When I arrived in the Alaska State Museum lab in 2006, there were a lot of old conservation materials (especially adhesives) that had accumulated since the lab was founded in 1976. I also had a file of old purchase orders. I got curious about how old the supplies were. Even though our materials are supposed to age well, it is interesting to note that a lot of the supplies we use came into frequent use in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, which is around the same time graduate conservation training programs first got established in the United States. I wonder how much introspection has been done on the history of our suppliers? Here are some suppliers and how far back they go. I’m wondering what ever happened to Conservation Support Systems…anyone know?
CONSERVATION MATERIALS LTD
You can roughly date the products because the addresses were usually included on the labels.
Spring 1978: Dorothy and Douglas Adams bought Conservation Materials Ltd in and moved to Sparks, Nevada where a shipping distribution center was available. (source: WAAC newsletter profile on the owners 1986) The company also put out a really interesting newsletter called “CM Times” that included a lot of great info.
1980’s: 240 Freeport Blvd Box 2884 TELEX 377405 (702) 331-0582
1989 – Early 1990’s: 1165 Marietta Way PO Box 2884 (702) 331-0582 FAX (702) 331-0588
New labels include NEW FAX number which was mentioned in WAAC newsletter in 1989
1993-95?: 1275 Kleppe Lane #10 PO Box 2884 New address mentioned in Sept 1993 WAAC newsletter
May 20, 1994: Douglas Adams died in a car accident, Dorothy continued the business
By 1996: 1395 Greg Street Suite #110 (702) 331-0582 FAX (702) 331-0588
1997 Out of business. Dorothy Adams started a similar business, but sold it in July 1997.
1997 Conservator’s Emporium apparently bought the stock of Conservation Materials Ltd. Run by William and Yolanda Foster. He was a business consultant and she was a chemist. New address 100 Standing Rock Circle in Reno, NV (Abby Newsletter V 21 #3 Sept 1997)
1999 Cons Mat Ltd used to make Quake Wax, but rights to the product were acquired in 1999 by Trevco, Makers of Quakehold! Museum Wax, Clear Museum Gel and Museum Putty.
2004 Flurry of distlist email rumors about Conservators Emporium being out of business or lagging far behind in their orders. William Foster writes in July of 2004 to say he has $30,000 in unpaid receivables and the business is struggling. Sold to MuseuM Services Corporation in 2005.
MUSEUM SERVICES CORPORATION
2005 Peter Mecklenburg of MuseuM Services Corporation announces that it acquired Conservator’s Emporium as of Nov 1 2005.New location is 385 Bridgeport Drive, South St Paul, Minnesota.
1962 Catalog says it was established in 1962
The 12 edition catalog generously provides dates and past locations:
1984 – 1994: 315 West 35th Street, New York NY
1994 – 2004: 568 Broadway, New York NY
2004-2008: 20 West 20th Street, New York, NY
2008- present: 330 Morgan Ave Brooklyn NY