The new issue of “The Conservator, Vol. 31, 2008” has a very relevant article relating to the continuing discussion of AIC’s proposed system of certification. Dr. Stan Lester, in the article, Putting conservation’s professional qualification in context gives an overview of the United Kingdoms PACR accreditation process, which has been in place for the last eight years. In the context of discussing the purpose behind the PACR, “There was a strong view that it needed to be assessed through means that were both valid for the kinds of work that conservators do (not, for instance, using a paper-based portfolio, a written examination or a contrived project) and robust enough to withstand external scrutiny” (p. 6)
It is interesting he specifically rules out a written examination as being a valid and defendable measure of a conservators competence, which is the only model AIC is considering. I’ve read it is too expensive to conduct a more rigorous, UK style certification.
Certification is very important to our profession– we need to do it right, not just cheap.