FALL 2017
GCI News
Project Updates
Workshop on Sustainable Collection Preservation

As part of its Managing Collection Environments Initiative, the GCI launched a nine-month course, Preserving Collections in the Age of Sustainability. The course began in March 2017 with a ten-week online phase, during which participants gathered information from their work environments, allowing them to explore existing resources, identify gaps, and strengthen collaborations within their institutions. The online phase also provided course readings and materials to enable the workshop to focus on participation and the application of knowledge.

Attendees at the Managing Collection Environments workshop

This phase was followed by an intensive two-week workshop in June, organized with the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia. The workshop—attended by eighteen midcareer professionals from Australia, Brazil, Canada, Ireland, Sweden, and the United States—presented a nuanced, holistic approach to collection preservation that focused as much on effective analysis of the situation as on the solutions for environmental strategies that support access and preservation in an economic and environmentally responsible way. A novel aspect of the workshop was its emphasis on the interpersonal skills and collaboration necessary to deal with the complex, multifaceted, and diverse issues related to sustainable collection preservation. Sessions on negotiation, leadership, and communication, with technical content including analysis of climate data, risk assessment, and dimensional responses of objects to climate, also featured case studies and the relevance of these topics to the participants’ own institutions.

On the final day, participants presented action plans for applying workshop information to their own institutions. These provided a springboard for the next phase of the course—a period of distance mentoring. Course instructors have become mentors, supporting and guiding the participants toward the goals of their action plans.