve you or the organization? Do you even have a weeping closet?

Link: Does This Board Member Bring You Joy?

art conservation, Articles, Preservation

Emergency CAP Assessments are now available for institutions in federally declared disaster areas

As a CAP Collections Assessor, I am available to assist you. Please read the information below and apply for the program as directed.  This is a terrific resource that will help you assess the damage and develop a plan for moving forward.

Press Release:

The Foundation of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (FAIC) and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) announce availability of Emergency Collections Assessment for Preservation support. Based on the existing Collections Assessment for Preservation (CAP) program, the Emergency CAP will help collecting institutions in federally declared disaster areas receive post-disaster collections care recommendations from conservation and building professionals on an expedited basis.

 Emergency CAPs follow the general guidelines of the Collections Assessment for Preservation program, with the following exceptions:

  • Only museums affected by recent federally-declared disasters are eligible.
  • Museums of any size are eligible for an Emergency CAP. Small and mid-sized museums will receive a general conservation assessment. Larger museums will receive a review of preservation/conservation plans for the structure and/or those parts of their collections which have been damaged by the emergency or disaster.
  • Assessor allocations for Emergency CAPs range from $3500-$4900 per assessor, based on institutional budget, need, and available funds.
  • Applications for Emergency CAPs are reviewed immediately upon receipt. Applicants are typically notified of their status within two weeks of application.
  • Program schedules and deadlines are determined by each institution and its team of assessors, subject to approval by FAIC. All program activities must occur within one year of notification of program acceptance.

Museums include, but are not limited to, aquariums, arboretums, art museums, botanical gardens, children’s/youth museums, general museums, historic houses/sites, history museums, natural history/anthropology museums, nature centers, planetariums, science/technology centers, and zoological parks.

Limited funding is available. Eligible museums interested in receiving an Emergency CAP assessment should contact Tiffani Emig, CAP Program Coordinator, at 202-750-3346 or for additional information.

Articles, Preservation

Collections Assessment for Preservation (CAP) Program

I’m pleased to announce that I am a Conservation Collections Assessor for the CAP Program.

The Collections Assessment for Preservation (CAP) Program “provides small and mid-sized museums with partial funding toward a general conservation assessment. The assessment is a study of all of the institution’s collections, buildings, and building systems, as well as its policies and procedures relating to collections care. Participants who complete the program receive an assessment report with prioritized recommendations to improve collections care. CAP is often a first step for small institutions that wish to improve the condition of their collections.”

To learn more, or to apply, visit

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Don’t worry – many collections spaces resort to this! CAP can help!