|| CollAsia 2010 course concludes
The three-week CollAsia 2010 course on the 'Conservation of Southeast Asian Collections' in Storage concluded in Manila on 31 May.
This was the third international course organized in the framework of the CollAsia 2010 programme. Its aim was to build capacity among Southeast Asian professionals working in museums, libraries and archives to implement storage strategies for their collections. This was accomplished through the study of threats to collections in storage, conceptual and practical tools, storage materials and techniques, as well as problem-solving approaches to relevant needs in the region.
The course team was composed of senior staff members of ICCROM, SEAMEO-SPAFA, the National Museum of the Philippines and the University of Santo Tomas, as well as senior professionals from the National Museum Institute of India, AusHeritage, the National Museum of Ethnology in Leiden, the Centro Nacional de Conservación y Restauro of Chile, and guest lecturers from other institutions.
The twenty participants came from Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam.
Introductory session - following a brief overview, the course began by exploring and activating the capacity of the course team and the participants to work together in an interactive and dynamic way. Special attention was paid to devising ways to overcome linguistic challenges, considering that English was not the first language of most people taking part.
Unit one - What do museums store and why do they store it?
The module began by exploring the diversity of materials and values that are contained in objects and collections. The importance of institutional mandates for assigning significance to particular objects and collections was underlined. The principles and skills necessary for meaningful observation and documentation, as well as discussion with colleagues about different types of objects, were practiced. The use of existing documentation, and the relationship between the labelling and locating of objects, was discussed. Participants were encouraged to think about storage as an area of responsibility and a function of an institution, not only as a static physical space.
Unit two - Knowing your storage
This module aimed at strengthening the understanding of the risks facing collections and the fragility of collections in their environment. After a general overview, special attention was given to the themes of understanding built spaces, of dynamics of dust in storage areas, of bio-deterioration, and of monitoring the storage within an institution. This module also focused on developing the skills of the participants in applying scientific methods in their work. The module included a one-day practice assessment at a heritage institution.
Unit three - Supporting objects, storing collections
This module addressed skills and concepts necessary for devising practical solutions for the storage needs of different types of objects and collections. The principles and practice of handling objects were addressed, as well as alternatives for effective and safe storage of collections. Time and attention were given to designing, executing and discussing supports, containers and furniture. The qualities, strengths and weaknesses of traditional containers from the Philippines (and Southeast Asia) were discussed, as a basis of selection between different material options. The module included a visit and presentation from colleagues in the Philippines working on the development of locally-produced conservation quality paper.
Unit four - Looking ahead
The final module of the course addressed issues of long-term planning on an institutional level. One day was dedicated to the Museum Emergency Preparedness (MEP) programme at the National Museum of the Philippines. The second day discussed principles and examples of long term planning for storage management. The final day was dedicated to drawing conclusions, discussing ideas for the future and evaluating the course.
ICCROM extend its warmest thanks to its partners SEAMEO-SPAFA, the National Museum of the Philippines, the University of Santo Tomas and the Getty Foundation. We are also grateful to the following institutions for their participation and support:
- Archdiocesan Archives of Manila
- Asian Development Bank
- Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas
- Cottage Industry Technology Center
- GSIS Museum
- House of Representatives of the Republic of the Philippines
- Intramuros Administration
- Jorge B. Vargas Filipiniana Museum and Library
- La Salle University Museum
- Lopez Memorial Foundation Museum and Library
- Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manila
- Museo ng Kalinangang Pilipino
- San Agustin Church and Museum
Member States represented: Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Chile, India, Malaysia, Netherlands, Philippines, Thailand, Viet Nam
24 November, 2007