Filed under: Commentary
As the RTI user community grows and becomes more viral, more discoveries are made. Once in a while, a blog comes across my desk that is worth sharing. This is one of them. Click on the jump to get there.
Thank you to Sue Grinols at FAMSF.
PS- nice blend map by the way (pretty good coverage for being set back on a table top!)
June 8, 2011
At the recent annual meeting of the American Institute for Conservation (AIC) in Philadelphia, I was happy to see both past and future participants in the IMLS-sponsored CHI RTI training session program. I had to break the news to some interested parties that the sessions at the Worcester Art Museum and at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art are already filled (with waiting lists) – but a few openings remain (apply here) in the sessions scheduled for the Smithsonian’s Museum Conservation Institute and the Indianapolis Museum of Art. Since AIC, several spots have already been taken.
Of course, conservators always want more visual information, and have been quick to understand the benefits of RTI for their work. Once conservators attend a CHI training session, RTI adoption spreads throughout the conservation community. At AIC, I heard several tales of conservators reaching out to their curatorial colleagues, presenting the extremely detailed technical art historical information to be gained from RTI. Curators were impressed! The ability to acquire this kind of detail is one of the hallmarks of RTI – in fact, in CHI’s Kress video Debbie Evans (paper conservator, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco) mentions that RTI can allow the conservator to provide this important, detailed information to the curator. We look forward to more wonderful conservator/curator interactions!
By Elizabeth Peña
Just before the memorial day weekend Mark and I had the pleasure of attending the Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections(SPNHC) conference. A national conference (and a few international folks too) held here in San Francisco this year. We gave an oral presentation and a demo camp presentation. Both were well received and afforded us the opportunity to speak to folks from various institutions. We have done a lot of work with fine arts institutions, but only a few proof of concept projects with natural history collections. It was a real treat to have a chance to go to some talks and panel discussions and also a collections tour at CalAcademy. I have always thought natural history museums were interesting and important and cool, but this conference really brought home to me just how important these collections really are as a scientific record of our planet. Collections large and small are critical to helping us answer questions about the natural world both now and in the future. A great example I saw on the collections tour were finches collected in 1905 – 1906 from the Galapagos, where the preserved skins allowed current researchers to do DNA analysis to answer new questions. Since DNA analysis didn’t exist when the specimens were collected, this clearly wasn’t something they were trying to enable. And yet, if we do a good job at collecting and preserving things (objects, data, specimens, etc.) then they just get richer and more valuable over time. That is one of our goals at CHI, to make data increase in value over time by collecting high quality imaging data and good records of how it was collected and what was done to it.
It was a great experience to be at SPNHC, and we hope to attend next year when it is hosted by the Peabody Museum at Yale.