15 October 2019

South Africa: conservation training for South African museum professionals

During a multi-year training programme, professionals learn about conservation techniques for various materials.

Teacher Bas van Velzen is showing the properties of a certain type of paper with the use of a light table to the participants of the training (photo: Alexandra van Kleef).

The Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands and the South African Museums Association started a train the trainer programme in 2018. During this programme, a group of enthusiastic and motivated South African museum professionals is diving deep into the conservation of the various materials that are present in the diverse South African museum collections.

Previous training sessions

In July 2018 the first training session started in the Kwa Muhle Museum in Durban with the basics of preventive conservation and risk management. And in March this year the second training session was held in Cape town at the Western Cape Archives. This last training was all about paper and books. Bas van Velzen, an experienced teacher in paper conservation at the University of Amsterdam, explained everything there is to know about the chemical properties of paper and ink, the different types of damages and basic techniques that will help to conserve paper objects.

About the upcoming training session

In November the third training session will take place in the McGregor Museum in Kimberley. This time the training will be all about textile collections. Three textile conservators from the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam – Suzan Meijer, Carola Holz and Marjolein Koek – will discuss the different properties of textiles, the best way to store and handle them, and basic conservation techniques to prevent (further) damage. The training is already fully booked and everyone is looking forward to another interesting exchange of knowledge and experiences.