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IUPUI Collections Care Fair offers professional preservation advice to public



INDIANAPOLIS — Without the help of professionals, it’s difficult to gauge the appropriate care techniques for a treasured family heirloom.  

When the Museum Studies program in the IU School of Liberal Arts at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis hosted its first Collections Care Fair last year, the Indianapolis public sought advice on caring for such items as an Indianapolis Clowns baseball jersey from the Negro American League, a certificate of service from World War I and an Asian scroll that had been tucked away in the back of a closet.

The IUPUI Collections Care Fair returns Saturday, April 5, at the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, 500 W. Washington St.

Presented in partnership with the IUPUI Museum Studies Club, professionals will once again be on hand to help with the preservation of cherished belongings. The event runs from 1 to 3 p.m.

The public is invited to bring in heirlooms and meet with a professional conservator for one-on-one conversation on how to better store, care for and preserve the treasures. Participants should be able to carry objects into the fair safely. Over-sized objects will be discussed by appointment only. No guns or weapons are permitted.

“Objects carry the experience of meaning for all people everywhere,” said Holly Cusack-McVeigh, assistant professor of anthropology and museum studies and public scholar of collections and community curation. “Through community-wide events such as this comes a new understanding of this shared legacy and the responsibility that we all have in seeing our history into the future.”

New this year, attendees will have the rare opportunity to bring their metal items for free non-invasive X-ray fluorescence testing. Whether a wedding band or meteorite, XRF testing can report an object’s elemental composition almost instantly.

“People can bring in their jewelry or any other metal family heirloom pieces to find out exactly what type of metal it contains,” Cusack-McVeigh said. “Sometimes people discover that their ‘trinket’ is a true ‘treasure.’ This is a really fun addition to the 2014 Collections Care Fair, and we wish to extend a special word of thanks to Bruker Elemental for contributing equipment and staff to this public event.”

IUPUI museum studies students will work alongside the professionals at the event. The fair allows the students as emerging museum professionals to share specialized knowledge they have learned in classroom and lab settings.

Admission to the fair is free to all. Free parking is also available in the White River State Park Parking Garage.  Museum admission, required for entrance to museum galleries, is free to IUPUI staff, students and faculty with a Jag Tag.

Sponsors of this year’s fair include IUPUI Solution Center, IUPUI Museum Studies Program, IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI, IUPUI Museum Studies Club, Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indiana Deaf History Museum, Indiana Historical Society, Indiana State Museum, Indiana Medical History Museum, Conner Prairie Interactive History Park, Indianapolis Children’s Museum, and Rhythm! Discovery Center.

For appointments, or additional information, contact Holly Cusack-McVeigh at