On Nov. 12-14, the Indiana State Library Preservation Division hosted the 2021 Annual Conference for the Midwest Regional Conservation Guild. MRCG is a professional association of art conservation and restoration professionals with the purpose of bringing together those individuals in the Midwest region -and beyond – interested in the preservation of historic and artistic works and to promote fellowship and exchange of ideas on a professional level. The Guild hosts annual meetings each autumn in cities around the Midwest.
The conference took place over three days and featured two pre-conference events, three conservation lab tours, two museum receptions and 22 professional talks. Hosting the conference here at Indiana State Library greatly helped to promote the library’s preservation program. Over the three days, in-person attendance was over 80 people, with another 25 attending virtually. Many of the large collecting cultural institutions in the Midwest, such as museums, libraries and historical societies, sent their conservation staff and collection staff. Many conservators in private practice also attended as well.
The pre-conference programs included a program by American Institute for Conservation Emerging Conservation Professional Network Specialty Group. The program worked with students interested in attending graduate school, show how to prepare their portfolios for their applications and interviews. The conference also included a program, hosted by Bruker Inc. and the Indiana State Museum Conservation Lab, on the use of X-ray florescence analysis to study and analyze cultural and historic artifacts. As part of the conference attendees were also able to get tours of the conservation labs at the Indiana State Library, the Indiana Historical Society and the Indiana State Museum. We were also fortunate to be able to hold receptions and programs at both the Eiteljorg Museum and the Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library.
Professional talks are the core of any conference and the 2021 MRCG Conference featured 22 professional talks from conservators and other museum professionals on conservation topics from the conservation of paper collections to paintings and other cultural artifacts.
Read more about the Midwest Regional Conservation Guild here.
This blog post was written by the Indiana State Library Conservator Seth Irwin.