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

Why is Risk Mitigation Everyone's Business?
Instructor Spotlight
Featured Course
October 2017 Online Courses
November 2017 Online Courses
Conferences and Meetings
Why is Risk Mitigation Everyone's Business?
By Bill Anderson, Art Guard
 
I recently spoke with a banker from a firm that is very active in art financing; I've always thought the bank would have enough skin in the game to be concerned about theft. Accordingly, they would encourage their clients to adopt a more aggressive approach to protecting their collections, especially when the works still hanging in their homes are being leveraged. I reminded him that the big art lenders (banks) have been paying lip service to risk mitigation for as long as we've been acquainted, but I saw no demonstrative moves to adopt a holistic approach to their client relationships.


His answer might not surprise you, especially if you're an insurer. As long as the pieces are adequately insured, he really had no concerns. In his view, if the artwork is stolen, he remains whole.
 
Insurers rightly squirm at the mention of this situation, because they have little recourse. In a highly competitive underwriting market, where client retention often comes down to pricing, the insurer is left holding the bag on a loss. Nonetheless, the insurer cannot mandate the collector take protective measures.
 
When this issue of competitive pricing is the bottom line, it casts a shadow on the concerns of anyone involved in the market. It suggests that the loss of a valuable piece of art is purely a financial issue.
 
Yet we know this is not the case. Artworks are inspired and invaluable creations. Why do we act in a way that makes owning, displaying and insuring art a purely monetary transaction?
 
Any art professional who comes in contact with a collector, gallery, or museum must be mindful of the full implication of a loss resulting from lack of care. She or he must bring that to the collector's or institution's attention. Otherwise, the art world would appear to be a front-end game where the sum total is buying and selling. If that is not the case, then everyone should be concerned with risk management and mitigating loss, regardless of their functional role in the sector.
 
Reprinted with permission from Art Guard. Originally posted March 30, 2017.
Instructor Spotlight:
Susan Near 

Susan Near has recently retired (Aug 2017) as the Development & Marketing Officer at the Montana Historical Society in Helena. Prior positions at the Historical Society include director of museum services (1989-2007), curator of collections (1984-1989), and registrar (1982-1984). She also worked as collections research specialist at the Valley Forge Historical Society in Pennsylvania. She has been curator for more than 20 major exhibitions ranging from western art to decorative arts, and has conducted material culture research covering a broad range of collections. Near co-authored Montana's State Capitol: The People's House, Montana Historical Society Press, 2002. Near has extensive administrative experience especially in grant-writing, heritage tourism, educational outreach, public relations, marketing, planning for new museum construction, and project and event management. She is an accreditation visiting committee member for the American Association of Museums, has conducted peer reviews for the Museums Assessment Program, and has reviewed and served on grants panels for the Institute for Museum and Library Services and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Ms. Near is a graduate of the Museum Studies Program at the University of Delaware and the Getty's Museum Management Institute.
 

Susan Near teaches our MS109 Museum Management course which starts October 2, 2017.  Join Sue for this in depth look at what goes into running a Museum. 
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: Care of Paintings

Caring for paintings requires some knowledge of the component structure of
http://www.publicdomainpictures.net 
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.

Join
Victoria Montanan-Ryan for MS227 Care of Paintings to learn more about your paintings and their care beginning October 16, 2017.
October 2017 Courses
 
October 2 to November 3, 2017
Instructor:  Sue Near
Description:
Sound business practices are critical for a museum to fulfill its mission. Sounds like vegetables, right? Museum management is complex. A museum exists to preserve collections and educate, but it is also an institution that must employ sound business practices while being accountable to the public as a non-profit organization. Instructor Sue Near teaches participants how to administer a successful museum efficiently and effectively. Participants will engage in discussions about the changing cultural climate and its effect on museum operations.
 
October 2 to November 10, 2017
Instructor:  Kimberly Kenney
Description:
Acquiring and holding collections impose specific legal, ethical and professional obligations. Museums must ensure proper management, preservation and use of their collections. A well-crafted collections management policy is key to collections stewardship. Collections Management Policies for Museums and Related Institutions helps participants develop policies that meet professional and legal standards for collections management. Collections Management Policies for Museums and Related Institutions teaches the practical skills and knowledge needed to write and implement such a policy. The course covers the essential components and issues a policy should address. It also highlights the role of the policy in carrying out a museum's mission and guiding stewardship decisions. Participants are expected to draft collections management policies.
 
October 2 to November 10, 2017
Instructor:  Tom Bennett
Description:
Sprucing up your exhibits with safe, effective, inexpensive mounts can be easier and more fun than you thought. With a few tools, good technique and a bit of practice, you will be well on the way to presenting your objects in their most interesting light, with an eye on long-term safety and security. Design and Construction of Exhibit Mounts presents the basics of mountmaking for the small to medium-sized museum including tools, techniques and materials. Be prepared to construct mounts during the course. Students will be sent a list of materials and tools to acquire before the course commences. Come along and exercise your creative side while doing the collection a world of good.
 
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  
International Foundation for Cultural Property Protection, New Haven, CT
September 17-20, 2017

Western Museums Association, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
September 20-23, 2017
  

Mountain-Plains Museums Association, Denver, CO
October 15-19, 2017

New England Museum Association, 2017 Annual Conference, North Falmouth, MA
October 25-27, 2017

Kansas Museums Association, Manhattan, KS
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
 
Society of American Archivists, 2018 Annual Meeting, Washington, DC
August 12-18, 2018

 
 
Western Museums Association, Tacoma, WA
Dates TBA  
 
Mountain-Plains Museums Association, Billings, MT
September 11-September 15, 2018
 
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 
 
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