Sunday, June 26, 2011

Opposing views: A Grand Piano in Miami and an Improved Estuary in Tampa

There have been a couple of photograph series in different Florida Bays that have intrigued me. Both of these series are contradictory when examining them from a conservationist (ecological) perspective. One is about wildlife and ecology preservation while the other involves polluting the bay. All the same I found both of them interesting from an anthropologist's point of view (what our culture values) and from a maritime archaeologist's point of view (what is abandoned in the water and what is deemed important during clean up of the water).

The most recent is an exhibit by South Florida Museum.

The images are a celebration of the work of the Tampa Bay Estuary Program. It is the 20th anniversary of this program and was founded a year after the Bay was determined an "estuary of national significance." The introductory photo is stunning. It is great to read about the difference that this program has made in water quality over the last two decades (especially because I am moving there). It does go back to the U.S.S. Arizona question-which is more important: preserving the historical artifact or protecting the environment? Of course there is the solution of recording as you go. But this sounds much simpler than it is. I do think that there are plenty of opportunities for conservationists, archaeologists and conservators to work together and conserve maritime heritage for the future.

The second series of photos that I have enjoyed are the Grand Piano on the sandbar in Biscayne Bay. The photos are evocative and strike a chord in my soul.

At the same time I do understand that the Grand Piano causes a problem. It is not a natural element and can be considered pollution in the bay (with felony charges). In addition, it encourages others to leave items on the sandbar while capturing their "art" and encourages pranksters looking for attention.

I enjoyed the photos! And without trash and rubbish, archaeologists would have far fewer artifacts (and far fewer jobs).

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Paper Conservation

On Monday and Tuesday morning, the small staff of the medical library history collections had the opportunity to learn more about paper conservation. Gloria Bradshaw, Senior Conservation Technician, came to history collections and taught us how to do tape/adhesive removal, staple removal, paper clip removal, label removal and how to deacidify paper. The removal of these material prevents acidic deterioration, one of the largest problems in paper preservation.

It was really great and I was so excited to add another tool to my tool belt. It was also great to have Gloria's help with our Lab Safety (which we've been trying to get up to code-no lab safety procedures/documentation up to this point). I would have to say that one of the best parts was talking to Gloria informally about the conservation field. About the strict hierarchy that academic conservators adhere to (pun intended). All in all, the most important part of conservation is the artifacts!! Not the prestige of the person working on the artifacts. I would like to continue my education in conservation, but I hope I always remember the reason behind the work.

Gloria in action!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Techniques for conserving skeletal material in the field and in storage

I presented on March 31, 2011 at the Society for American Archaeology Annual Conference in Sacramento, CA.

I presented in a great session but I would like to disseminate this information to a wider audience. My powerpoint presentation is below, audio soon to follow!

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Archaeology, Conservation and Curation by Whitney Rose Petrey is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License