University Products had a chance to meet new people and catch up with old friends at the Washington Conservation Guild Three Ring Circus earlier this month. On Thursday evening, January 7, conservators from throughout the D.C. area came together at the S. Dillon Ripley Center, Smithsonian Institution, 1000 Jefferson Drive, SW in Washington D. C.. The meeting is typically the largest of the year with over 100 attendees. Following a reception from 5:30 to 6:30 with vendors that included University Products, conservators had their choice of attending three different sessions. This year, the topics included conservators in social media, imaging and technology and BIG conservation. Representing University Products was John Dunphy, who showcased new magnifying and lighting products.
Just returned from the American Association of Museums annual meeting where University Products exhibited at Museum Expo. I enjoyed meeting old and new friends and discussing some of the many new products we will be launching in the coming months.
Among the many fun moments was Mark Hall-Patton stopping at the booth. Mark works for the Clark County Museum System in Las Vegas, NV and is an expert in historical artifacts. However, he may be better known for his frequent appearances on one of the History Channel’s most popular shows: Pawn Stars.
Pawn Stars takes you inside the colorful world of the pawn business. At the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop on the outskirts of Las Vegas, three generations of the Harrison family–grandfather Richard, son Rick and grandson Corey – jointly run the family business, and there’s clashing and camaraderie every step of the way. The three men use their sharp eyes and skills to assess the value of items from the commonplace to the truly historic, including a 16th-century samurai sword, a Super Bowl ring, a Picasso painting and a 17th-century stay of execution. It’s up to them to determine what’s real and what’s fake, as they reveal the often surprising answer to the questions on everyone’s mind, “What’s the story behind it? ” and “What’s it worth?”
Mark chatted with me about his participation in the show. He explained that neither he nor any of the experts are paid, but that the popularity of the show has greatly increased attendance at the Clark County Museum System, and the pawn shop had been very generous with the museums’ fund raising efforts. Mark is a customer of University Products and was kind enough to pose for a picture…
The American Institute for Conservation also held its annual meeting in May. University Products had a 20’ booth at the Albuquerque, NM convention center. I was joined in the booth by Carlos Mijares from Editorial Marco Polo, the major supplier of archival and conservation materials in Mexico and one of our favorite distributors of our products there. University Products also offers many of Editorial Marco Polo’s products here in the U.S. Among them are a variety of new suction tables which were on display at the booth, along with several new conservation weights.
In addition, we showed some of our new generation of products which include Fosshape and Wonderflex. These two new materials are used in mount making and creating light weight mannequin forms. You will be hearing more about these materials and many others as we move forward.
As I mentioned in our last blog, we will be participating in the Society of Southwest Archivists annual meeting being held in Phoenix, and the Association of Tribal Archives, Libraries & Museums being held in Tulsa. We will also be a platinum sponsor of the SPNHC (Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections) annual meeting at Yale University in New Haven, CT. Regrettably, because of some health issues, I will not be able to attend these meetings as planned. We will, however, have products and catalogs on display and generous people in these organizations will set up and maintain our booth space. I hope to be back on my feet by early July in time to participate in the NAGARA (National Association of Government Archives and Records Administrators) show in Santa Fe, and the Society of American Archivists meeting in San Diego in August.
While in Washington, John also visited the Lunder Conservation Center. Paper Conservator Kate Maynor was kind enough to show him around. Like other visitors here, John had the unique opportunity to see conservators at work in five different laboratories and studios. The Center features floor-to-ceiling glass walls that allow the public to view all aspects of conservation work— work that is traditionally done behind the scenes at other museums and conservation centers. Interactive kiosks and special displays make it easy for visitors to learn about the importance of conservation and show how to take an active role in caring for public art and monuments, as well as how to care for personal treasures at home.