Over the course of its 13-year history, the Getty Conservation Institute has undertaken a number of collaborative projects with national and regional conservation organizations in Latin America. One of these projects, a training course entitled "Conservación preventiva: Colecciones del museo y su medio ambiente," was offered in November 1995 in cooperation with Mexico's Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia (INAH).
Seeking effective and sustainable means to contribute to the development of preventive conservation training and practice in the region, the GCI last year invited representatives of seven Latin American training institutions to discuss the possibility of collaborating on the development of preventive conservation training in the region. When they met in Los Angeles from October 13 to 17, 1997, the training institutions and the GCI agreed to formalize the partnership as the Latin American Consortium for Preventive Conservation Training.
During the meeting, the goals, interests, and working strategies were defined by representatives of each institution. The following areas, which were identified as needing additional training support, were selected for the work of the consortium:
- The museum building and its effect on the collection environment
- Emergency planning and preparedness
- Pollution and its effect on museum collections
- Pest management
- Exhibition, storage, and transport
- Technician training
Development of training in these areas will be carried out by working groups composed of several institutions with particular interest or experience in the topic. Each working group will be overseen by one member institution, which will coordinate the work of the group. Each group will collaborate on the development of training curricula and/or didactic materials. In the coming year, the working groups will further refine their work plans and begin pooling existing information and materials. As a result of this exchange and the development of regional teaching resources, the consortium will function as an important network of preventive conservation training specialists.
Members of the consortium will use the Internet as the primary communications link, creating an electronic community of educators. A central Web site designed to support and advance the goals of this project will facilitate exchange among the participating institutions.
Through its experience in preventive conservation—which includes research on controlling the museum environment, as well as training—the GCI will contribute to a number of consortium projects. The curricula and teaching materials of the GCI courses in preventive conservation will serve as a resource for the working groups; it is also expected that consortium members will create teaching materials, develop new educational strategies, and use new media. The GCI will take an active role in exploring new teaching strategies and technologies with the consortium and will provide opportunities for consortium members to meet on a regular basis.
All the consortium members believe that a network of teaching institutions with pooled resources is an important model for conservation education. This type of collaborative network, formed with specific goals in mind, will bring about significant advancements for the training of the conservator of the 21st century.
The Latin American Consortium for Preventive Conservation Training includes the following institutions:
- Centro de Conservação e Restauração Bens Culturais Móveis (CECOR), Brazil
- Centro Nacional de Conservación y Restauración, Chile
- Escuela de Arte, Pontificia Universidad Católica, Chile
- Instituto Colombiano de Cultura (COLCULTURA), Colombia
- Fundación Universidad Externado, Colombia
- Centro Nacional de Conservación, Restauración y Museología, Cuba
- Escuela Nacional de Conservación, Restauración, y Museografía (INAH), Mexico
- The Getty Conservation Institute, United States