Robbin Zella, Director of the Housatonic Museum
INVITED TO THE NATIONAL CONSERVATION SUMMIT IN
“Connecting to Collections” to focus on saving
museum, library collections
(May 14,2007 – Bridgeport) Robbin
Zella, Director of the Housatonic Museum of Art has been invited
to participate in Connecting to Collections: The National
Conservation Summit to be held June 27-28, 2007 in Washington,
DC. Only four representatives, two from museums and two from libraries,
from each state and the District of Columbia have been selected to
attend this invitation-only national conference sponsored by the U.S.
Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). The event will underscore
the risks that endanger America’s books, works of art, documents,
and other treasures and promote solutions for saving them.
“Those who have been selected to attend the summit have a strong
commitment to conservation and are among the best people in the country to
spearhead a national conservation initiative,” said IMLS Director Anne-Imelda
Radice, Ph.D. “After the summit, we hope that the conversation about
saving invaluable collections will continue in communities across the U.S.”
Participants in the meeting represent small and medium-sized museums,
libraries, and historic organizations with a proven dedication and
commitment to conservation. They will be joined at the meeting by national
leaders in conservation, government officials, and leaders in private
sector support for conservation.
The Housatonic Museum is housed in the Housatonic Community College
campus in Bridgeport, Connecticut. It is comprised of two galleries
totaling over 2,000 square feet. The collection is composed of
outstanding examples of 18th, 19th and 20th century art, as well as
ethnographic objects from Africa, Oceania and the Americas.
The museum was founded in 1967 by the late Burt Chernow. Mr.
Chernow was a professor of art and art history at the college, as well
as an avid art collector. During his tenure at the college, he
amassed an extensive collection of over 4,000 pieces of art, featuring
masters such as Picasso, Renoir, Rodin and Dali. Mr. Chernow
is credited with building the museum's unique collection into one of
the most valuable permanent collections of any two-year college in
the country. The museum's permanent collection is valued at over
11 million dollars with a substantial portion of our permanent collection
on display throughout the college campus. Five years ago, the director
of the Museum began an initiative to address the conservation needs
of the museum and a conservation program was developed.
Heritage Preservation, the national organization devoted
to preserving America’s heritage, is cooperating with IMLS to organize the
summit. Heritage Preservation’s 2005 report, A Public Trust
at Risk: the Heritage Health Index Report on the State of America’s
Collections,revealed that there are 4.8 billion artifacts held
in this country’s archives, libraries, museums, and historical
societies, many of these in small to medium sized towns and cities.
The report said that 26 percent of collecting institutions have no
controls by which to protect their valuable artifacts from temperature,
humidity, and light; 59 percent have had their collections damaged
by light and 53 percent have had damage by moisture. In addition the
report showed that 65 percent of the country’s collecting institutions
have experienced damage due to improper storage.
The conservation summit will also be supported by a
grant from the Henry Luce Foundation and by the National Endowment
for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the President’s
Committee on the Arts and Humanities. The summit is being co-hosted
by the Smithsonian American Art Museum.
About the Institute
of Museum and Library Services
The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source
of federal support for the nation’s 122,000 libraries and 17,500
museums. The Institute's mission is to create strong libraries and
museums that connect people to information and ideas. The Institute
works at the national level and in coordination with state and local
organizations to sustain heritage, culture, and knowledge; enhance
learning and innovation; and support professional development. To learn
more about the Institute, please visit www.imls.gov.