Life Cycle Assessment in Collections Care and Display

Since 2017, The Foundation for Advancement for Conservation and the American Institute for Conservation have been funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities in two research grants (one to plan, one to implement) pursuing life cycle assessments of the things we in the cultural heritage sector use to care for, ship and display objects.

It has been my pleasure to work with the AIC/FAIC staff, and my co-principal investigators Sarah Nunberg and Matt Eckelman on this project. Matt, from Northeastern University, and Sarah, a conservator in private practice, bring the science to the project. It has been a pleasure to learn from them, and now to work with NEU PhD student Sarah Sanchez, as we create LCA cases to share and a tool for lookups of the environmental, climate and human health impacts of the chemical solutions, materials and processes we use in our work.

You can find more about the project here: https://www.culturalheritage.org/about-us/foundation/programs/life-cycle-analysis including expectations of when the first products will be available.

This is research, not programming, so it takes longer to fruition than one hopes, but it will soon make it easier for conservators, curators and preparators to make better choices about the products they use – for the objects, themselves and the planet.

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