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IICAH participants stabilizing an artifact from the Kurdish Textile Museum
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The training overseen by the
University of Delaware at the Iraqi Institute is divided into two levels:
Introductory (Fundamentals of Conservation) and Advanced (Conservation
Treatment and Planning). The Advanced course, designed for individuals who have
passed the Fundamentals course with identified skills and distinction, focuses
more directly on developing the knowledge of people who will work as
conservators. These participants are actively treating and improving the
condition of individual items as well as expanding skills in preservation of
collections. Participants must be invited to attend the second-year Advanced
The courses are designed as a series
of Modules arranged into four to six week blocks that can be adapted as needed
to the exigencies of working in Iraq and that allow flexible scheduling of visiting lecturers coming
from abroad. Classroom sessions alternate with labs for the development
of hands-on skills. The scheduled curriculum is augmented by lectures and
practical sessions that will vary depending on the availability of heritage
professionals visiting Erbil.
In this Module,
students produce full condition and treatment proposals for objects made from materials
studied during the Fundamentals course. The proposals are critiqued and revised until they meet
international standards. As part of this process, students practice
discussing treatments with stakeholders and researching materials, technology
and treatments. As a group they develop an
environmental monitoring plan for the Institute building and begin the
monitoring process that will take place throughout the year. They produce
documentation and begin treatments on objects as instructed by visiting lecturers.
They practice photographic skills and learn how to take quality photographs of
difficult materials (large, shiny). They begin work on their portfolios, a
compendium that documents their work throughout the course. They learn how to
take better candid shots of people at work to improve images for presentation
Students continue to practice the
conservation process and learn new treatment skills for additional types of
materials based on the expertise of the visiting lecturers. Both group and
individual treatments are carried out during the module. Students research a
small topic on the internet and present their findings in English. They
upgrade and improve their portfolios and have them critiqued so that they can
continue to improve them for their final presentation. Students collect
data from their environmental monitoring project and learn the importance of
evaluation of data for making improvements. They adapt the program and
reset the monitoring equipment.
In this final module students
practice the conservation process with objects made from additional types of materials
and gain confidence and skills with tools, equipment and techniques. More
group and individual treatments are carried out and documented under the
direction of visiting lecturers. Students learn new techniques for simple
mounts and improve skills for ensuring preservation of artifacts on exhibit.
They learn techniques for packing including soft packing and crating to ensure
preservation of artifacts during transport. They finalize the
environmental monitoring project and make recommendations to the Board of
Directors on needed changes and improvements to the building. Students
finalize their portfolio for presentation in an end-of-the year public open