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Feb 24, 2015

Workshop on Preserving Antiquities Opens

In Belize, there are Mayan, colonial and modern artifacts from different cultures that are kept under lock and key to preserve the tangible work of art. Since Monday, representatives from National Institute of Culture and History, the Institute of Archeology, the Museum of Belize as well as persons from private museums, library and archives are participating in a workshop that looks at keeping Belize’s collection of antiquities secure for future generations. The workshop is providing the stakeholders with the proper techniques on how to preserve collections. The workshop is being spearheaded through a partnership between the Museum of Belize and the Science Museum of Minnesota.

 

Sherilyn Jones, Director, Museum of Belize & Houses of Culture

“The Museum of Belize entered this loan agreement with the Science Museum of Minnesota where they borrowed a hundred and seventy items from our collection and it was during that process that some of the challenges in working with the collection that we recognized that there was something lacking in the way we were doing things. While they were wrong, there weren’t exactly correct. And so through that partnership we worked on developing something very basic that can teach the museum staff as well as other partners who help to preserve our culture with the tools that’s needed to take care of these collections for future generations.”

 

Rebecca Newberry

Rebecca Newberry, Conservator, Science Museum of Minnesota

“One of the biggest challenges in Belize is the heat and the humidity and also just the lack of resources. And any museum will tell you they have a lack of resources so it doesn’t matter what museum you ask…we need more. So definitely there are challenges in the storage environment at different institutions and there is challenge in the storage materials and the storage furniture. So what we are really trying to do is find practical and affordable ways to improve the storage. What we are doing right now is we are using pieces from the Museum of Belize that are stored in plastic bins, which is nice because it keeps the dust off and water off if the roof should leak and that sort of thing. And then in the plastic bins everything is wrapped up and stored in. So what we are doing is that we are making mounts for those objects to put back into the bins so that they can be visible and they can be removed easily.”

 

Sherilyn Jones

Sherilyn Jones

“One of the main challenges is space and storage. We don’t have proper and adequate storage. Everything in the states that houses artifacts or objects of cultural importance is climate controlled. Our storage facilities as you know, air condition is not an everyday thing and so for storage facility, we don’t have any climate control, any air condition. We store stuffs in cardboard boxes and that in itself created mold and moisture. NICH recognizes the fact that we are at a critical stage where we need a storage facility and that is being addressed within this fiscal year. And then the next move is to of course slowly move out the objects that are presently stored in the so-called dungeon ad then put them in a safe storage. For the Houses of Culture, I am hoping that the tools they’ve learned and the techniques that they’ve learned they will take back to the Houses of Culture and incorporate it into storing our objects and even knowing how to clean our objects more professionally.”

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