28 November 2016

Report back: Workshop on Preventative Conservation

A workshop facilitated by the Rijksmuseam in Amsterdam and the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands in collaboration with the South African Museums Association (SAMA) was recently held in Pretoria from 7-8 November 2016. Based on a shared sense of history, the focus of the two day workshop was to share information and experiences regarding preventative conservation based on theory and practice.

The workshop had a heavy focus on moving and handling of collections due to the large collaborative project in the Netherlands where a new storage facility is being built. So there is a mass organisational undertaking to move each of the three collections to this new facility.

One of the important preservation facts I took away from the workshop, was the existence of microclimates. Transfer of temperature and humidity can easily happen when objects touch walls and there is not enough space for air circulation. This was demonstrated through the use of gadgets and tools. This made me very aware of the impact that environmental factors had on objects only 15cm apart.

This made me think of the collections at SAHA which also has a number of items and artefacts which are comprised of a variety of materials. Specifically relating to the SAHA Ephemera Collection AL2540 and the Constitution Hill Trust Collection AL3295. In the Constitution Hill Trust there is a large number of metal objects. The workshop was well attended by a combination of South African museum curators and professionals, archivists and collections specialists. The attendants were mostly from Gauteng but some came from Durban, Bloemfontein, and North West. According to the organisers there was huge demand and at least 80 people wished to attend but the workshops were limited to 30 attendees. It was very fortunate that a member of SAHA staff was able to represent SAHA at this workshop. 


Team from Rijks Museum who hosted the workshop