Celebrating 50 Years of the Canadian Conservation Institute and the Canadian Heritage Information Network

The Canadian Conservation Institute (CCI) and the Canadian Heritage Information Network (CHIN) have been serving heritage professionals from Canada and around the world for 50 years. To mark this special occasion, we look back on the history of CCI and CHIN and highlight some of their most celebrated accomplishments from 1972 to 2022. We invite you to learn more about the people and projects that comprise the storied past of these important organizations.

Happy 50th Anniversary to CCI and CHIN from the Honourable Pablo Rodriguez


Transcript of the video "Happy 50th Anniversary to CCI and CHIN from the Honourable Pablo Rodriguez"

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The Honourable Pablo Rodriguez:

Happy anniversary to the Canadian Conservation Institute and the Canadian Heritage Information Network!

The invaluable work they do behind the scenes to preserve, organize, manage and share heritage collections makes these collections accessible to us and to future generations.

They allow us to learn from and celebrate our heritage.

They help us to know who we are, where we come from and how we can chart the best path forward.

Thank you to everyone who, in the past 50 years, has carried out this important work—in Canada and internationally.

Happy anniversary CCI and CHIN, and here’s to the next 50 years!


The 1970s: the founding of CCI and the National Inventory Programme

  • CCI was founded after UNESCO’s 1972 World Heritage Convention and the passing of the National Museums Act in Canada.
  • Dr. Nathan Stolow was the founder and first director of CCI.
  • The precursor to CHIN, the National Inventory Programme (NIP), was created in 1972 in response to the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property.
  • In 1975, CCI opened its headquarters at 1030 Innes Road in Ottawa, Ontario.
  • In 1975, CCI published the first in its series of Technical Bulletins, publications to assist heritage professionals.
  • In 1979, CCI piloted a mobile lab tour to provide conservation services to smaller heritage institutions across the country.
More info (the 1970s)

The 1980s: NIP becomes CHIN, and CCI runs the Mobile Laboratories Program

  • In 1981, CCI published the first in its series of CCI Notes, which deal with topics of interest to those who care for cultural objects.
  • NIP was renamed the Canadian Heritage Information Network (CHIN) in 1982.
  • In 1986, CCI championed the fight to protect the site of the fossilized forest on Axel Heiberg Island.
  • The Mobile Laboratories Program ran from 1980 to 1987.
More info (the 1980s)

The 1990s: the digitization of heritage

  • CCI joined the newly created Department of Canadian Heritage in 1993.
  • CCI produced the “Framework for Preserving Heritage Collections: Strategies for Avoiding or Reducing Damage” in 1994.
  • CHIN established its Web presence with the creation of the first virtual exhibit in 1995.
  • In 1998, the national inventories were redesigned for the Web, becoming Artefacts Canada, CHIN’s most popular resource.
More info (the 1990s)

The 2000s: community engagement

  • CCI’s library catalogue became available online in 2000.
  • In 2001, CHIN launched the Virtual Museum of Canada.
  • In 2002, CCI and CHIN, in collaboration with international partner institutions, launched the Bibliographic Database of the Conservation Information Network as a free research database for conservation literature.
  • CCI partnered with ICCROM and the Instituut Collectie Nederland to develop tools for risk assessment in 2003.
  • CCI and Indigenous partners joined together to host a historic symposium in 2007.
More info (the 2000s)

The 2010s: a reorganization of heritage

  • In 2014, CCI collaborated with the Museums Assistance Program to launch RE-ORG: Canada, a multi-year training program, using the RE-ORG method developed by ICCROM and UNESCO to reorganize storage in small museums.
  • CHIN joined CCI at their headquarters in Ottawa on Innes Road in 2015.
  • In 2018, CHIN launched an online version of Nomenclature for Museum Cataloging in collaboration with the American Association for State and Local History and Parks Canada.
More info (the 2010s)

The 2020s: looking ahead

  • In 2020, CCI released Caring for Heritage Collections During the COVID-19 Pandemic.
  • In 2020, CHIN made Nomenclature for Museum Cataloging available as downloadable open data and has since customized the Nomenclature platform and website to allow for inclusion of many North American Indigenous languages.
More info (the 2020s)

CCI and CHIN have led and been a part of major heritage projects within Canada, many of which were of international significance. Here, we celebrate select highlights from the past 50 years.


Infographic – 50 years of CCI
PDF Version (401 KB) (CCI)

50 Years of Service of CCI

Since 1972, the Canadian Conservation Institute (CCI) has been working with heritage professionals in Canada and abroad to ensure heritage collections are preserved and accessible. This infographic illustrates the volume of work done and the scope of many of our core services.

This data was collected using several internal databases, and while extensive, it may not be comprehensive or exact.

  • 11,627 objects analyzed
  • 1100 conservation treatments
    • 866 at CCI
    • 115 offsite
    • 119 archaeological treatments
  • 675 professional development activities attended
  • 250 internships completed
  • 592 publications (external and internal)
  • 34,488 inquiries received
  • 287 object analyses and examinations
  • 206 collection surveys and risk assessments
  • 545 professional development events hosted
  • 920 facility advisory services
  • 289 lectures given upon request

Top 3 sources of inquiries:

  • 5766 Canadian museums
  • 5499 general public
  • 4188 international community
Infographic – 50 years of CHIN
PDF Version (245 KB)(CHIN)

50 Years of Service of CHIN

The Canadian Heritage Information Network (CHIN) was created to foster sound management of the knowledge and collections developed by Canadian museums. This infographic illustrates the work done since 1972 and how the scope of the services has changed.

This data was collected using various sources over time and may not be comprehensive or exact.

  • 4,476,489 object records in Artefacts Canada
  • 1,477,649 images from Canadian museums
  • 510 contributing institutions
  • 1599 CHIN members as of April 2014
  • 287 institutions reimbursed for Internet training from 1996 to 2016
  • 15,044 bilingual entries in Nomenclature for Museum Cataloging
  • 398 institutions reimbursed for Internet access from 1996 to 2016
  • 930 of these entries have images
  • 139 institutions benefited from the Investment Program

Virtual Museum of Canada (2001 to 2013)

  • 200+ bilingual exhibits
  • 577 Community Memories exhibits
  • 649 partnerships
  • 57,398 records for artists in Canada
  • 8626 information requests
  • 14,465 comments received
  • 438 institutions participated
  • 115 exhibits project managed by CHIN




For 50 years, museum and heritage professionals worldwide have looked to CCI and CHIN for their expertise. Now, CCI and CHIN are preserving and sharing their own stories, which have involved a myriad of remarkable and talented staff members over the years.

Brian Arthur: Director of CCI, 1976–1980

Brian Arthur was the second director of CCI. Originally from the United Kingdom, Arthur became a world-renowned expert in the conservation of pottery (or as he calls it, "sticking pots together").

Peter Homulos: founder of the Canadian Heritage Information Network (CHIN)

Peter Homulos went from being a geology student to a director of the National Inventory Programme, the precursor to CHIN, all before the age of 30.

Lyn Elliot Sherwood: Director General of CHIN, 1993–2003

Lyn Elliott Sherwood, Director General of CHIN from 1993 to 2003, was responsible for the creation of the organization’s most well-known program, the Virtual Museum of Canada.

Judy Logan: adventures of an archaeological conservator

Judy Logan was an archaeological conservator at CCI from 1981 to 2006. She treated and preserved artifacts excavated by archaeologists to prepare them for display in museums.

Season Tse: conservation scientist

Season Tse started working at CCI as a conservation scientist in 1984. Her work as a conservation scientist evolved along with CCI over the years.

Charlie Costain: scientist and heritage advocate

Charlie Costain started working at CCI in 1984 as a conservation scientist, and then he moved through the ranks to become a manager and a director. He is often referred to as one of two CCI mascots, with the other being the infamous “Captain” situated above the doors of CCI’s headquarters.

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