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Thursday, May 29 • 4:00pm - 4:30pm
(Collection Care Session) The Ossabaw Island Workshops – Preventive conservation training in a real life setting

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Ossabaw Island, GA is a near-wilderness, 26,000 acre island. The only access is by private boat. Among the five residents is the 90-year-old former owner, who retained lifetime residency in the Main House after she donated the island to the State of Georgia. Since 2010 four workshops on preventive conservation have been held on the island, three of which have been funded by FAIC through an NEH grant; the Ossabaw Island Foundation has also given significant support for the workshops.

The goal of these workshops is to train conservation students in the precepts of preventive conservation and historic housekeeping. The workshops have used the Main House as the classroom and laboratory, with students studying the collections and conditions in the house. Since the Main House is not a house museum, the workshops have given over 20 participants (both students and instructors) an opportunity to develop and implement housekeeping plans in an historic but uncontrolled environment in a remote setting. The work requires flexibility and practical problem solving by both students and instructors.

In addition to training students, another goal of the workshops has been to train instructors. Three of the four workshops have been co-taught by “emerging professionals,” who synthesized their knowledge from graduate programs and developed teaching techniques to convey this knowledge of preventive conservation to students with much less experience. The instructors and the students share housing and cooking in another historic building on the island. As a result they develop a professional camaraderie, which deepens the learning experiences.

The proposed presentation will be a panel of past Ossabaw Island workshop participants discussing which principles and techniques of preventive conservation have – or have not -- been applicable in this setting. The Main House on Ossabaw Island is a historic house even though it may never be recognized as such by an official agency. These workshops have provided an unprecedented opportunity for intrepid conservators to learn about a collection and have input into the very beginnings of institutional conservation and preservation planning.

avatar for David Bayne

David Bayne

Conservator, NY State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation
Since 1992 David Bayne has been the Furniture Conservator for the New York State Bureau of Historic Sites located at the Peebles Island Resource Center in Waterford New York. David graduated from Reed College with a degree in Biology in 1976. For the next 10 years he worked as a timber... Read More →

Thursday May 29, 2014 4:00pm - 4:30pm PDT
Garden Room