A State Library of Queensland conservator was crowned national Conservator of the Year at a special ceremony in Melbourne on Tuesday 20 November. Kelly Leahey won the Australian Institute for the Conservation of Cultural Material’s (AICCM) prestigious award for a series of 10 informative, step-by-step videos on how people can care for their precious personal collections, such as photographs and medals.

The State Library series included guidance on how to care for family collections to salvaging water-damaged collections. The award also recognised Kelly’s development of a series of cyanotype workshops which showed participants how historic photographs were made. Conservator of the Year “recognises and rewards individuals whose extraordinary efforts have directly contributed to the raising of standards in their workplace or within their conservation field”, according to the AICCM.

The state librarian and CEO, Vicki McDonald, reflected positively on Kellie’s work. “We are very proud of Kelly’s achievement and this award demonstrates the depth of expertise here at State Library,” she said. “Kelly’s drive and vision helped create an engaging series of videos that show Queenslanders how to preserve and display their personal collections at home. These free videos have helped raise the profile and importance of everyday conservation.”

Kellie specialises in conservation of photographs and works on paper. She has treated and cared for countless works related to Queensland’s documentary heritage. Kellie has a special interest in contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art. She graduated from the University of Melbourne in 2004 with a Bachelor of Creative Arts and Hours, and went on to receive a Master of Cultural Materials Conservation, Paper Specialisation in 2010.

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