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On October 31, 2009, fifty-nine cultural heritage leaders from thirty-two countries, including representatives of Africa, the Middle East, South America, and Asia, unanimously passed the Salzburg Declaration on the Conservation and Preservation of Cultural Heritage. The declaration was the culmination of the Salzburg Global Seminar (SGS), entitled “Connecting to the World’s Collections: Making the Case for Conservation and Preservation of our Cultural Heritage” and held October 28–November 1, 2009, under the auspices of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and SGS. The declaration will be widely distributed to cultural ministries and other policy-making entities; it has already been translated into Arabic.

The seminar built on the findings of “Connecting to Collections: A Call to Action,” IMLS’s multiyear initiative on collections care, putting them into a global context. It combined presentations by leading experts in conservation and preservation throughout the world with small working groups tasked with making practical recommendations for future action on specific topics. Those guiding topics included emergency preparedness, education and training, public awareness, new preservation approaches, and assessment and planning. One evening was devoted to a fireside chat on “conservation in the developing world,” with a panel of participants representing Benin, Iraq, Mexico, Singapore, and Trinidad and Tobago.

At the opening session, Vinod Daniel, seminar coleader and head of Culture Heritage and Science Initiatives at the Australia Museum, noted that he had never attended a meeting “as diverse as this, with people from this many parts of the world, as cross-disciplinary as this.” A report summarizing the discussions and outlining the recommendations will be published later this year, sent to key stakeholders around the world, and made available online at www.imls.gov and www.SalzburgGlobal.org.

Additional support for the seminar was provided by the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities. For more information about the program, please contact Nancy Rogers, IMLS senior project coordinator, or Susanna Seidl-Fox, SGS program director.

Daily seminar blog posts by Richard McCoy, associate conservator of objects at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, are available at www.iiconservation.org/wpress.