Training for Museum Curators in Charge of Conservation

Practice protecting materials from pests

 Training for Museum Curators in Charge of Conservation has been conducted annually by the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo since 1984. The training is intended to teach a basic knowledge of conservation and conservation skills to individuals who are in charge of conserving cultural materials in museum. This year, the training was scheduled from 2 weeks starting on July 14, and the trainees were 31 curators in charge of conservation and administrators of cultural properties from throughout Japan.
 During the 2 weeks, trainees learn about key conditions for conservation, such as temperature and humidity, climate control, and pest control, as well as causes of and steps to deal with degradation of different types of cultural materials by experts from the Institute and other institutions. The current training session also included lectures on dealing with water damage and radiological contamination of cultural properties in the event of a disaster. Trainees also practiced the techniques they were taught by those experts. Thanks to the Kiyose Historical Museum, trainees were able to experience a study of the conditions at a museum first-hand in a “case study” of the museum. Trainees divided into groups of 8 and studied specific topics, and they subsequently presented their findings.
 Most of the trainees have extensive practical experience and they are aware of institutional and facility issues for conservation. This training emphasizes materials conservation from an academic standpoint. Many trainees are flustered by the gap between ideal conservation and the realities of that work, so they ask numerous questions and often solicit advice during every lecture. The intent is to have trainees recognize that gap between the ideal and reality and to think about what steps they should take, given that reality, to conserve materials. Conservation is, after all, the primary mission of a museum. Institute personnel seek to maintain close ties with trainees even after the training is finished and offer them advice and suggestions.
 Announcement of and applications for the training are usually handled by a relevant department of the Board of Education of each prefecture. Plans are to send out notifications about the next training session starting in February 2015.

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