Purpose and Principles

Education has always been integral to the mission of the GCI. Early in its history, the Institute launched a program of courses, workshops, and meetings for conservation professionals that continues to address issues related to the conservation of museum collections, archaeological sites, and historic architecture. Over time education and training activities have expanded beyond short courses and workshops to also include training embedded into field projects. Field-based training is often used to augment classroom-based teaching and to provide an opportunity for contextual learning that can take place over an extended period of time. In recent years, the GCI has also been using the web to expand learning, mentoring, and networking possibilities for both teachers and learners.
Today the Institute continues to see education—whether in the classroom, in the field or, increasingly, over the web—as a critical element in advancing the conservation profession internationally and in building the capacity of individuals and institutions responsible for cultural heritage.

Project Design and Implementation

The projects of the Education department are always designed to address recognized information and learning needs within the conservation field. Education projects are generally multidisciplinary and draw upon the Institute's own experience and strengths in research, education, and professional practice. The department works closely with colleagues in Science and Field Projects to develop education objectives and activities within new and existing projects.
The audience for the GCI's education efforts is, for the most part, conservation professionals. This broadly defined group may include conservators, conservation scientists, archaeologists, architects, engineers, and a range of other colleagues dealing with material culture. In certain contexts the Institute's projects may also target technicians and craftspeople who are responsible for caring for heritage resources. Senior-level policy and decision makers form another part of the GCI's audience and may be involved—directly or indirectly—in courses, meetings, and related projects to increase their understanding of, and support for, conservation. The department also collaborates with other educators as part of its efforts to support the development of conservation education.
Much of the GCI's work is specifically targeted to countries or regions where professional training opportunities may be limited or where the conservation profession itself is still nascent. Projects are generally undertaken in partnership with other national, regional, or international organizations and are tailored to the specific learning and capacity-building goals of these entities and their professional constituencies. Since the objectives of the department's activities are largely determined by the set of problems being targeted as well as their context and stakeholders, education projects therefore vary in scale, complexity, and duration. While shorter training courses and workshops remain a feature of the Institute's work, the Education department increasingly relies on long-term strategic initiatives that allow the GCI and its partners to engage with learners over an extended period of time, thereby increasing both the effectiveness and sustainability of our work. Examples of this approach can be found in the Preservation of Photographs projects in for southern, central, and eastern Europe and the Middle East and in the MOSAIKON initiative.
The Education department undertakes research in pedagogy and seeks to incorporate into its projects the latest thinking and practice from mainstream education, adapting them to the Institute's audiences and teaching contexts. Since most of the Institute's work occurs in regions where access to conservation education may be limited, the department has been working to develop learning models that can provide course participants longer exposure to instructors and to other colleagues. These models include follow-up courses and "blended learning"a combination of classroom, field and Web-based teaching that can reinforce or expand learning.
The didactic resources developed by the GCI for its courses and workshops are now available for downloading by other educators and learners. These materials, which are available under a Creative Commons license, include syllabi, course descriptions, teaching strategies, technical notes, and related resources that have been used in the Institute's own courses.

The Education department also oversees the operations of the GCI's Information Center, and its Conservation Guest Scholar, Postdoctoral Fellowship, and Graduate Internship programs.