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The American Institute for Conservation held its Annual Meeting for 2016 this week (May 13-May 17, 2016)  in Montreal, Canada.  The conference was a joint meeting of AIC and the Canadian Association for Conservation of Cultural Property.  The meeting theme was “Emergency! Preparing for Disasters and Confronting the Unexpected in Conservation.”

Many of the talks focused on lessons learned from disaster response operations from both the distant and recent past.  This conference marked the 50th anniversary of the 1966 Florence Flood, which devastated the lives of the city’s people and caused catastrophic damage to the rich collections of art, books, and manuscripts for which the city is renowned.  The response to the Flood of the Arno proved to be a seminal moment in the development of conservation as a profession. The collection-based strategies developed to combat the effects of the Flood influenced conservation treatment and collections emergency response for decades to come.

AIC’s Annual Meeting is an important professional development opportunity for conservators and conservation technicians.  The sessions provide opportunities to reflect on practice, ethics, techniques and new research.  This year’s conference was very well attended and a  chance to network with colleagues from Canada and reconnect with old friends, mentors, classmates, and former co-workers.  Next year’s conference will be held in Chicago, IL.  The theme is innovation in conservation treatment.  Lookout Windy City!