art, what we do

AIC Angels Rock the Mountains

Everyone else has blogged about it, so I better get on it: The 2008 AIC Angels Project was a roaring success. These people refused cookies, tours of the rare books room, water and bathroom breaks – they were unbelievable preservation demons, sticking to the task at hand. I want to clone them and keep the results.

You can read about it at the AAC Library Blog, High Places, or the BWAMM Blog, or see pictures as they come in, on our Flickr page


I send my undying gratitute to, in no particular order:

Diligent unfurlers of shredded peak registers, removers of candy inserts, identifiers of mortuary certificates and possible human remains in ash form:

Karen Jones, Collections Conservator, Jefferson County Public Library, CO (and author of ingenious AIC Poster on making broken ledger bindings into ledger enclosures!)

Greg Bailey, Conservation Technician, University of Connecticut Libraries

Jennifer Cruickshank, Conservator, Maryland State Archives

Vicki Lee, Senior Conservator, Maryland State Archives

Laura Bedford, UT Austin Kilgarlin Center Conservation Student

Bev Perkins, Objects Conservator

Heroic removers of horrible backings, discarders of hideous frames, Photodocumentarians extraordinaires:

Jamye Jamison, Book and Paper Conservator, Zukor Conservation, San Fran

Alicia Bjornson, Resource Interpretive Specialist, The Hancock House, NJ State Parks

Nora Lockshin, Paper Conservator, Smithsonian Center for Archives Conservation, DC

Elizabeth Williams, Preservation Specialist, The Hollinger Corporation

Jenn Cruickshank (again)

Explorers of the depths of storage and the heights of museum exhibitions (we have our own crevasse, y’know!):

Bev Perkins (again)

MJ Davis, WASHI, Vermont

Helen Alten, Northern States Conservation Center


Innovators of the art of daveyboard origami and book cradle modular construction:

Katherine Kelly, Collections Care Conservator, Iowa State University

Andrea Knowlton, Assistant Conservator for Special Collections, Wilson Library, University of N. Carolina- Chapel HIll

Susan Lunas, Book Conservator, Eugene, OR

Senders of unexpectedly enormous amounts of free supplies:

John Dunphy, University Products

Elizabeth Williams, The Hollinger Corporation

Bob Henderson, Metal Edge, Inc.

Jake Salik, Talas

Janice Comer, Archival Products

I didn’t even approach other vendors, who I sure would have contributed too, given the chance, but these folks gave SO much!

And, of course, the support of Library Director, Gary Landeck, CMC Creative Coordinator Chris Case, CMC events manager Carla Preston, and everyone else at the AAC and CMC who made this happen!

Seriously, folks, if you have the chance to participate in the AIC Angels project, either as a volunteer or as a host institution, DO IT!

art, art conservation, what we do

Volunteerism and AIC Angels

My mother was the queen of volunteers when I was growing up, and only lately have I started to realize some of the odd connections between what she spent her time on, and what I do now. For example, she and her women’s group helped re-establish the prison library at Attica after the riot there in 1971. I’m not sure of the details, but it was a library thing, for sure. Another example: this week marks the 20th anniversary of an award established in her honor at the Burchfield-Penney Art Center at Buffalo State College. My mother volunteered many hours in Rockwell Hall, working with the Center’s first Director, and my friend, the late Edna Lindeman. The Millicent Heller Volunteer Appreciation award is given each year to honor volunteer service. My mother’s volunteerism at the Albright Knox provided me, as a grade schooler, the opportunity to roam the galleries in off hours. I spent a lot of time crawling around in the mirrored room. She gave me an attachment to art, in many ways. I’m thrilled when I get to work on art made by artists I loved as a child. When a Burchfield watercolor came through the lab last year, I was pretty happy.

My mom also gave me an appreciation for how much work gets done by unpaid but dedicated people. This year’s American Institute for Conservation (AIC) Angel’s project is a case in point. I’m the coordinator for this year’s project, which will be hosted by the American Alpine Club and the Colorado Mountain Club. These organizations collaborated to maintain a world-class library and an newly opened museum which focus on the study of mountain environments and activities. These folks get so much done not only because of their energetic staff, but because of their enthusiastic volunteers. They are very excited at the prospect of a cluster of conservators descending upon them to do that thing that we do. Plans are in their early stages, but I know there are a century’s worth of summitting records, some written on candy wrappers, some on more official ledgers; there are canvas tents and leather-handled tools; there are lantern slides and color slides; there are giant models of Everest. There’s a mural. Rare books. Scrapbooks. Some of these things will get our attention and some will not (yet)- not sure which projects can be addressed in a day, even if we are superheroes. If you are a conservator, attending the AIC annual conference in Denver, give me a shout to sign up! There will be an announcement on the DistList soon.

We will also be seeking donations of supplies, so if you think you can help in that arena, gratitude will be yours in abundance!

Stay tuned for more details, and don’t forget to thank your volunteers!