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Preservation seeks to prevent works of art and artifacts from changing. In the face of our climate stepped in oxidizing gases and especially water vapor, preventing change is a tall order. If preservation limits itself to physical means, to the extent that is possible, and leaves chemical treatments to conservators, preservation can safely enroll help from allied fields and increase its efforts. Our environment has other threats, beyond the gaseous, and dangers from biological, geological, and energies, both radiant and kinetic all must be addressed. Wise use of housings, which can conform to their contents, and grip them gently, edge support systems, support spacers, and adhesion with non biological ethers of cellulose can provide the support that the artifacts require, while minimizing chemical issues. Enclosure systems that incorporate glass and plastic glazing materials and heat sealing foils and zeolite, sacrificial metal scavenging components are the other mainstay of adaptive preservation. Enclosures can be created that are suited to display, transportation, and storage that excludes as many change agents as possible. Packages can be created that allow for re-conditioning of their contents, without complete reopening, to avoid contamination, which reduces the impulse to try to create hermetic seals, which are near impossible and can lead to a false sense of security and problems. Since each preservation subject and each preservation setting is unique, materials and methods from an ever expanding catalogue must be thoughtfully combined to ensure that the greatest safety is afforded, in a process that is self critical and open to constant improvement. Preservation that draws materials and techniques from allied fields and relies primarily on physical means, recognizing the distinct needs of each item and each setting, can achieve the greatest possible benefit and can be said to be adaptive, which Darwin said was the key to survival.

Date:
Thursday, November 14, 2019
Time:
10:00am - 11:00am
Location:
4-370
Categories:
Presentations  

This event is co-sponsored by the Wunsch Conservation Lab - MIT LibrariesMIT List Visual Arts Center, the MIT Museum, and the Foundation for Advancement in Conservation

Hugh Phibbs received his undergraduate degree from Cornell and an MFA in painting from The University of Michigan. He has studied and worked in paper preservation for almost four decades; first, as a commercial framer in Washington, DC and then for thirty five years, in the Conservation Division of the National Gallery of Art. While, at the Gallery, he worked on improving hinging, and matting of art on paper and developed hinge-free support systems and sealed enclosure packages. He has given preservation workshops for the Smithsonian, the American Institute of Conservation, the Professional Picture Framers Association, the conservation programs at Winterthur and Buffalo State University, NYU, the Institut National du Patromoine, Paris and a number of museums and libraries, including: The Louvre, The Hermitage, The British Library, The Getty, The Metropolitan and MoMA, in New York, and, The Library of Congress. Since retiring from the Gallery, he has continued developing and testing housing designs, while teaching and writing for Picture Framing Magazine. He has also served as a consultant to Tru Vue, a division of Viracon and assisted Crescent Cardboard Corp.

 

Directions from MIT main entrance (77 Massachusetts Avenue) to building 4:

Walk East (parallel to the river) down the main corridor. Along the main corridor (Infinite Corridor), the succession of building numbers (you can tell from the room numbers) is 7, 3, 10, 4, 8. When you see rooms numbered 4-xxx, you are in building 4. Once you get to building 4, take the first corridor to the right.

When you find Building 4, go up the stairs to the third floor and follow the corridor to the right.

Room 4-370 is down the hall to the left all the way at the end.

Getting from Kendall Station to 4-370:

Standing on Main Street, walk west (away from the Longfellow Bridge) to the intersection of Main Street and Ames Street. Cross the intersection to enter Hockfield Court, between buildings 76 and 68. Walk towards building 56 and enter the door into Building 56.

Follow the corridor to the left, and continue all the way to the end until you reach a staircase to your left.

Turn left, then go up the stairs and through the short hall, where you will come to the main corridor (Infinite Corridor).

Make a right turn into the Infinite Corridor and follow it a short distance to Building 4, on the left.

When you find Building 4, go up the stairs to the third floor and follow the corridor to the right. Room 370 is all the way at the end.

 

Getting from the East Garage to 4-370:

Standing in the East Garage parking lot, with your back to the entrance on Main Street, walk all the way to the back of the lot and around Building 66 to the left. Turn right at the back of Building 66 and follow the path all the way to the entrance to Building 56; the various doors before that are most likely locked and unusable without an MIT student keycard. Enter the door into Building 56.

Follow the corridor to the left, and continue all the way to the end until you reach a staircase to your left.

Turn left, then go up the stairs and through the short hall, where you will come to the main corridor (Infinite Corridor).

Make a right turn into the Infinite Corridor and follow it a short distance to Building 4, on the left.

When you find Building 4, go up the stairs to the third floor and follow the corridor to the right. Room 370 is all the way at the end.​

 

Join WebEx meeting
Meeting number: 314 418 270
Meeting password: conservation
Join from a video conferencing system or application
Dial 314418270@mit.webex.com
You can also dial 173.243.2.68 and enter your meeting number.
 
 

Event Organizer

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Jana Dambrogio