Conservation Matters

My name is George Schwartz. I’m a professional conservator working in Boca Raton, Florida. I have a full-service Studio and provide treatment services, consult, write, teach and think a lot about the preservation, conservation and restoration of Cultural Property.

I write about conservation matters, because when we consider our Heritage and Cultural Property, conservation matters!

It would be difficult to state it more succinctly than Phillip Long did:

“Our heritage is all we know of ourselves,
what we preserve of it, our only record.
That record is our beacon in the darkness of time,
the light that guides our steps.
Conservation is the means by which we preserve it.
…It is a commitment not to the past,
but to the future.”

By now most of us have read the HHI Report. The Survey reveals widespread problems in our Nation’s Public Institutions which are entrusted to care and preserve our Cultural Heritage.

The Report paints a sad picture of the entire system of how the Preservation and the Conservation of our National Heritage is managed. Irreplaceable treasures of history and culture continue to deteriorate despite the best efforts of many dedicated professionals.

I don’t claim to have foolproof solutions to this serious problem, but I do have the vantage point of being somewhat outside the System and this provides me with a different even if not necessarily a better perspective.

In these pages I will be posting some new ideas, proposed solutions and some sterilized extracts of my correspondence with some of the leaders in the field of Conservation and colleagues. Sterilized, because I scrupulously respect the confidentiality of private correspondence and would never knowingly compromise confidences by being indiscreet.

I hope to generate enough controversy to get readers thinking and more importantly, acting and to chime in regarding how we can improve the state of collections in the Public Trust and in the hands of private collectors. I’m looking for comments especially from people with views opposing to mine, so that together we can find a way to truly make a difference.

Thanks for reading!


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Posted on:
June 11th, 2009

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