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Friday, May 30 • 4:20pm - 4:40pm
(Exploring Sustainable Preservation Environments Session) Creating Sustainable Preservation Environments – Funding, Process, and Practice

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Over the last decade, the challenge of creating an appropriate preservation environment for cultural collections has been made even greater as collections professionals are increasingly faced with the need to balance environmental conditions against budgetary shortfalls and institutional sustainability efforts.  Even as energy expenditures on the environmental aspects of preventive conservation have come under closer scrutiny, recent research into materials and mechanical systems have highlighted opportunities and strategies to reconcile the seemingly disparate goals of energy efficiency and a quality preservation environment.  Started in 2009, the Sustaining Cultural Heritage Collections (SCHC) program of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) has become one of the key resources available for cultural institutions looking for funding and guidance to simultaneously improve the quality and the sustainability of their collections storage and display environments.  Since then, a number of grant recipients have used the funding to carefully analyze and dissect the operation of their preservation environments and the mechanical systems that create them, to build stronger working relationships with their facilities and maintenance colleagues, and to identify opportunities for improvement in both preservation and sustainability. 

This session will concentrate on exposing participants to three different perspectives of the grant program and its projects – those of the funding agency, the applicant institution, and an outside consultant – and will reflect on lessons learned and the larger impact of the work done over the last four years.  Laura Word, a Senior Program Officer in the Division of Preservation and Access, has been a strong advocate for the program since its inception, and will discuss NEH’s goals in offering the SCHC grants, features of strong proposals, and the impact the program has had on participating institutions.  Erin Blake, the Curator of Art & Special Collections at the Folger Shakespeare Library, and the Project Manager of the Folger’s successful 2009 and 2012 Planning and Implementation projects under the SCHC program, will discuss the Folger’s own experiences, from the inception of the project goals and plan, to building a project team with internal and external partners, to using the results of the project to advocate for and improve both preservation and energy consumption.  Jeremy Linden, a Senior Preservation Environment Specialist at the Image Permanence Institute, has served as the primary consultant on a number of SCHC projects, including the Folger’s, and will discuss the practice of environmental optimization and how improved preservation environments and reduced energy usage can be achieved in a variety of institutions and settings.

The aim of the session is to introduce participants to the possibilities and opportunities that exist for holistic environmental management in a changing climate, to provide them with greater knowledge on what it takes to craft a successful proposal to this unique program, and to reflect on what we have learned as a profession on the potential of marrying preservation and sustainability. 

Session Moderator(s)
avatar for Michael Henry

Michael Henry

Engineer/Architect, Watson & Henry Associates
Michael C. Henry, PE, AIA, is Principal Engineer/Architect with Watson & Henry Associates. He consults on sustainable environmental management and building envelope performance for preventive conservation of museum collections. He consults throughout the United States and in Cuba, Mexico, Brazil, Rwanda, Tunisia and India. Michael is Adjunct Professor of Architecture in the Graduate Program in Historic Preservation at the University of... Read More →

avatar for Jeremy Linden

Jeremy Linden

Senior Preservation Environment Specialist, Image Permanence Institute
Jeremy Linden joined IPI as a Preservation Environment Specialist in January 2010. He is primarily involved in the environmental management activities of IPI and works closely with colleagues in libraries, archives and museums on issues of material preservation, mechanical system performance, energy-savings and sustainability as a researcher, educator, and consultant. Prior to IPI, Jeremy was the Head of Archives and Special Collections at the... Read More →


Erin Blake

Curator of Art and Special Collections, Folger Shakespeare Library
Erin Blake is Curator of Art and Special Collections at the Folger Shakespeare Library, the world’s largest Shakespeare collection and a primary repository for European rare books, manuscripts, and art from the early modern period (1500–1750). She holds a Ph.D. in art history from Stanford University, and is a faculty member of Rare Book School at the University of Virginia, where she teaches “Introduction to the History of Book... Read More →

Laura Word

Senior Program Officer in the Division of Preservation and Access, National Endowment for the Humanities
Laura Word has been a Senior Program Officer in the Division of Preservation and Access at the National Endowment for the Humanities since September 1991, where she has been responsible for many of the division’s preservation grant programs, including Preservation Assistance Grants for Smaller Institutions, Education and Training, and Sustaining Cultural Heritage Collections.  Laura led the division’s efforts to develop a... Read More →

Friday May 30, 2014 4:20pm - 4:40pm

Attendees (92)