New England Regional Art Museum (NERAM), Armidale
Conservation of the collections at the New England Regional Art Museum (NERAM) has taken a huge leap forward over the past 12 months with the launch of the Adopt an Artwork Fundraising Campaign, and the opening of the Operation Preservation exhibition, curated by paper conservator and NERAM Registrar, Jennifer Taylor. With matched funding from the Commonwealth Government through Creative Partnerships Australia and the Stronger Communities Program along with the dedicated support of community members and donors, a conservation fund has been established to facilitate immediate treatments to works in the collections identified with priority need.
The Operation Preservation exhibition provides visitors to the museum with a unique view of collection items and explores the complexity of collection management and preventive conservation. In April this year, in partnership with International Conservation Services, a pilot Conservation Workshop was held. Adam Godijn from ICS, Jennifer O’Connell (graduate of the Grimwade Centre) and Jennifer Taylor (Neram) hosted a Donor Event for those supporting the Adopt an Artwork Campaign. The event included a public lecture from Julian Bickersteth (ICS). Plans are underway for the 2017 Conservation Workshop. The Operation Preservation exhibition runs until September 2016.
Jennifer Taylor, Registrar
International Conservation Services
Julian Bickersteth, Arek Werstak and Katy Ross were recently involved in the conservation of the Rocky Hill War Memorial Honour Roll, which was unveiled in April at the Rocky Hill Memorial tower by NSW Minister for Veterans Affairs, David Elliott, and Goulburn’s Deputy Mayor, Bob Kirk.
Skye Firth and Gail Hamilton in our Textiles Conservation Team have been piecing together an important flag from WWI. The ‘Birdwood Flag’ is currently in thousands of pieces and is being pieced back together like a giant jigsaw puzzle.
Karina Acton recently lead our Objects and Outdoor Heritage team in the conservation of the Margel Hinder sculpture in the RBA forecourt at Martin Place.
Katy Ross has been working on updating a Council memorials and plaques database, which includes condition surveys and maintenance recommendations. She has also visited Darwin to undertake a condition survey of a concrete cairn.
Nick Flood recently designed, oversaw fabrication and installed a display case for a silver object belonging to a private client. The display case incorporated the use of silica gel as a desiccant and Corrosion Intercept open cell foam as an absorbent. Nick is also investigating deterioration present on a Donald Judd aluminium and acrylic artwork.
Katie Wood and Wendi Powell in our Paper Conservation Team have been busy carrying out tape removals and other repairs to two large collections of registers and town plans. Katie Wood and Fiona Tennant recently completed a Preservation Needs Assessment for the Australian Rugby Union. And in May, Katie, Fiona, Claire Heasman and Jennifer O’Connell will be undertaking a comprehensive collection survey at Maitland Regional Art Gallery.
Fiona Tennant, Meredith Lynch-Underwood and Claire Heasman are currently working with the National Trust of NSW on cleaning of their collection at the National Trust Centre.
Oliver Hull and Adam Godijn are currently preparing to install a historic, topographical map at Sydney Water. Oliver has also recently completed stabilisation of a fan light from Sydney Living Museum’s Subiaco House, and is about to commence work on a badly damaged Regency Torchere, replacing close to 90% of its previously removed, decorative finish.
Our Paintings Team, Matteo Volonté and Claire Heasman,recently completed work on a fantastic portrait of former Governor-General, Quentin Bryce. They’ve also been working on two paintings by Rupert Bunny and one by William C. Pigeunit.
In April we farewelled Bronwyn Tulloh. She leaves us to commence a fellowship at the NGV. We’re all very excited for her.
We have recently welcomed James Kleppen to ICS. James will be working as our Conservation Projects Manager in the Objects and Outdoor Heritage team.
Preservation Australia and Conservation Resources
Kay Söderlund has been busy delivering disaster workshops in regional NSW, one was in Lithgow and the other was Shoalhaven. Kay recently worked on an unusual object that was found in the Frazer Fountain, Hyde Park. The document was a letter describing a dispute between workers and the Council in the 1930’s which had been rolled up inside a newspaper and squeezed into a glass bottle. The document had glass shards and cork fragments throughout when it arrived at the studio. A section of the letter was so deteriorated that it had adhered to the newspaper and required facing and consolidation for treatment.
Tegan Anthes presented a workshop to the Port Macquarie Museum and other local museums on the “Care and handling of Photographs”. This was in addition to our regular schedule of workshops at the studio in April. Tegan is continuing the consulting work with Rebecca Jones Museum Services at the ANZAC Memorial in Hyde Park.
Beate Yule completed a large project on the treatment of two glass Honour Boards for Sydney Trains. The Honour Boards had reverse painting on glass that was severely deteriorated, much of the paint layer had become detached and had accumulated along the bottom edge of the frame. The paint layer was consolidated and paint flakes were carefully re-positioned where possible. To create a coherent picture a rag mat board was painted and gilded to fill in the areas of loss.
Workshops and Conferences
Tegan attended the Plastics Associated with Photographic Materials Workshop and Symposium in Tucson, Arizona in March. This included a one day workshop on negatives and a separate one day workshop on cleaning face mounted photographs. Both these days were practical and full of experimentation and discussions on which techniques work well.
Kay is heading off to the combined AIC and CAC conference in Montreal. The theme this year is Disaster Preparation.