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Friday, May 30 • 9:30am - 10:00am
(Textiles Session) Working with limited resources: Improving storage conditions for archaeological textiles at University of Concepción

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This project focused on the conservation strategy for a collection of archaeological textiles at the University of Concepción, in Chile. This was the author’s dissertation topic for the degree of MPhil Textile Conservation at the University of Glasgow.
The collection was donated to the University in the 1970s: a total of 33 textiles including both large textiles and some small fragments. A rare example of poor documentation and storage conditions, there is no information regarding the textiles’ provenance, and it is likely that they come from various different sites, due to the different characteristics of each object. Chilean archaeologists are very thorough regarding their findings; the lack of information suggests the textiles were not found by archaeologists but rather someone entirely unfamiliar with the process that decided to donate these textiles to people who could care for them.

Graduates from the University carried out a project in 2010, ‘Placing value on the University of Concepción archaeological collection’ (Puesta en valor de la colección arqueológica Universidad de Concepción). The project was funded by the National Fund for Cultural and Art Development (Fondo Nacional para el Desarrollo Cultural y las Artes – FONDART), and focused on the fulfillment of minimal preventive conservation measures for the collection of archaeological objects in store at the University. However, the textile collection was not included in this initiative, as there were no specialists available at the time and funding was very limited.

In Chile, textile conservation is a small field. There is little information available regarding current measures to improve the condition of textiles by means of preventive conservation, and usually no funding comes to this kind of projects because they are not fully understood by the people who review them. There is also a lack of available materials for use in conservation, because the market is small and no local production exists for acid-free materials or appropriate equipment. This requires the use of alternative materials that have not yet been thoroughly tested, and the importing of materials and equipment from Europe, making conservation projects more expensive than in more developed countries.

The University is once more focusing its efforts on improving the collection’s condition, and the author has prepared a conservation strategy according to the needs of the textile objects as well as the needs of the University to ensure these objects are known, valued and learned from. Not only will the storage conditions be improved, but a new database system will be designed to include the textiles in the University’s inventory as well as to allow students, scholars and the general public to access the collection.
The project is being reviewed by the relevant funding institution (FONDART) and it is hoped to receive funding and begin work by winter 2014.

avatar for Francisca Lucero Juez

Francisca Lucero Juez

Andrew W. Mellon Fellow in Textile Conservation, Denver Art Museum
A fashion and textiles designer, Francisca obtained her first degree in Santiago de Chile at Universidad del Pacífico and became interested in the preservation of historical heritage during her professional placement at a private conservation studio, where she felt compelled to enhance... Read More →

Friday May 30, 2014 9:30am - 10:00am PDT
Seacliff A-B