The first-ever Ask a Conservator Day was held on November 4, 2019. The date is a meaningful one for the field: on November 4, 1966, the Arno river flooded Florence, Italy, damaging priceless cultural heritage. However, in response to the catastrophe, incredible efforts were made—and are still being undertaken—to conserve the items impacted by the flood.
Ask a Conservator Day follows in the spirit of that international collaboration and exchange of knowledge. Participants celebrated the growth of the field since the flood, discussing a wide variety of topics, ranging from the sublime to the truly horrifying. More than 200 individuals and institutions in 15 countries participated, with even more people asking questions. We were thrilled to see so much international discussion and are grateful to colleagues at conservation organizations, including IIC, that encouraged participation.
Using the hashtag #AskAConservator on social media platforms, conserva-tors around the world answered questions about their training, work, and goals for the field. Many people engaged in written Q&A sessions, but some institutions livestreamed from their labs or discussed conservation topics with colleagues, creatively answering questions on the fly.
This event was organized by the American Institute for Conservation and the Foundation for Advancement in Conservation (AIC and FAIC). Our goal was to provide a holistic view of what conservation entails—everything from individual conservators working in private practice to multiple departments at large institutions. By creating a free, accessible opportunity for people to engage with conservators on social media, we hope to raise public awareness of conservation and encourage greater public advocacy for the preservation of cultural heritage.
Please explore the hashtag on your social media platforms to see this year’s posts. We hope that you’ll join us for Ask a Conservator Day next year!
The Foundation for Advancement in Conservation