Janaury 10, 2009– Annual Meeting and Potluck Dinner
Lecture by Julia Brennan on Conserving Bhutanese Textiles
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Monastic Textile Treasures in Bhutan: A Path to Preservation
In 2007, Julia Brennan led the first preventative conservation and textile conservation workshops held in the monasteries of Bhutan. Twelve monks and six museum staff traveled to rural monasteries implementing extensive upgrades to the storage, display and long term care of four important national religious collections. In total, ninety four treatments of relic textiles were completed and over four hundred textiles were re housed. Four nationally significant textiles received extensive treatment.
21st century concepts were introduced into medieval environments and to monks who had never encountered the philosophies of conservation before. Based in four medieval Himalayan monasteries, the workshop directly addressed the overall conditions of the religious collections and environmental problems inherent to these old structures. The museum staff co-taught and established an ongoing professional network between the museum personnel and the monk participants. A long term product of the training was the publication of a handbook for the care of sacred objects.
Julia Brennan has worked in the field of textile conservation for over 25 years. She frequently lectures to historical societies and collector groups on the care and display of textiles and is passionately committed to conservation outreach, both locally and internationally. From 2000 to 2008, she consulted to the Royal Government of Bhutan to establish their national Textile Museum, and lead five textile training workshops. The most recent project focused on teaching preventative conservation to monks in rural monasteries. In 2005 Julia conducted a textile conservation seminar and mounted a national exhibit of historic 19th century textiles in Antananarivo, Madagascar. And in 2007 Julia taught the first ever textile conservation workshop at the National Bardo Museum in Algiers.
Julia Brennan is a Professional Associate of the American Institute for Conservation and a Director of the Washington Conservation Guild. She spent six years at the Textile Museum in Washington DC as Assistant Conservator for Exhibitions. Her company, Textile Conservation Services does ongoing contract work for Smithsonian museums, the DAR Museum, George Washington’s Mount Vernon, The Kennedy Center, Tudor Place and many private clients.
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