Harry Ransom CenterThe University of Texas at Austin

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Spring 2004 Newsletter

John and Ken's Excellent Adventure


John Wright and the British Library's Chris
Fletcher, at the British Library, relaxing on
Thames near Richmond, photo by Ken Grant,
May 2002.

For many years the Ransom Center has had an active program of loans that help to share the Center's collections with a wider audience. To support this effort, John Wright, Chief Preparator, and I attended a two-day conference in London in May on the topic of loans for exhibition. The conference, titled "Part and Parcel of the Job: Planning, Packing, and Transporting Loans for Exhibition," was organized jointly by the British Museum and the Institute for Paper Conservation and included speakers from all over Europe, the US, and Australia. Papers presented at the conference covered current best practices in the field as well as describing the odd "nightmare" loan, when equipment breakdowns, scheduling problems, and communication mix-ups caused the museum professionals involved to think on their feet to protect the safety of the items on loan. As a part of the trip, John and Ken paid professional visits to the exhibitions, conservation and curatorial departments at the British Library, Tate Britain, and the National Portrait Gallery. The visits provided valuable insight into exhibition techniques as well as packing methods for rare and fragile collection materials. Funding for this travel was provided by several sources including a grant from the John Anson Kittredge Foundation, a Professional Development Grant from the American Institute for Conservation, and Ransom Center travel funds.  

Ken Grant
Exhibitions Conservator and Head of Exhibition Services

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