The Museums’ Dilemma: Culturally Appropriate Conservation

Kelly McHugh, Objects Conservator, National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution

IARC Speaker Series, SAR Boardroom

Thursday, May 9, 2013, 12:00–1:00 pm, Free

Kelly McHughKelly McHughPhotograph by Jason S. OrdazKelly McHughPhotograph by Jason S. Ordaz

Many indigenous communities have differing ideas about the concepts of preservation and conservation, which often contradict typical museum practices. How does one balance museological best practices with cultural worldviews?

This lecture is part of the 2013 Speaker Series of the Indian Arts Research Center at the School for Advanced Research. The series, titled Ethics, Aesthetics, and Preservation of the Arts, is geared toward individuals and institutions interested in collecting and working with cultural materials. Speakers will delve into the various legal and ethical issues surrounding art collecting and preservation, and offer some best-practice guidelines.

Kelly McHugh is an objects conservator at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian, where she has had the privilege of working since 1996. She has an MA in Art History with a Certificate in Conservation from New York University’s Institute of Fine Arts and a BA in Art History and Peace and Global Policy Studies, also from New York University. Prior to speaking at SAR, her most prestigious lecture was given for Career Day at her son’s school, Sligo Creek Elementary.

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