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Saturday, May 31 • 3:30pm - 4:00pm
(Electronic Media Session) From Infancy to Adolescence) Growing an Electronic Media Conservation Program at the Denver Art Museum

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Since 2006, the staff at the Denver Art Museum have been working towards establishing a comprehensive program for the care of its variable media collections. This paper will focus on electronic media, namely the preservation of video, audio, digital image, and software-based artworks in the collection, the initiatives and accomplishments to date, and future goals, as well as how institutional support for the program was garnered.

The Denver Art Museum holds electronic media in both its fine arts and design collections. There are 64 video, audio, digital image, and software-based artworks in the fine art collections. The majority of these artworks were given to the museum by collectors, so few were acquired directly from galleries or artists. The works came to the museum beginning in the 1980s in a variety of formats and states of preservation.

In addition, there are 600+ electronic media works in the design collection. These came to the museum through an agreement made in 2007 with the American Institute for Graphic Arts. Since then, the DAM has been the repository for the award-winning entries made to the AIGA‘s annual competitions, dating back to 1984. The digital-based holdings are anticipated to grow considerably with each annual gift.

Rigorous steps towards establishing protocols began in 2010 for Blink!, the exhibition in which 55 electric and electronic media artworks were on display. Of those works, 38 were drawn from the museum’s collection. The experience of preparing the works for Blink! both reinforced the need for a systematic preservation program for this class of artworks and really moved the program forward.

Since Blink!, the museum has dedicated space and equipment to an electronic media preservation lab and a systematic migration program for video works in the fine arts collections has begun. Collaboration with a range of colleagues of varying expertise has been crucial in establishing protocols for documentation and preservation, including Non-Exclusive Licensing Agreements, review of media and determining formats for preservation and display, as well as developing relationships with outside vendors.

avatar for Sarah Melching-[PA]

Sarah Melching-[PA]

Silber Director of Conservation, Denver Art Museum
Sarah Melching received her M.A.C. in paper conservation from Queen's University. She also had additional training at the Library of Congress, National Gallery of Canada, and the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. From 1992-2007, Sarah was in private practice in the Pacific Northwest... Read More →
avatar for Kate Moomaw

Kate Moomaw

Conservator, Denver Art Museum
Kate Moomaw trained in objects and modern materials at the Conservation Center of the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University, graduating in 2007. She has completed a graduate internship at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam and postgraduate fellowships at the Tate in London... Read More →

Saturday May 31, 2014 3:30pm - 4:00pm PDT
Seacliff C-D