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15 April 2011

Friday 15th April 2011; Expectations Exercise, Collections Unit, Values & Authenticity, & International Charterts

Week 1 of 12 
Module 1: Introductions and Orientation

This morning we carried out an expectations exercise for what each of the participants hoped to get out of the course. The main themes that were discussed were: understanding and specifying mortars, conservation philosophies, documentation, networking, using science as a tool and types of repair and intervention.

We had a brief presentation from the collections unit here at ICCROM and a highlight was the discussion about the storage of collections when not on display which is easily discounted in its importance. A new website has been set up on this topic following global consultation

Late morning and this afternoon the topic of discussion was values and authenticity presented by Joe King (ICCROM). We were presented with a number of good examples of how these work in practice including the Joe's 20€ note example where he demonstrated that this object can hold a range of different values:
  • It can be seen as a piece of paper with ink and metal
  • It can be seen as having an associated and recognised monetary value (i.e. 20€)
  • It can have no value if presented in a small village in a country unconnected to Europe
  • It can have a value far higher if it can be said that it was carried by someone important during an important event (e.g. if it was said to have been in JFK's pocket on the day he was shot- higher value to some more than others though)
  • It can have personal emotional value if it is of personal significance (e.g. the first 20€ the earner has ever earned)
This same example was then given in regard to authenticity:
  • If the 20€ note was said to be in JFK's pocket in 1963 it would be unauthentic because the euro did not exist then
  • If the 20€ note turned out to be a fake it loses all monetary value
  • This is a true story however, and because this note (which Joe discovered to be fake when it was too late to return it) is now a useful teaching tool, it has gained value despite lacking original authenticity

Joe King with his 20€ note

Joe concluded the day with a lecture on 'Concepts & International Doctrines, Charters and Organisations' with a focus on the UNESCO World Heritage List and mention of ICOMOS (International Council on Monuments and Sites) and the presence of the ICOMOS-ISCS (International Council on Monuments and Sites– International Scientific Committee for Stone) who have created the Illustrated Glossary on Stone Deterioration Patterns a very useful text for anyone involved in the documentation or assessment of stone deterioration.

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