Gwen Spicer is a Textile, Upholstery, Paper and Objects Conservator, and full-time principal of Spicer Art Conservation, LLC, located in up-state NY. She received her MS degree from the Art Conservation Program at Buffalo State College, SUNY. She has over twenty-five years of experience, is a Fellow of AIC, and has been in private practice since 1995. She has assisted many museums with the treatment of organic materials for both display and storage. Her work for museums often focuses on problem solving and constantly aiming to find solutions that work within the framework and constraints of each individual institution.
She has been involved with several conservation treatments of flags and banners, including several flag projects for both the states of New York and Maine. Relevant projects include conservation of the Old Fort Niagara's Garrison Flag and survey of the Maine State Flags Collection. Gwen was involved in New York State Capitol's large collection of flags by assisting in the initial survey and proposal for future preservation of these artifacts. Recently, she compiled a summery of several state's projects and their cost effectiveness. The information was presented at a "Civil War Symposium" for the New Hampshire National Guard.
She has spoken internationally at the conference, "Forgotten History -- Upholstery Conservation", Birgitta Forum in Vadstena, Sweden. The talk, "Extraordinary Finds: The Conservation & Investigation of An Italian Dantesca Chair," discussed a chair that was conserved as part of the furnishing plan at The Hyde Collection. This talk later became a chapter in a book covering the proceedings from the Swedish conference. Ms. Spicer also has the honor of speaking to the Council of Cultural Affairs in Tainan, Taiwan where she gave a talk titled "Current Practices: Textile Conservation in the United States."
Collection care and preventative conservation are important tools that all custodians of collections should know. Storage of artifacts has been a special concentration for Gwen. She wrote the first draft of the Textile Catalog chapter which discussed "Storage Furniture & Materials." She has been an Adjunct Professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC, where she has taught the course "Textile and Costume Storage." She co-taught a "Round Table & Workshop: "Storage Methodology for Archaeological & Ethnographic Textiles" for NATCC conference in Mexico City, Mexico. While in private practice, she assists many small museums and historical society's across New York State with collection care, exhibitions, and conservation treatments. This includes designing storage spaces for small institutions and house museums based on inventories. Such sites are the Chautauqua Institute, Locust Grove, Landmark Society of Western New York, Shaker Museum and Library and the World Awareness Children's Museum. In the procedure, square footage is determined and the space needs and supplies are calculated. The use of inventories allows small collections with limited budgets to make realistic goals for collection improvements. She has also assisted historic house museums with developing collection rotation polices for display. Gwen designed a monitoring program of light levels in a newly constructed exhibition space at the New York State Museum.
She was formerly on the board of both the service organization, Upstate History Alliance, which aids small institutions throughout upstate New York with collection care and storage, and the board of the Vermont Museum & Gallery Alliance. She has organized a housekeeping workshop that was held at three venues across the state as well as an emergency preparedness workshop and exhibitions for small museums. In addition, she is involved with Integrated Pest Management Working-Group (IPM-WG). The group's web site is www.museumpests.net. She has also served on the board of Conservators in Private Practice of AIC.
A professional team is often necessary to perform a conservation treatment. Each conservator is trained in a different specialty that will enhance the treatment or project. They bring a level of expertise of materials that is not easily found. Below are summaries of the relevant work of the conservators and museum professionals who assist Spicer Art Conservation, LLC.
Ron DuCharme has thirty years as a furniture conservator at the Bureau of Historic Sites. He has also been involved in numerous conservation projects around the area. He has treated the furniture collection of the Martin van Buren House, Ten Broeck Mansion and other historical societies, the Trade Wagon and water damaged collection at New York State Museum; and office and conference furniture for Dr. Hull, President of Union College.
Linda Norris is the founder and Managing Partner of Riverhill Partners museum consulting firm. Riverhill is a unique collaborative firm working with museums, historical agencies and other community organizations. Their work includes the planning and development of new facilities, exhibitions, educational programs, publications and the management of museum and archival collections. Linda can be contacted through her website, http://www.riverhillpartners.com/.