We’re kicking off season four with the topic of sustainability: going green in conservation! What can conservators do to make the world a little greener? We try to rustle up some practical tips and discuss some of the challenges museums face. We talk to sustainability champion Sarah Staniforth about her work around the world and to Caitlin Southwick about the Sustainability in Conservation (SiC) network. Also tune in for a review of two green heritage books!
00:01:02 News in brief
00:03:25 Definitions, definitions!
00:05:53 Institutional sustainability: can we keep collecting?
00:11:49 People power and the impact of conservators
00:14:14 Measuring impact and carbon footprints
00:16:29 Things conservators can think about
00:21:04 Glove recycling and the allure of purple furniture
00:23:35 Storage solutions and the curse of the Instagram-worthy box
00:26:06 Exhibitions and reuse
00:32:52 Choice of materials and chemicals
00:37:57 Interview with Sarah Staniforth CBE
01:01:03 Green champions and what we do
01:06:11 Conferences – are they very green?
01:08:15 Interview with Caitlin Southwick
01:24:07 Review: ‘Sustainable Heritage – Merging Environmental Conservation and Historic Preservation’ and ‘Sustainable Museums – Strategies for the 21st Century’
01:30:21 Comments, questions, and corrections
01:30:57 Patreon shout-out!
Join us for a special episode when Kloe and Jenny go on a road trip to Cambridge! (Please note: this episode has VERY varied audio quality through-out due to different recording settings.) We talk about opening events, meet up with Christina, visit Kirstie Williams and Karen Horton at the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, interview Natalie Jones about the museum decant, and attend the opening ceremony for the refurbished Museum of Zoology.
00:00:52 Going for a ride in the car and memories of a decant
00:06:25 News in brief
00:10:18 Our experiences of opening events
00:27:00 Types of opening events and who gets invited?
00:32:58 Christina gives us a tour of MAA
00:42:24 Jenny and Kloe in the new zoology galleries
00:45:54 Interview with Natalie Jones
00:50:04 Summary of the event
01:02:41 Comments, questions, and corrections
01:03:38 Vintage Museums Journals
01:11:58 Patreon shout-out!
We tackle the tricky topic of funding: in museums in general and for conservators in particular. From grants and charities to crowdfunding and adopt-an-object schemes we’ll try to make sense of the many ways we can look for or raise money. Our agony aunt Jane answers some questions about accreditation, and we talk about professional bodies, influencing coworkers, and contemporary art headaches in the comments section.
00:01:06 News in brief
00:01:41 Our experiences of applying for money
00:07:33 Thinking about how to look for funding in museums
00:12:34 How do we demonstrate impact of heritage?
00:14:59 Funding landscape for museums
00:27:20 Conservation funding pots
00:29:38 Funding for conservators
00:32:04 Pet peeves
00:36:07 Individual giving as the future of funding
00:40:33 What are funding bodies after?
00:46:40 What comes next: the work that comes with a grant
00:50:52 Conservators as fundraisers
00:57:31 Adopt a Book and Adopt a Book schemes
01:12:42 Dear Jane
01:17:07 Kloe’s contemporary art dilemma
01:24:59 Questions, comments, corrections: NKF-DK answers and keeping HR out of mansplaining
This one is all about how to make friends and influence people (kind of)! Being heard in conservation can be hard. Guest host Jane Henderson shares her experiences of communication misfires and pro tips on how to get through to people. We play a little game in which we try to make negatives into positives, and have a think about what works when talking to colleagues. Also tune in for a Dear Jane about mansplaining, and listen to Kloe testing Aquazol on textiles.
00:39 News in brief
01:33 Being heard in conservation
06:37 Getting psychological with Jane
12:36 Teaching old dogs new tricks (or vice versa)
18:38 When bad things happen
23:37 Turning a negative into a positive
26:17 Personality types and why they matter
28:25 The story of Marco the Bear
32:19 Game: Minus to Plus!
41:41 Review: Kloe tries out Aquazol
47:17 Dear Jane
51:01 Comments, questions, and corrections: the Melinex question
We’re joined by Barbadian conservator Nerys Rudder and talk about international studenthood, working in a warm climate, and post-colonial heritage identity. Listen to eight voices from across the world: conservators from Spain, America, Egypt, Germany, Taiwan, Norway, Australia, and the Netherlands answer our questions! Our agony aunt Jane tackles a topical question about studying in the UK and how those qualifications can work for you abroad. Also tune in for an interview with Rosie Cook about working across Asia, and a review of ‘Treasures in Trusted Hands.’
00:00:31 News in brief
00:05:51 Nerys’ journey from art to science
00:09:28 Being the only conservator in Barbados
00:14:22 Working in a different climate
00:22:02 Research, collaboration, and networking
00:31:36 Interview with Rosie Cook
00:46:45 Julia from Spain
00:48:40 Pia from Norway
00:54:27 Abbie from the Netherlands
00:56:14 Sophie from Germany
01:00:07 Abdel from Egypt
01:08:02 Fletcher from America
01:09:31 Erina from Australia
01:19:05 Chi Chun from Taiwan
01:21:02 Review: Treasures in Trusted Hands – Negotiating the Future of Colonial Cultural Objects
01:23:45 Dear Jane
We team up with Lorraine Finch to talk about how to look after your conservator: we cover topics like wellbeing and self-care, while also discussing what employers and managers can do to keep staff in good condition. We talk to Dr Michelle Huws-Thomas about burnout and stress in the workplace, and we interview Sam Jenkins from the Museum Wellness Network. Also tune in for a review of ‘Objective Lessons: Self Care for Museum Workers’ by Seema Rao.
00:01:04 News in brief
00:05:11 Defining ‘wellbeing’ and ‘self care’
00:07:32 What’s wellbeing to us?
00:17:46 Lab pets and yoga practice
00:22:11 The power of body language
00:25:23 Swedish fika and the art of taking a break
00:28:11 Different types of stress
00:35:28 Mindfulness and its place in conservation
00:41:43 Mental health: Lorraine and Jenny’s stories
00:48:45 Tips for improved wellbeing
00:50:17 Interview with Dr Michelle Huws-Thomas
01:05:41 Warning signs and remembering to recharge
01:07:30 Rust out
01:11:45 Interview with Sam Jenkins
01:21:18 Review: Objective Lessons – Self Care for Museum Professions
We’re joined by guest host Janet Berry and get enthused about church architecture, ecclesiastical heritage, and how to look after the treasures we can find in places of worship. Christina interviews James Hales from UCL about his research about bats in churches, and Jenny talks to Rachel Morley from Friends of Friendless Churches and the Churches Conservation Trust about the joy of working with old church buildings.
00:00:46 News in brief
00:01:33 Jenny’s first conservation experience revealed
00:06:45 The canary in the cage
00:08:29 The conservator’s role and the importance of communication
00:10:34 Demystifying the term ‘faculty’
00:15:12 Funding availability for church conservation
00:19:56 Loans and ecclesiastical objects in museums
00:21:31 The joys and headaches of working in-situ
00:26:56 Terriers, logbooks, and quinquennial inspection reports
00:30:18 Documentation and aftercare
00:34:56 Interview with James Hales
00:54:56 Church graffiti and the importance of stories
00:57:23 Interview with Rachel Morley
01:07:26 Spiritual places as intangible experiences
01:09:38 Comments, questions, and corrections: a listener story about working in churches
01:12:14 Call for sound bites: international snippets!
01:13:55 Patreon shout-out!
Today we’re talking about professional bodies: what are they, what do they provide their members with, and what do we think of them? We discuss answers given to us by nine professional bodies from all over the world and have a think about our own experiences. Also tune in for a book review of ‘Authenticity in Transition: Changing Practices in Contemporary Art Making and Conservation.’
00:57 News in brief
02:36 So what’s a professional body?
06:16 The Price is Right – fees and charges
13:35 What do these bodies provide their members with?
24:17 Aims of our professional organisations
29:46 How could these organisations improve?
39:08 What about the non-members?
39:58 What makes your organisation special? What’s your USP?
42:34 Our experiences with membership of professional bodies
48:10 Review: Authenticity in Transition
Join us and our guest host Jenny van Enckevort for an episode about suffragettes, social history, political collections, and tricky object stories. Also tune in for an interview with Helen Antrobus about radical exhibitions and curating at The People’s History Museum. Plus our agony aunt Jane answers a question about frames, and Kloe reviews the first volume of ‘Feminism and Museums.’
00:01:13 Politics in museums?
00:02:58 Queer Britain museum announced
00:04:28 Suffragettes and women’s rights exhibitions
00:05:31 Social history is sexy
00:10:26 Vandalism and graffiti in response to exhibitions
00:15:23 Can we say no to objects that offend us?
00:20:41 Contemporary collecting and difficult topics
00:23:38 Conserving ephemera: protest signs, social media photos, and banners
00:29:40 Parallels between ethnography and political collections
00:33:44 Are object stories important to conservation?
00:41:52 Unions and Museums Are Not Neutral
00:43:14 Jenny’s can of worms
00:45:21 Contentious objects and how to display them
00:47:21 Interview with Helen Antrobus
01:01:25 Dear Jane
01:08:00 Review: Feminism and Museums
01:12:50 Comments, questions, and corrections: peripheral job markets
01:16:14 Patreon shout out!
Ho ho ho! We pull some Christmas crackers, talk about Christmas objects in collections, make some predictions for the year ahead, and sing a special conservation carol. 🙂 We also talk to Diana McCormack, the Antarctic Conservation Trust’s first Conservation Ambassador!
00:00:33 Christmas crackers! (plus terrible jokes)
00:06:23 Seasonal objects in collections
00:14:34 Christmas in museums
00:18:58 Predictions for 2018
00:27:32 Looking back on 2017
00:30:15 Interview with Diana McCormack straight from Antarctica!
00:49:39 Twelve Days of a Conservator’s Christmas
00:54:22 The Big Christmas Giveaway!
Our carol The Twelve Days of a Conservator’s Christmas is based on a traditional British carol in a musical arrangement by John Rutter. The singers and musicians (all of them!) were Tom Sutch and Christina Rozeik. The words were adapted by Kloe Rumsey, Christina Rozeik, and Jenny Mathiasson:
1 a tube of B72
2 purple gloves
3 fresh finds
4 crawling furs
5 old rings
6 hats a-fraying
7 pots for packing
8 books for binding
9 rugs unravelling
10 jars a-seeping
11 paintings peeling
12 coins corroding