Thursday, 7 April 2016

CHANGING HANDS

CONSERVATION TIPS AND TRICKS

BY: NIKITA JOHNSTON

While initially you may think this post is about object handling, something near and dear to every conservator and collection manager's heart (I mean literally, you keep that object close to your heart and do not drop it!!!), this post is actually about  the transference of professional knowledge.

Yep that's exactly how my head feels! Source

As those of us graduating are moving on professionally, and while others are taking on new positions as interns over the summer months, the sharing of professional knowledge will be an important aspect of learning the ins and outs of our new roles. If we are lucky the institutions we join will provide job training, professional development, or have a succession plan in place. For many of us this might not be the case, but luckily through the program we have had the opportunity to develop a network of educators, peers, and professionals who we can reach out to with questions, or for advice.

It really is all about networking! Source

Within the field of conservation a succession plan is something that should naturally result from properly documenting all treatments and maintaining records of any preventive conservation programs such as environmental monitoring, cleaning schedules, and integrated pest management programs. Being transparent in the records we create and manage not only promotes professional accountability but ensures that successive conservators and caretakers for our collections will understand not only what we have done, but also why we did it.

The ever important question...WHY? Source

Most of us probably know someone at a museum that we have worked or volunteered at who seems to know almost everything about the collections, down to the smallest fact or detail. Without a succession plan in place, their knowledge and expertise could very easily disappear, and be lost to successive generations. Succession planning ensures that knowledge and skills are shared, in the hopes of limiting knowledge loss. The Museum Association has a number of resources available that can assist in developing a succession plan.


As we take on new roles and move on into our professional careers, succession planning, knowledge sharing and transference is something we should all be thinking about, not only for our own growth and development but for those individuals that will eventually come to replace us as well. Succession plans are most successful when they include everyone in the institution and become part of the day to day culture of the organization. So keep excellent notes and records, and share the knowledge and experience you have with others, and have them share their knowledge in return. 

Good luck to everyone doing internships this summer and to all those who are graduating. Thanks to all the readers and the Musings team! Signing off from my final post.

You all ROCK! Source

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