City gains from conference

By Anne-Marie Emerson

Some of the world's top photo conservators are coming to Wanganui this weekend as part of an international conference.

The American Institute for Conservation Photographic Materials Group and the International Council of Museums Conservation Committee Photographic Materials Working Group are holding a joint conference in Wellington, with about 200 conservators expected to attend.

The event will include three days of meetings and two days of tours and workshops.

On Saturday some of the conference members will spend the day in Wanganui, visiting the Sarjeant Gallery, the Whanganui Regional Museum and McNamara Gallery.

Louise Follett from the museum said the conference attendees were specialists in the conservation of photographic formats, and would provide professional conservators in New Zealand with insights into techniques, materials, imaging technology and conservation.

"The event also presents great opportunities to develop professional networks and contacts," she said.

Mrs Follett said during their visit the conservators would be shown examples from the Sarjeant Gallery's Denton Collection by photographic curator Peter Ireland, at the museum they would be shown examples of very early photographic style such as daguerreotypes, ambrotypes and tintypes, while at the McNamara Gallery photographic images that show a range of practices in use today would be displayed.

"With their knowledge, these conservators will be able to shed some new light on our collections and their future care," Mrs Follett said.

Paul McNamara, from McNamara Gallery, said having the conference members come to Wanganui was a significant event. "This is the first time the conference has been held in New Zealand. All the other conference field trips will be to Te Papa."

Mr McNamara said it was appropriate that the conservators would come to Wanganui as the city has a "significant photographic heritage".

"The Sarjeant Gallery - our public gallery - has a nationally significant collection, with an active policy of acquiring photographs."

He said the Wanganui-based Tylee Cottage artist-in-residence scheme, which began in 1986, has had a number of photographers as recipients, including Laurence Aberhart, Anne Noble, Ans Westra, George Krause, Paul Johns, Ben Cauchi, Andrew Ross and Ann Shelton.

Whanganui Regional Museum archivist Sandy Black said she was looking forward to the conference members' visit. "These are some of the world's experts - hopefully we can learn plenty from them," she said.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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