About 2 years ago I read that the University of Southampton was looking for additional funding and or moving there Textile Conservation department to another University. The Textile Conservation department at the University of Southampton has been responsible for the training probably half of the leading textile conservators in the world. And those that they did not train were probably taught by former students. I know I worked under several of there former students.
Some of the most significant textile restoration projects in the world have all used there services. The Staff, Minds, Skills, all in one place under one room at The University of Southampton can not be found elsewhere. But the Department will be closed November 1, 2009. The staff will be shattered to the wind and the world will loose one of its most precious resources.
This breaks my heart. I know I have talked many times about my horrible college experience. Being there at the death of 5 different departments that I was enrolled in while trying to get my education. That was 15 years ago, when the largest university in the world could not justify the importance of historical endeavors. When will universities realize that once this knowledge base is lost it really is lost forever.
This is truly catastrophic news. The fate of the worldwide conservation training is in jeopardy. How are we to learn about the mistakes of our past to learn about the future if those items of history are lost due to lack of knowledge.
We will enter into the Dark Ages Again!
PS. I just told M the news, and I don't think he really understood the impact. His response was look at everything else that is closing around the world. And my comment to him was, well how would you feel if I told you they were closing CERN Labs because of lack of money.... No less significant to my field.