In June 2018 Melissa participated in a two day workshop at Pratt Institute on the use of Life Cycles Assessments in the field of art conservation. A life cycles assessment is a tool used to determine the global impact of choosing certain materials and processes. Life cycle assessments evaluate the full lifetime of a product from the extraction of raw materials to their final degradation, or as it is sometimes called, “cradle-to-grave.” By taking the full life cycle into account one can determine a good idea of the global impacts of the material beyond just the carbon footprint.
The workshop was led by Dr. Matthew Eckelman (Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Northeastern University). Funding for the workshop was secured by the National Endowmnet for the Humanities and organized by Sarah Sutton and Sarah Nunberg. After spending many years on the AIC sustainability committee, Sarah Nunberg sought out a method to actually aid art conservators in the effort to make sustainable choices. The grant funded the formation of a beta tool that is simplified and easy to use by practicing art conservators.
To learn more about the projects check out the 2016 JAIC article (Nunberg, Eckelman, Hatchfield 2016).