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CCAHA's 40th: Preserving Art Treasures Becoming Big Business

    • Preserving Art

2017 marks 40 years of CCAHA. Every Friday, we'll share the articles, photos, and recollections that tell the story of how CCAHA became a world-renowned leader in conservation science.

Click here to read the article. 

This 1989 article from Rochester, Minnesota’s Post-Bulletin liberally employs a descriptive analogy, calling conservation “the health care sector of the art and antiquities trade.” The article discusses the conservation landscape of the time, describing regional conservation centers and their specialties. Then-CCAHA Executive Director Robert Strauss is quoted several times, contributing to the metaphor of conservation-centers-as-health-care-facilities, saying “I am the administrator and Glen Ruzicka, our chief conservator, is like a chief of medicine.”

The article also features a description of CCAHA’s work treating an engraved copy of the Declaration of Independence from 1823. The document came to CCAHA with significant wrinkling, according to Strauss: “When it came, it looked like a relief map of a mountain range.” CCAHA’s conservators flattened the engraving and repaired its corners.

The article states that 75% of CCAHA’s work at that time was for institutions. CCAHA’s Preservation Services Office hosted education programs and internships and offered “collections management guidance—the conservator’s term for preventive medicine—to many institutions.”

See ongoing coverage of our 40th anniversary here.