National Archives of the Netherlands (Ministry of Education, Culture and Science)

Succesful first part of the project 'Training for Conservation Assistant' in Surinam

In November and December 2010 a group of eight Surinam heritage professionals were trained as teacher (or trainer) in preparation of the Training for Conservation Assistant. The Training for Conservation Assistant starts in March 2011 in Paramaribo and will educate in managing different cultural heritage objects or in dealing with risks threatening archival or museum collections.

Training the trainers

But first the trainers needed to be trained. All trainers-to-be have their own specific background and expertise, for example with books or textile objects or one of the other types of cultural heritage objects. Others are educated in dealing with one or more risks affecting museum or archival collections. The trainers will be expected to teach in their field of expertise the coming two years, while they are coached by teachers from the Netherlands and Brazil.

Preparation course

The preparatory train-the-trainers course was linked to the installation of the exposition ‘Child in Chains’ in Fort Nieuw Amsterdam. This was an exhibition about child slavery, initiated by the National Institute for the Study of Dutch Slavery and it’s Legacy (NiNsee). The training was also linked to another MCH-project: a training for educational staff and collection managers, that was held simultaneously in Paramaribo.

At the end of the training the group trainers had gained awareness of the range of risks affecting collections and they were able to advice their fellow students how to deal with heritage objects. At the same time the trainers became familiar with important educational principles by giving short presentations and by sharing the lessons with their fellow students. The exchange of knowledge and new experiences have not only led to a very inspirational and successful training, but is also the beginning of new valuable contacts and cooperation.

Building Surinam knowledge on heritage conservation

By creating an independent Training for Conservation Assistant Surinam will built its own knowledge and expertise in the field of conservation and risk management of cultural heritage.
The train-the-trainers course was organized by the National Archives of the Netherlands in cooperation with the National Archives Suriname and the Netherlands Cultural Heritage Agency in the framework of the Mutual Cultural Heritage-programme.