Saturday, June 2 • 2:00pm - 2:30pm
(Sustainability) Access to Shared Knowledge: Developing a Sustainable Workflow for Archiving Collaborative Engagement Documentation at NMAI’s Conservation Department

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Collaborative engagements with Native artists and other community members give conservators insight into the meaning of tangible and intangible cultural heritage and inform conservation practice.  This presentation introduces a newly developed workflow for archiving documentation from such collaborative engagements at the National Museum of American Indian (NMAI) and presents the underlying thought processes and challenges.  Such engagements may happen through consultations, workshops, or place-based education; the goal is to develop long-term relationships.  Over the past two decades, the NMAI Conservation Department has held numerous collaborative events and compiled copious amounts of documentation of the department’s work with Native stakeholders and other experts. Documentation materials include mostly born-digital media such as photographs, transcripts, and audio and visual files. While analog references in form of project binders have been accessible in NMAI’s conservation library, the associated digital media was held on CD’s and a shared network drive - difficult to access, organize, and use.  This project began with an evaluation of these assets, which revealed that although existing documentation is extensive, there are no active protocols to systematize and archive collaborative engagement documentation to ensure maintenance, accessibility, and utility for Native stakeholders, researchers, and the museum.
Developing a standardized protocol for the documentation of NMAI’s conservation consultations and new routines for media production will contribute to a targeted documentation approach that allows for structured outcomes. Utilizing Smithsonian’s Digital Assets Management System (DAMS) to archive those assets that are not object-based but provide context for collections, will ensure long-term accessibility of the media and if appropriate, allows for delivery of assets for external use in the future. The systematic use of NMAI’s Collections Information System database (CIS) will lay the foundation to locate specific object-based information from collaborative engagement events.   
The workflow developed for this project allows for anyone in the conservation department to document and archive ongoing and future collaborative engagement events as part of a routine process.  The goal is to provide a useful model for other institutions engaged in similar collaborative efforts. 

avatar for Diana Gabler

Diana Gabler

Research Fellow in Conservation, National Museum of the American Indian
Diana Gabler holds a Diploma (MA) in Conservation of Archaeological, Ethnographic and Decorated Arts Objects from the State Academy of Art and Design Stuttgart, Germany. She is currently Research Fellow in Conservation at the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) Washington... Read More →

Saturday June 2, 2018 2:00pm - 2:30pm
Hunters Creek Meeting Room Marriott Marquis Houston

Attendees (46)