Click here to watch the APOYOnline 25th Anniversary Video
In 1989, a group of Latin American and North American conservation professionals met to discuss and identify the needs of colleagues in Latin America, and to propose ways of supporting their professional activities. A questionnaire was sent to over 150 people, with the overwhelming majority naming the lack of timely information on conservation activities and news in Spanish and Portuguese, as well as their isolation from other professionals in the preservation field as main obstacles for their professional development. A database of names, compiled through word of mouth, was started with the objective of creating a network and disseminating information through a newsletter in Spanish called APOYO. Between 1994 and 2008, ICCROM offered the support of their Office of Database Management to merge its own database with APOYO’s, as well as to maintain it and update it. The information gathered in this tool was published with the support of the Smithsonian (SCMRE) in the APOYO Directory in 1996, 1998 and 2001, the first of its kind in Latin America.
This network continues to grow and currently includes over 6,000 conservation and preservation professionals throughout the Americas, as well as Spain, Portugal and other countries. In addition to this wide geographical representation, APOYOnline has brought together diverse conservation specialties such as paper, library and archival materials, textiles, photographs, paintings, ethnographic objects, sculpture, metals, stone, and natural science. The network includes other individuals in related fields, such as museum, library and archives directors, curators, collections managers, educators, archaeologists, and architects.
APOYOnline has continued supporting cultural heritage professionals by providing relevant translated content, awarding grants for professional development and organizing its own regional conferences. Since 2020, the Mellon Foundation has been awarding us with special grants to increase organizational capacity and programming as a recognition of the relevant work done over the past 30 years and to support future activities.