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Thursday, May 29 • 5:00pm - 5:30pm
(Collection Care Session) Conservation Assessment at Schloss Leopoldskron in Salzburg, Austria –  Promoting Sustainable Choices for the Adaptive Re-use of the Collection and the Site

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The Schloss Leopoldskron is a Rococo palace located near Salzburg, Austria. From the time of its construction as an estate of the Prince-Archbishop of Salzburg Leopold von Firmian and his family, the castle has passed through various owners, most notably Max Reinhardt. Today the Schloss serves as the setting for the Salzburg Global Seminar (SGS) and is a national historic monument of Austria.

Frequent changes in the palace’s ownership have led to the sale and loss of nearly all original art objects, except for outstanding Rococo stucco decoration and a number of paintings “set into” the walls. The current collection comprises paintings, works of art on paper, furniture, decorative objects, and outdoor sculpture acquired during the last 270 years. The condition of the objects has not been systematically documented. Only fragmentary information and photographic records were available.

The historic collection at the Schloss was the subject of an in-depth two-week survey conducted in the summer 2013 by four graduate students from the New York University and Winterthur/University of Delaware conservation programs and supervised by two faculty instructors. This experience provided the students with a unique training opportunity in conservation assessment and preservation planning. These collaborative projects strengthen the education and training of emerging conservators and should be modeled worldwide. The project was supported by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation and SGS.

The project started with developing survey forms that would allow condition assessments of the main building and a portion of the collections. This included written and photographic records to document the condition of five rooms and selected object types. Agents of deterioration and risk were assessed through a comprehensive look at IPM, storage, security, emergency plans, indoor environment, and the building envelope.

This challenging and highly collaborative project aimed to raise awareness of the Schloss’s conservation needs amongst the current owners, staff, and guests, while carefully balancing the building’s current function as a multi-use global meeting and event venue. Developing constructive recommendations associated with the need to maintain the daily functionality of this historic site was most challenging. The immediate steps required to ensure site sustainability should include the appointment of a collections manager and the establishment of guidelines for events and outside vendors. These would, for example, clearly outline restrictions, handling and use policies, supervision requirements, and regulations for the use of candles. A successful long-term adaptive reuse plan can maintain the heritage significance of the building and help ensure its survival. Sustainable economic strategies should acknowledge the proceeding decay of the artworks and therefore set priorities for conservation, for example, limit the light levels for sensitive works of art on paper and launch a conservation campaign for the most significant paintings.

The critical analysis of the collection and the site provided in this project will help the stakeholders at Schloss Leopoldskron to embrace the conflict between heritage conservation and adaptive reuse while promoting sustainable choices in collections care.

avatar for Hannelore Roemich

Hannelore Roemich

Scientist/Researcher, NYU Institute of Fine Arts, Conservation Center
Dr. Hannelore Roemich (PhD in Chemistry 1987, University in Heidelberg, Germany; Diploma in Chemistry 1984, University Dortmund, Germany) is Professor of Conservation Science to the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University (NYU) since January 2007. Dr. Roemich offers instruction... Read More →

Thursday May 29, 2014 5:00pm - 5:30pm PDT
Garden Room