days included plenary lectures held at the National Museum of Fine Arts, in a
beautiful early 20th-century amphitheater with temperatures suitable
for cold storage. In 2009, the Cuban government mandated strict environmental
controls for all Cuban heritage collections: 18C +/- 2C and 45% RH. Many collection
caretakers, especially those in the provinces, face significant challenges with
environmental control and access to better quality paper or plastic enclosures.
Fifty-eight intergenerational participants from cultural and private
institutions attended. There were conservators, curators, archivists,
architects, educators, and photographers. All were eager to learn, engaged,
appreciative, and many were natural leaders. Their collections ranged in size
and type to include everything from daguerreotypes to digital print
Lessons focused on the examination, identification, and care of photographic print and negative collections. Hands-on sessions followed the lectures, reinforcing key concepts. Sessions included testing housing materials for pH and dye bleed, the use of polarizing filters and acid-detector strips, and options for non-adhesive matting and mounting. Ronel and Shannon led an interesting session on tools for the conservators; a box of 19th-and 20th-century photographic prints were among the materials left onsite for use by the School of Conservation or the Instituto Superior de Arte (ISA). Collection visits were also paid to the Office of the Historian of the City of Havana and the Museum of Music, which house mid-19th century images of Cuba, photographs of famous musicians, and the earliest extant copy of the lyrics to the Cuban National Anthem (La Bayamesa) written and composed in 1867 by Perucho Figueredo (Amparo's great-great-grandfather).