Risk Management
Welcome to the Collections Caretaker e-Newsletter from Northern States Conservation Center. The newsletter is designed to bring you timely and helpful content that is pertinent to situations we all encounter in our museum and archives work. Feel free to let us know what topics you would like to see featured in Collections Caretaker or even contribute an article.
In This Issue

Museum Boards: The Leadership Matters Wish List
Instructor Spotlight
Featured Course
October 2017 Online Courses
November 2017 Online Courses
Conferences and Meetings
Museum Boards: The Leadership Matters Wish List
By Joan Baldwin
 
In the wake of the ongoing dismay surrounding the Berkshire Museum's decision to renovate its building, change its focus, and shore up a plundered endowment, and Lee Rosenbaum's cautionary post about the National Academy of Design - another organization that hoped to cure its ills with cash - we've been thinking a lot about boards, board culture, board building, and board behavior.
 
We've written about museum leadership since 2013. Our focus has been the women and men leading museums and heritage organizations. Any of you who've read our posts know we believe passionately that the museum field needs to invest more in its leaders and staff than its infrastructure.
 
Lately museums have made news for a host of reasons including poor decision making and inattention. Each incident sends the press scurrying to find similar situations so the public is reminded of the field's misdeeds. The field needs to make our job sector a place with better salaries, better benefits, HR offices, personnel policies, and gender equity training. That's a cultural shift that isn't going to happen overnight, and a lot of the heavy lifting needs to be done by museum boards. We don't have a magic wand, but if we did, here are our five wishes for board behavior:
  1. Boards who understand why they've chosen to serve, who know that service is about the institution, whether it is tiny and all-volunteer or a community's anchor store.
  2. Boards who believe in the museum field, who understand it's a place with its own culture, rules, and most importantly, ethics and standards. Those standards weren't invented a century ago because the folks at the newly-formed American Association of Museums (now American Alliance of Museums) had nothing else to do. On good days these ethics and standards actually inform what the field does.
  3. Boards who invest in museum leadership within their own ranks as well as staff ranks find that it can be a key to making change, not just an opportunity to shift the responsibility of leadership off their own backs.
  4. Boards who have a deep understanding of why their organizations matter know it is an understanding that informs and eases the ongoing task of raising money.
  5. Boards who know that museums hold the public trust, and realize that being a non-profit isn't a ticket to practices and behaviors they wouldn't sanction in their own businesses.
This sounds like we think all boards are badly behaved, and we don't. Many, many are exemplary. But for the sake of collections, communities, and museum staffs, we'd like to see boards move the needle away from downright poor decision making and mediocrity. And the sooner the better.
 
Reprinted with permission from Leadership Matters Posted: August 7, 2017
Thoughts on 21st Century museum leadership by Anne Ackerson and Joan Baldwin
For more information on Leadership please check out other articles from this Blog.
Instructor Spotlight:
Ernest Conrad 

Ernest A. Conrad's  greatest contribution to the preservation field was the development of environmental guidelines for engineers who work on museums, libraries and archives. For over 20 years, Mr. Conrad has focused on environmental issues. He is president of Conrad Engineers and Past Founder of Landmark Facilities Group, Inc., an engineering firm specializing in environmental systems for museums, libraries, archives and historic facilities. A licensed mechanical engineer in several states, Mr. Conrad holds a bachelor's degree in civil engineering and a master's in environmental engineering from Drexel University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. For more information visit his web site Landmark Facilities Group, Inc.
 
The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers, Inc. (ASHRAE) publishes standards in the areas of HVAC and refrigeration. Mr. Conrad recently co-authored the ASHRAE Applications Handbook "Chapter 20: Museums, Libraries and Archives." For the first time, there are guidelines specific to our needs in the engineering literature. Mr. Conrad has studied environments and designed special climate control systems throughout the United States for clients as well-known as the National Gallery of Art, Library of Congress, The Frick Collection, Getty Conservation Institute, The Pierpont Morgan Library, National Trust for Historic Preservation, and National Park Service. He has a special interest in house museums and how climate affects structures and collections housed within those structures. For more information, visit his website.
Ernest Conrad teaches our MS211 Preservation Environments course which starts November 6, 2017.  Join Mr. Conrad for this in depth look at interior environments and how they affect our collections. 
Early Bird Discounts Available for Full Length Courses
 
An Early Bird Discount is available for anyone who signs up for a full length course from museumclasses.org 30 days prior to the start of that course.  
 
Sign up for a full length course up to 30 days prior to its start and save $100.00!
 
For our course list or to sign up: http://www.collectioncare.org/course-list  
 
To take advantage of this discount, you must enter coupon code EARLYBIRD at checkout at collectioncare.org

The Early Bird Discount deadline for November courses is October 7, 2017 
Featured Course: The Volunteer Handbook

Volunteers should be considered unpaid staff and, like a staff handbook, a
strong volunteer organization should have a volunteer handbook. This course goes beyond understanding various aspects of a volunteer program to putting the volunteer program to paper. Create an outline and some draft text for a handbook providing consistency within the volunteers as well a legal support if ever needed. 
 
If you have volunteers or are thinking about starting a volunteer program, join Karin Hostetter
for MS259 The Volunteer Handbook  beginning November 6, 2017.
October 2017 Courses
 
October 16 to November 10, 2017  NEW DATES! 
Instructor:  Victoria Montana Ryan
Description:
Caring for paintings requires some knowledge of the component structure of paintings and the reaction of those components to both natural and man-made environments. This course looks at the painting structure, the effects of damaging environments, and proposes simple steps for basic care. Topics include the structure of paintings, proper condition reporting with standard damage vocabulary, and basic care and handling including environments, storage, and transport. The course is intended to help those entrusted with the care of paintings in any environment.
 
October 16 to 20, 2017
Instructor:  Diana Komejan
Description:
As we march boldly toward the 22nd century, artifact collecting includes that most fragile of materials - plastic. Not only is it in our collections, but it is used to house our collections, too. What problems have you seen? What problems have others seen? What materials are best? What can we, as caretakers, do to minimize long-term damage? Join Diana in this mini-course for discussing care and deterioration of plastics. Bring any questions you have about plastics in your museum.
 
October 23 to 27, 2017
Instructor: Karin Hostetter
Description:
What do you do with collection objects that no longer belong in the scientific collection but are too good to throw out? What do you do with the donations that just don't quite 'fit?' Use them in education collections. Their value as educational objects for the public is immeasurable.
November 2017 Courses
 
November 6 to 10, 2017
Instructor:  Terri Schindel
Description:
Disaster planning is overwhelming. Where do you start? Talk to Terri about how to get going. Use her checklist to determine your level of preparedness. What do you already have in place? Are you somewhat prepared? What can you do next? Help clarify your current state of readiness and develop future steps to improve it.
 
November 6 to 10, 2017
Instructor:  Peggy Schaller
Description:
The heart of every museum is its collection. A mission statement is critical to preserving that collection. Participants in The Mission Statement will discuss their mission statements and whether they really make a difference. Peggy has seen and heard it all as a consultant to small and large museums. She will help you figure out ways to make your mission statement work for you.
 
November 6 to December 15, 2017
Instructor: Ernest Conrad
Description:
The museum's brick exterior wall is crumbling. The powder coated metal storage shelves have active rust under the foam padding. Objects in fur storage are covered in mold. It is raining in the exhibit hall. This is the damage that occurs to museum buildings or collection when staff do not understand preservation environments. Preservation Environments is essential knowledge for any collecting institution. Everyone should understand how humidity and temperature are controlled by a building and its mechanical system. For museum staff considering a new building - and any institution planning to expand or rebuild an existing one - Preservation Environments provide important information for calculating whether the proposed improvements will actually improve the environmental control of your protective enclosure. Participants learn the advantages and disadvantages of numerous methods of temperature and humidity control. Preservation Environments does not try to turn museum professionals into engineers. Rather, it arms them with the knowledge they need to work with engineers and maintenance professionals. And helps explain why damaged occurred and how to keep it from happening again.
 
November 6 to December 6, 2017
Instructor:  Ann Coppinger
Description:
Caring for textiles demands an understanding of how and why they deteriorate. This course offers a simplified explanation of the origin and structure of textile fibers as well as the finished textile object; be it either a piece of whole cloth or a finished garment. Care of Textiles teaches students to identify fibers, fabric structures and finishes, write condition reports, and understand the agents of deterioration that are harmful to various fabrics both in storage on exhibit. Topics include preparing textiles for storage and exhibit, the use of archival materials with textiles, and three dimensional supports.
 
November 6 to December 6, 2017
Instructor:  Peggy Schaller
Description:
Collection inventories are vital to collection management and security. You need to know what is in your collection to be able to manage it well. This means regular inventories must occur. But knowing you must do them and actually having the time and manpower to complete an inventory are two different things. Collection Inventories discusses everything you ever wanted to know about collection inventories. From how to set one up to how to conduct an inventory. Other topics include what to look for during an inventory and how to reconcile the information.
 
November 6 to December 15, 2017
Instructor:  Karin Hostetter
Description:
Volunteers should be considered unpaid staff and, like a staff handbook, a strong volunteer organization should have a volunteer handbook. This course goes beyond understanding various aspects of a volunteer program to putting the volunteer program to paper. Create an outline and some draft text for a handbook providing consistency within the volunteers as well a legal support if ever needed.
Conferences and Meetings
 
2017   
Mid-Atlantic Association of Museums,
Pittsburgh, PA
October 19-21, 2017
 
New England Museum Association, North Falmouth, MA 
October 25-27, 2017
 
Kansas Museums Association, Manhattan, KS
November 1-3, 2017
 
Smithsonian Institution and Office of Protection Services
National Conference on Cultural Property Protection, Chicago, IL
November 1-3, 2017

National Association for Interpretation, Spokane, Washington
November 14-18, 2017
 
2018  
California Association of Museums, Palm Springs, CA
February 5-7, 2018
 
Museums Association New York, Rochester, NY
April 8-10, 2018
 
Colorado-Wyoming Association of Museums, Cheyenne, WY
April 12-15, 2018
 
Texas Association of Museums, Houston, TX
April 18-21, 2018
 
Museum Store Association, Washington, DC
April 27 to 30, 2018
 
American Alliance of Museums, Phoenix, AZ
May 6-9, 2018
   
AAMG & UMAC Conference 2018, Miami, FL
June 21-24, 2018
 
 
Association of Midwest Museums, Chicago, IL
July 18-21, 2018

 
   
Society of American Archivists, Washington, DC
August 12-18, 2018
 
Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections, Dunedin, New Zealand
August 25-September 2, 2018 
 
Mountain-Plains Museums Association, Billings, MT
September 11-September 15, 2018
 
Oklahoma Museums Association, Edmond, OK
September 19-21, 2018
 
 
American Association of State and Local History 
TBA 
 
Southeastern Museums Conference, 2018 Annual Meeting, Jackson, MS
October 8-10, 2018
 
 
International Foundation for Cultural Property Protection, Hearst Castle in San Simeon, CA
October 13-17, 2018 
 
Western Museums Association, Tacoma, WA
October 21-24, 2018 
 
New England Museum Association, Stamford, CT
November 7-9, 2018
 
National Association for Interpretation,  
New Orleans, LA
November 27-December 1, 2018
 
2019  
National Association for Interpretation, Denver, Colorado
November 12-16, 2019

2020
National Association for Interpretation,
Saint Augustine, FL
November 10-14, 2020
 


Submissions and Comments
How to submit an article or upcoming workshops for inclusion in the Newsletter:  
If you would like to submit an article, notice of an organizational meeting or upcoming workshop for an upcoming Collections Caretaker Newsletter, send your submission to peggy@collectioncare.org .  
 
We are always looking for contributions to this newsletter. Submission deadline is the 10th of each month. 
 
Have a comment or suggestion?   
 
Northern States Conservation Center (NSCC) provides training, collection care, preservation and conservation treatment services. NSCC offers online museum studies classes at   museumclasses.org in Collections Management & Care, Museum Administration & Management, Exhibit Practices and Museum Facilities Management.
 
Sincerely,
Helen Alten, Director
Peggy Schaller, Publications Manager