Materials Selections and Specifications Working Group (MWG)

As part of her third-year internship at MCI, Melissa has been quite involved in the American Institute for Conservation‘s Materials Selections and Specifications Working Group (MWG). Her supervisor at MCI, Becky, is the chair of the group. The group was formed to develop guidelines and best practices for selecting, evaluating, and disseminating materials used in collection care.

Figure 1. Participants from the 2019 MWG meeting at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

2019 MWG Meeting at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Melissa attended the 2019 working group meeting in New York City. The meeting lasted two days and was preceded by an IMLS-funded Materials Testing Symposium at the same venue the day before. To learn more about the meeting, read an AIC Newsletter article about the event co-authored by Melissa.

There are three committees within the working group:

  • Selection & Specifications
  • Testing & Standards
  • Resources & Dissemination

Melissa joined the Selection & Specifications committee, where she was tasked with helping to develop a decision-making tool for material selection when designing and building exhibitions. With the permission of the National Park Service, the group decided to re-work an existing tool, a 1999 CD-ROM, “Exhibit Conservation Guidelines,” by Toby Raphael with major contributions by Nancy Davis and Kevin Brookes. This work has continued regularly following the 2019 meeting through online meetings, and is being edited on the AIC wiki.

Lightning Round Presentation at the 2019 MWG Meeting

Eric Breitung, MET research scientist and MWG steering committee member, invited Melissa to present on some her research from working at English Heritage. She gave a 10-minute lightning round presentation on the last day of the meeting. The talk was focused on an experiment she completed to test the vapor permeability of an acrylic coating on MDF. In the presentation, she gave also gave a broad overview of her research into testing RH models to give context for her research.