MRCG visits the Missouri Historical Society Library and Research Center

Today’s post is by 2018 MRCG Emerging Professionals Scholarship winner Keara Teeter, a Winterthur/University of Delaware Art Conservation Program graduate student and third-year intern at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Here she describes the reception and tour enjoyed by MRCG Annual Symposium attendees this November at the Missouri Historical Society Library and Research Center. 


Following the first full day of talks at the Saint Louis Art Museum, symposium attendees were treated to an evening reception hosted by the Missouri Historical Society (MHS) Library and Research Center (LRC). The LRC is a major repository for both the local history of St. Louis and the state of Missouri, as well as for regional history about the Louisiana Purchase and the American West. The reception was held in the main lobby and was catered with delicious refreshments including a variety of cheeses, meats, fruits, and wines.

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Touring the Missouri Historical Society Library and Research Center: the Reading Room.

After people had an opportunity to eat, drink, and mingle, Christopher Gordon, Director of Library and Collections, invited the MRCG members into the Margaret Blanke Grigg Reading Room. He introduced everyone to the MHS library collection, which encompasses over 100,000 volumes, 7,900 linear feet of documents, and over 1 million photographs and prints. In addition, this center houses over 175,000 culturally valuable artifacts. The LRC genealogical records are a particularly cherished resource as many guests have scheduled research appointments to review them.

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The Reading Room’s original plasterwork dome. 

The historic building housing this collection was originally constructed in the 1920s as a Byzantine-style synagogue. One of the prominent features of this synagogue was the 40-foot copper dome, which is visible from Skinker Boulevard and across the street in Forest Park.  The building was sold to MHS by the United Hebrew Congregation in 1989, and MHS spent the following three years working on the renovation and restoration.  One major project was to restore the Judaic plasterwork and gilding inside the dome; this was exquisitely carried out by Tom Sater of the firm Artisan Decorators. The restored dome is now the centerpiece above the Margaret Blanke Grigg Reading Room.

After Mr. Gordon’s introduction, MRCG members were divided into smaller groups and brought downstairs on two behind-the-scenes tours. In museum storage, we were able to see collection items such as historic Missourian looms, a dog sledge used on one of Admiral Robert Peary’s expeditions to the North Pole, and a 9’x12′ hand-carved frame from the Charles A. Lindbergh donation. Upon arriving at the conservation lab, we encountered a variety of objects including an Aztec incense burner, Native American beaded knife sheath and belt, Mexican silver bowl, tortoise shell necklace and pendant, and a steamboat ship model. There were also X-radiographic images from the technical examination of Alfredo Ramos Martinez’s oil on canvas Flores Mexicanas, which will be featured in an upcoming exhibition at the Missouri History Museum.

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Conservator Crista Pack gives a behind-the-scenes tour of the Objects Conservation Lab at the MHS Library and Research Center.

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Conservator Alice Paterakis explains her research during a tour of the Objects Conservation Lab at the MHS Library and Research Center.

This Saturday reception was made possible by generous support from the Missouri Historical Society. MRCG would like to thank the MHS employees who helped organize the event: Christopher Gordon, Crista Pack, Darlene Sugerman, Shannon Meyer, Randy Blomquist, Amanda Bailey, Hattie Felton, Greg Niemann, and Alice Paterakis. This was an experience that provided a quintessential look into the history of St. Louis, the city that hosted this year’s MRCG Symposium. You can learn more about the Missouri Historical Society, the Library and Research Center, and the Missouri History Museum by following @mohistlibrary and @mohistmuseum on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

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Job listing policy change: salary information required

MRCG is pleased to be able to share listings for conservation-related positions to benefit our conservation community. We accept job and internship postings that are relevant to our members, and we do not charge a listing fee.

The MRCG officers have recently added a new requirement: all job and internship listings must include information on the monetary compensation (salary range, stipend amount, or hourly wages) and benefits associated with the position.

We feel strongly that it is in the best interest of our members to have this information provided up front, as it enables all prospective applicants the opportunity to evaluate a crucial aspect of employment without both parties wasting resources on the application process, and it encourages transparency and equity in the hiring process.

This move was prompted by recent efforts to encourage salary disclosure for jobs at museums and other nonprofits, including the letter-writing campaign by the National Emerging Museum Professionals Network. MRCG learned about this movement via the AIC Objects Specialty Group, which made a similar policy change in October. We encourage other organizations with job boards and distribution lists to follow suit!

For more on why salary and compensation information should be required, especially in the nonprofit sector, please check out Vu Le’s article “When you don’t disclose salary range on a job posting a unicorn loses its wings.”

 

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MRCG brings disaster preparedness to the Annual Symposium

This post about the recent MRCG 2018 Annual Symposium is by 2018 MRCG Emerging Professionals Scholarship winner Margalit Schindler. Margalit is a conservation assistant at the Cleveland Museum of Art.


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MRCG President Claire Winfield introduces guest speaker Jessica Unger. Photo credit: Hugh Shockey.

The MRCG 2018 Symposium in St. Louis was one for the books. In addition to the session topics spanning a myriad of treatments and technical research, we were excited to welcome Jessica Unger, Emergency Programs Coordinator from the Foundation of the American Institute for Conservation (FAIC), for a special session on Emergency Preparedness. Her talk focused on the importance of building relationships with local emergency professionals and answering key logistical questions before an incident strikes. Identifying priority objects to salvage, sharing institutional information (like blueprints, entrances, and potentially hazardous materials) with emergency responders, and understanding the working logistics of your local Incident Command System were just a few of the topics covered.

In addition to her presentation, Jessica also led attendees in a short disaster exercise, where groups were asked to devise a plan after receiving a theoretical phone call that their institution had flooded. Some details of the incident were given, and groups had to decide what information they needed to share and what questions they needed to ask of the emergency responders. Details aside, the most important takeaway from this exercise was the importance of having a predetermined emergency plan. Knowing the priorities of both your institution and the responders beforehand makes communication during and after an incident that much more effective.

Jessica also discussed FAIC’s Alliance for Response initiative, which aims to bring together cultural heritage institutions and emergency responders at the local level. One-day forums are used to launch local initiatives and foster cooperation between institutions and responders in order to better protect material cultural heritage. Many cooperative disaster networks have been formed as a result of these forums and continue to help their members plan for and respond to emergency incidents.

However, the networks are mostly concentrated in large cities on both coasts, leaving the Midwest region somewhat unaccounted for. Starting these alliances is simple, especially with the full tool kit provided by FAIC (link below). As MRCG is already a network of engaged and passionate cultural heritage professionals, we have the foundation to be more proactive and assist institutions and collectors in the Midwest. Consider reaching out to other MRCG members to start the conversation and let Jessica’s talk at the Symposium be the catalyst for starting a network in your area!

For more information on Alliance for Response:

http://www.heritageemergency.org/initiatives/alliance-for-response/afr-home/

Additional resources:

Alliance for Response tool kit: http://www.heritageemergency.org/initiatives/alliance-for-response/tool-kit-3-2/

Alliance for Response webinar series: http://www.heritageemergency.org/upcoming-webinar-series/

Incident Command Systems: https://www.fema.gov/incident-command-system-resources

FEMA Emergency Management Institute courses: https://training.fema.gov/emicourses/emicatalog.aspx

Connecting to Collections Care: https://www.connectingtocollections.org/

 

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Updated Job Posting: KCI Sculpture & Object Conservation

Position: Object Conservator 

Deadline: December 5, 2018

KCI Conservation is seeking a full-time Object Conservator to join our busy object and sculpture conservation practice in Minneapolis, MN. KCI Conservation provides professional conservation services for a wide range of materials, but we have become especially well known and respected for the conservation of modern and contemporary art, as well as outdoor sculpture and public art. The diverse repertoire of artworks treated by KCI include traditional sculptures, decorative arts objects, ethnographic objects, monuments, fountains, mosaics, multi-media art, and kinetic art. Our clients include museums, private collectors, cities and government agencies, and corporate clients. For more information about our firm, please visit our website at: kciconservation.com.

Job Description:

The successful candidate will contribute to all aspects of the conservation practice, including: completing condition assessments of objects; writing treatment proposals and reports; providing cost estimates; conservation treatment of artworks in the conservation lab and in situ; performing treatments for outdoor sculpture; completing collections surveys; supervision of conservation technicians; and interacting with clients.  The position requires the ability to work both independently and as part of a team.

Qualifications:

Completion of graduate level training in objects conservation from a recognized art conservation program; 3+ years post-graduate conservation experience is preferred; Highly organized with good time management skills and the ability to work within deadlines; Excellent written and oral communication skills; Demonstrated ability to work well in a group and with individuals from diverse backgrounds and disciplines; Experience supervising technicians or interns is preferred; Experience working with outdoor sculpture and public art is optimal.

 Compensation:

Hourly pay equivalent to approximately $36,000 – $60,000 per year depending on how many projects you complete each year; KCI offers a stipend that can be used for moving expenses, purchase of conservation tools, etc., and the opportunity for annual bonuses. Have questions about this? Applicants are encouraged to contact Laura Kubick for more information at 612-564-3176 or kciconservation@gmail.com.

Submission:

Cover letter and C.V. with three conservation-related references may be emailed with the subject heading “Object Conservator Position” to kciconservation@gmail.com by December 5, 2018. Please include 2 examples of condition and treatment reports and associated photographs.

 

 

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Oh, the places you’ll go– in Saint Louis!

Are you coming to Saint Louis for the MRCG conference this weekend? Your local “experts”, MRCG members who live in Saint Louis, have put together a long list of restaurants, museums, and other attractions we recommend for you to check out during your free time!

Visit Things to do in Saint Louis now!

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