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Collections Conservation

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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 course.

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.

MODULE 1

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 and advocacy.

  • Introduction to Collection Conservation 
  • Advanced Technical and Scientific Skills for Conservation
  • Developing an Environmental Monitoring Program 
  • Documentation for Collection Conservation 
  • Conservation Treatments for Heritage Materials 
  • Home Practicum - a two-week project carried out in the participant's home institution or a cooperating institution giving the student another opportunity to put new skills and knowledge directly into practice and to begin to improve preservation of collections in an Iraqi institution
MODULE 2

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.

  • Review and Presentation of Practicum Projects 
  • Advanced Photography for Conservation 
  • Conservation Treatments for Heritage Materials
  • Home Practicum - a two-week project carried out in the participant's home institution or a cooperating institution giving the student another opportunity to put new skills and knowledge directly into practice and to begin to improve preservation of collections in an Iraqi institution
MODULE 3

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 house.

  • Review and Presentation of Practicum Projects 
  • Conservation Treatments for Heritage Materials 
  • Packing and Basic Mountmaking for Artifacts 
  • Review and Finalize Portfolios 
  • Public Presentation Week - second-year participants will plan, organize and host an open-house and share their portfolios and other outreach and documentation projects.
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  • The Department of Art Conservation
  • 303 Old College
  • University of Delaware
  • Newark, DE 19716, USA
  • Phone: 302-831-3489
  • art-conservation@udel.edu