The Getty Conservation Institute—in partnership with ICCROM, the University of Venice, UNESCO—Bresce, Soprintendenza per i Beni Architettonici e Paesaggistici di Venezia e Laguna, and Soprintendenza Speciale per Patrimonio storico, artistico, etnoantropologico e per il Polo Museale della città di Venezia e dei comuni della gronda lagunare—organized the 16th International Course on Stone Conservation, which was held in Venice April 16–July 3, 2009.
The International Course on Stone Conservation, first held in 1976, has long served a vital educational role by offering an accessible and intensive format in which to learn theoretical and practical methodologies for stone conservation. It has also provided a constructive and intimate forum for professionals to meet and exchange ideas about the conservation practices and challenges in their home countries. Following a multiyear review period, the course was relaunched in 2009 with the GCI as a new partner.
An international group of recognized heritage conservation professionals instructed nineteen participants from a wide variety of disciplines, including conservators, architects, archaeologists, conservation scientists, and other professionals involved in stone conservation. The participants, from nineteen countries, had the opportunity through the ten-week course to meet other professionals and share experiences and issues—an important aspect of the course. They received instruction in the following topics and skills as they pertain to stone conservation:
- conservation theory and principles
- stone mineralogical and physical characteristics
- stone as a building material—use and construction
- mechanisms of decay—material and structural
- methods of recording for documentation and analysis
- methods of analytical investigation
- planning and selection of conservation interventions
- repair techniques
- maintenance and preventive conservation
- multidisciplinary teamwork in conservation
- developing and managing a stone conservation project
The course was conducted through pre-course reading, classroom lectures and discussions, group work, participant presentations, laboratory research, on-site work, and site visits. An emphasis was placed on applied methodologies and practical applications through problem-based learning. Participants were given ample opportunities to test the theories and lessons taught in the readings and in the classroom by applying them to actual conservation scenarios.
The GCI is committed to addressing the need for stone conservation training and to developing and disseminating reference and teaching materials related to stone conservation education. An interactive Web site was used for the duration of the course as a teaching resource, and it will continue to serve the needs of the participants after they return to their countries.