University of Arizona receives preservation award

Tucson, Arizona (ICC) 12-08

The University of Arizona, Tucson State Museum has received a national award for its care and preservation of the world’s largest and most comprehensive collection of Southwest Indian pottery.

The 2008 National Preservation Award for Demonstrated Excellence and Outstanding Commitment to the Preservation and Care of Collections was presented to the museum in recognition of its decades-long dedication to care of its vast and varied collections. The award specifically cites the museum’s care of its renowned 20,000+ whole vessel collection of Southwest Indian pottery.

This award, presented by the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (AIC) and Heritage Preservation, is a very high honor – almost the equivalent of an Oscar in the field of collection care and preservation.

ASM Director Beth Grindell said the award recognizes not only the museum’s long-term dedication to the care of its collections but the world-class and visionary work of Head Conservator Nancy Odegaard. “ASM has never thought of conservation and collections care as a luxury, they are absolute necessities at this museum.”

In the late 1970s the museum established the state’s first conservation laboratory. To this day, it is still the only museum lab in Arizona. In the ‘80s the lab, then under Odegaard’s direction, developed and published object care and emergency response guidelines that remain international standards. She also pioneered chemical-free pest control standards that were immediately adopted worldwide.

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