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  1. Environmental Control in the Gold Museum, Colombia: Challenges in its Renovation
    Adriana Isabel Páez Cure, Conservator-Restorer of Cultural Heritage, Museo del Oro-Banco de la República, Colombia

    The Museo del Oro - Banco de la República (Gold Museum –Bank of the Republic of Colombia) houses, conserves, researches, communicates, and exhibits a large and unique collection of Colombian archaeological and ethnographic heritage that, in addition to gold artifacts, includes pottery, shell, bone, stone, wood, fabric, and human mummies. This great diversity of material poses special conservation requirements. Although its name refers to a specific material, the museum exhibitions tell stories about the metalworking societies that lived before the Spaniards arrived in America. They present their social and cultural context and the complexity of the pre-Hispanic metallurgy in aspects such as the history, technology, uses, and symbolism. The museum has identified small collection samples for six regional museums around the country focusing on the diverse pre-Hispanic cultures that flourished in each region.  These exhibitions are planned following the cultural dissemination policies of the Museum and the Cultural Management Office of the Banco de la República. The main museum in Bogotá provides information about the entire country, whereas the five regional branches located in the cities of Armenia, Cartagena, Cali, Pasto, and Santa Marta focus on the regional archaeological information.

    In 1998 the museum began an ambitious renovation project of all its branches including the architecture, curatorship, museography, and educational programs. It has been developed in several stages for the Bogotá Museum due to its enormous impact, while regional museums have been renovated one by one allowing a comparative approach to different situations. These plans have had a diverse impact on conservation resulting from architectural and museographical material changes, new archaeological and exhibition approaches that modify spaces, and innovative technologies for displaying and for controlling environmental deterioration. Changes in environmental control have contributed to the collection of large amounts of data and the possibility of monitoring the six museums from one central station with a quick response. Additionally, they have created new challenges such as variations in relative humidity due to combination of new ventilation systems and showcases.
    For those reasons, the role of preventive conservation and environmental control in this transformation is reviewed. In this moment of change, the planning of monitoring procedures, the assessment of the environmental factors of damage, and their control in the six museums are very important.  Evaluation methodologies, periods of response, and the infrastructure required to do it have been established. It is relevant to mention that Colombia is a tropical country and the museums are located in cities with very diverse climates and the solutions have been developed according to each climatic situation.

    (Poster download not available)

  2. Project for a Storage Room and for the Treatment of the Collection at the Afro-Brazilian Museum of the Federal University of Bahia
    Griselda Pinheiro Klüppel, Architect and Associate Professor, Ana Vitória Mello de Souza Gomes, Architect, Marcelo Bernardo da Cunha, Museologist, Associate Professor, and Maria Emilia Valente Neves, Museologist, Federal University of Bahia, Brazil; Teresa Cristina Toledo de Paula, Textile Conservator, Museu Paulista, São Paulo University; João Carlos da Silveira Dannemann, Architect, Assistant Professor, Federal University of Bahia

    The Afro-Brazilian Museum (Museu Afro-Brasileiro, MAFRO), originated as a cooperative project between Brazil and some African nations with the goal of promoting study of Afro-Brazilian culture.
    The collection consists of approximately 1,000 objects of African and African-Brazilian culture. The artifacts, which are made out of iron, wood, clay, straw, feathers, shells, and different types of fabrics, mirror daily life, technological processes, religious ceremonies, artistic events and include sculptures, masks, pottery ware, ornaments, musical instruments, games and tapestries.  Of particular importance is an outstanding set of wooden panels created by the artist Carybé which represent 27 gods (orixás) of the Candomblé pantheon.

    About 80% of artifacts, which could not be put on display, were kept in cardboard boxes on steel racks in a warehouse without adequate physical and environmental conditions. Work on a new storage area was finished in 2009. In addition to architectural changes, a passive environmental control system with mechanical ventilation and a new air cleaning system were installed. Temperature and humidity can be continually monitored and regulated to provide ideal environmental conditions. Collections were classified according to material characteristics, disinfected, restored if necessary, and correctly prepared for storage. A complete inventory, which is accessible through a computerized database, has been created. These improvements benefit all aspects of MAFRO’s work.

    (Poster download not available)

  3. Contemporary Visionary Art Environments and their Preservation: A Case Study of Nek Chand’s Cement Rock Garden in Chandigarh, India
    Tony Rajer, Art Conservator, Nek Chand Foundation; John Maizels, Author/Editor, Raw Vision Magazine

    Self-taught folk art environments pose special challenges regarding their preservation. Often made of inexpensive materials, recycled from other industrial sites, the environments easily decay and die. This is not the case with Nek Chand’s Rock Garden, located in Chandigarh, India. The 25 acre park has nearly 3,000 sculptures made of cement, tiles, glass, and stone. Constructed over a 45 year period, and opened as a public park in 1976, the garden receives nearly 3,500 visitors per day making it the most visited folk art environment in the world, as well as the largest. Maintaining the park and documenting the growth of this extraordinary vision is the intent of the Nek Chand Foundation. Over a ten year period over 100 volunteers from diverse backgrounds, including conservators have been sent to India to work with Nek Chand (b.1924) to document the garden, help conserve it, and enlarge it. This presentation draws upon the rich body of documentary material and highlights the accomplishments and the effort to preserve what many scholars call the “self-taught Taj Mahal of India.”

    (Poster download not available)

  4. Restoration of an Historical Object
    Catalina Rivera, Textile conservator in private practice, Chile

    The following text describes the restoration of a flag presented in honor of the 1818 Oath of Chilean Independence, which was part of a larger project that included the flag’s exhibition and a study of its iconography. The flag, made of light blue, white and red silk satin, has two faces. In the center of each face, there is an oval shield with a painted emblem, made of silk. The object had undergone a prior restoration by Poor Clare nuns in 1975, which ultimately caused wrinkling and distortions in the fabric. More recent damages sustained by the flag included the drying of the fabric, superficial dirt, loss of warp in the red areas, fading, stains, and numerous tears and losses. Each area of the flag received location-specific treatment corresponding to its degree of deterioration. The treatment process consisted of: cleaning; elimination of prior repairs; returning the flag to a flat state; and stabilization. The shields were removed from the flag and treated independently. They were adhered onto crepeline impregnated with Lascaux 360 HV and 498 HV adhesives, and were then attached to a silk support fabric before being resewn to the flag through their edges. All of the fabrics and threads used in these treatments were custom dyed following testing by the Textile Department of the Museo Histórico Nacional, taking into account factors such as neutrality and stability over time. The conservation of the object improved it aesthetically and structurally. In addition to being a significant challenge in professional terms, given the complexity of the flag’s state of conservation, the project required critical judgment skills, interdisciplinary abilities, and teamwork. By preserving part of our country’s heritage, we have permitted new generations to appreciate this national symbol and to understand the socio-historical context in which it was made.

    (Poster download not available)

  5. Research on Alternative Uses for Bookkeeper at Northwestern University Library
    Susan Russick, Special Collections Conservator, and Andrew Azman, Intern, Northwestern University Library

    Northwestern University Library has been a client of the Bookkeeper non-aqueous deacidification product since 1994. Northwestern still turns to Bookkeeper as a non-aqueous deacidifying agent, but over the past year, the Conservation Lab has conducted a variety of experiments on the secondary uses and side effects of Bookkeeper treatment. This research examined the effects of Bookkeeper on the rate of mold growth, the drying of wet books, and the discoloration and wetting of papers. The small scale of the experiments has lead to the observation of a number of intriguing phenomena but few concrete results. Our testing showed that Bookkeeper does effect mold growth, though these results were inconclusive. In some circumstances, Bookkeeper treated documents had decelerated mold growth while for other samples accelerated mold growth was observed. Using Bookkeeper in a makeshift drying system showed slight drying assistance for wet books, but this system may not be feasible on a larger scale. Bookkeeper treated paper had a dramatically increased rate of wetting and showed increased coloration of tidelines upon drying.

    (Poster download not available)

  6. The Huntington Murals: Breathing New Life into a Forgotten Treasure
    Cynthia Schwarz, Kress Fellow in Paintings Conservation, Yale University Art Gallery

    In 1926, Yale University Art Gallery (YUAG) received a gift of over 30 decorative architectural paintings from Collis P. Huntington’s palatial home built in 1893 on New York’s 5th Avenue. The paintings represent an important collection of early American Mural Movement works. With the renovation of YUAG’s Street Hall and a renewed interest in the Mural Movement, the paintings are now being conserved for their installation in the galleries in 2012. Though this project will encompass the conservation of 30 pieces, treatment thus far has focused on nine 40 by 80 inch lunettes by H. Siddons Mowbray (1858-1928). These pieces were hastily detached from the walls and subsequently stored rolled around 2 by 4 inch lumber, resulting in extensive paint losses and structural damages. Though damaged during removal, the untreated paintings were kept in storage for over eighty years. This protected them from the application of surface coatings or other interventions resulting in the surviving surfaces being in pristine condition.

    The treatment of this large collection has presented conservators with several unusual challenges, three of which will be outlined in this poster: the removal of adhesive from the versos, the mounting technique onto rigid supports, and the filling and inpainting system. These three steps represent a sampling of the innovative methods developed to deal with this large damaged collection within a tight time schedule.

    The versos are coated in the original lead white adhesive used to mount them to the mansion’s walls. After examination and extensive testing of many removal systems, a mechanical method for lead paint removal was decided upon that uses a modified version of the strappo technique. After consolidation, lead removal, and tear mending, the Mowbray canvases were mounted onto rigid supports. The specific layering structure of the mounting system was developed after an extensive literature search of previous methods as well as the creation of mock-ups. The murals were lined onto sailcloth with an interleaving layer of nonwoven polyester. Aluminum honeycomb panels were shaped and prepared in-house with inset wooden edging, and four-ply museum board was adhered to the panels. The lined canvases were then cold-lined onto the prepared panels. The layering system resulted in a surface that aesthetically mimics that which the artist intended and allows for several options for reversibility should it be necessary. As the paintings will be hung at a height of 16 feet, they will be consistently viewed in raking light. For this reason, a filling system was chosen that could closely mimic the low, brushy impasto. Beva Gesso was toned with dry pigments, thinned, and applied in a consistency that mimics the lean oil paint used by Mowbray. The fill can then be both carved and manipulated with heat tools to sculpt a surface that continues the brushy pattern of the original.

    (Poster download not available)

  7. Collections Risk Assessment at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science
    Judith A. Southward, Conservator, and Heather H. Thorwald, Registrar, Denver Museum of Nature & Science; Garnet L. Muething, Risk Analyst, and Robert H. Waller, Senior Risk Analyst, Protect Heritage Corp.

    The Denver Museum of Nature & Science (DMNS) received funds from the Institute of Museum and Library Services-Museums for America program to complete a risk assessment of collections in storage. The goal of the project was to develop a preservation strategy based on a systematic and quantitative evaluation of risks to the collection. This involved identifying both the loss in the value and the risk parameters for the collections.

    The DMNS collections contain more than one million objects in the areas of anthropology, earth and space sciences, zoology, and library and archives. They are scattered in 49 locations, only one of which has conditions that meet optimal museum standards. The other 48 locations are crowded and lack one or more important feature such as fire detection and suppression systems, centralized security, or temperature and relative humidity controls. These conditions jeopardize long-term stewardship, restrict public access, and place human safety at risk.

    Risks to the collections had been identified in previous conservation assessments. Still, the DMNS lacked a comprehensive and balanced understanding of all risks affecting collections in storage. A more holistic understanding was required for operational preservation funding and is critical for the inevitable trade off decisions that will occur in the value engineering phases of facility concept and design that are scheduled to begin in 2010 as the museum prepares to build a new collections storage facility. For example, when cost savings must be found and the museum is given the choice of reducing investment in security, climate control, or fire protection which choice will have the least impact on any expected long term loss of collection values?

    The poster will discuss the process and outcomes of the risk assessment as it occurred at the DMNS. Participating staff included Research and Collections, Security, Facility Operations, and the Board Champion for Collections. Working with the museum’s one million objects, staff identified 31 collection units to evaluate. A comprehensive list of risks was developed based on the Cultural Property Risk Analysis Model developed at the Canadian Museum of Nature. In this model, the magnitude of risk is measured as the product of a fraction susceptible, loss in value, probability, and extent (MR=FS x LV x P x E). As part of the risk assessment, DMNS staff identified an average of 91 risks specific to the collection units. These risks were grouped into categories of rare, sporadic, and continual events. An example of a rare event in the Denver area is an earthquake. An example of a continual event is light damage received in open storage. Staff also identified three kinds of value within each loss of value (LV) estimate. These were discipline, historic, and public access values.

    The technical result of the risk assessment exercise is a comprehensive accounting of all identifiable risks to the collections. This will serve as a basis for rational preservation resource allocation both in ongoing collection care and in new facility design. The less tangible but equally important result is a vastly improved mutual understanding of collection preservation issues among all parts of the museum.

    (Poster download not available)

  8. A Case of Cold Lining Used in the Conservation of Thangka Painting
    Hsin-Chen Tsai, Andrew W. Mellon Fellow, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

    This article describes the treatment of a Tibetan painting in the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. The painting had been mounted into a Japanese panel format prior to entering the collection in 1906. Returning the painting to a traditional Tibetan format was the goal; therefore, the treatment involved removing the painting from the panel mount. Various techniques and materials were explored for appropriateness in order to facilitate placement of the painting into a new traditional stitched brocade mount. Since the painting had been cut down and the original stitch holes lost as well as the paint layers being slightly water-sensitive, it was decided that cold lining using the Lascaux Acrylic Glue 498 HV and a supporting fabric could provide extra edges to attach the new mount and provide proper support.

    Before treatment a number of tests using mockups with Lascaux 498 HV and two different activation solvents were conducted. Lascaux 498 HV was prepared into a continuous film and used in the cold lining system. A cold lining system was built using solvent impregnated blotting paper, polyester felt, Gore-tex, supporting fabric, adhesive film, painting mockup, Mylar, and weights. Two solvents, acetone and Industrial Methylated Spirits (IMS, the mixture of 95 parts ethanol, 4 parts methanol and 1 parts water) were tested with different activation times for the cold lining system. The parameters tested were bond strength between mockup and supporting fabric and reversibility. The result of these tests showed that using IMS and Lascaux 498 HV with an activation time from 40-50 minutes provided the desired level of bonding, support and reversibility.

    (Poster download not available)

  9. A Piece of History: The Analytical Study and Conservation Treatment of Madonna and Child, Attributed to Andrea Schiavone 
    Claire Walker, Third Year Graduate Student, and James Hamm, Professor of Paintings Conservation, Buffalo State College Art Conservation Department

    This poster presents the examination, analysis, and treatment of Madonna and Child, an oil painting on canvas attributed in 1914 to Andrea Schiavone, a 16th century Venetian painter. The examination included both traditional photographic and scientific methods of analysis and newer technologies, including computed radiography, digital infrared reflectography, and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy and Raman spectroscopy. The combination of these powerful analytical techniques confirmed key findings such as the presence of lead-tin yellow type II, a pigment that fell out of use between 1750 and 1940, and the discovery that the painting had been cut down from a larger composition. In addition, Madonna and Child was compared to other known works by Schiavone to study the artist’s painting technique and inform treatment decisions, particularly during inpainting. Schiavone scholar Dr. Francis Richardson was also consulted during treatment and provided his thoughts on the painting’s authenticity and authorship. The treatment of Madonna and Child unveils a dramatically transformed painting and a beautiful addition to Schiavone’s oeuvre.

    (Poster download not available)

  10. The Treatment of a 16th Century Medici Account Book
    Dawn Walus, Book Conservator, Weissman Preservation Center, Harvard University Library

    In December 2008, a 16th century Medici Family account book in the collection of Baker Library, Harvard Business School was treated at the Weissman Preservation Center, Harvard University. It is a text bound in limp vellum and secured by linen threads, leather overbands with lacings, and tackets of alum tawed skin, a virtually non-adhesive binding. It was a common structure for trade journals, accounts, and archival records from the early 15th century until the mid 19th century. This poster will illustrate the structure of the binding and the treatment steps utilized to retain the original elements of the binding using minimally invasive methods.

    The binding was in poor condition when it arrived for treatment. More than half of the front cover and a small portion of the back cover were missing due to pests, most likely rodents. One-half of the leather overband (front cover, top) was missing but all others were present and in good condition. Due to the extent of loss on the front cover, there was scant evidence of turn-ins. Back cover turn-ins, however, were visible, with only moderate loss mostly near the fore edge. The sewing and sewing supports were intact and stable despite being cut between the text block and the sewing supports after the last section. Endbands were intact but the peripheral sewing was broken and loose. In addition, the tawed ties around the headband were untied and loose.

    Filling the losses to the front and back covers was the major component of the treatment and the challenge was to fill these substantial losses, restore structural stability and visual continuity to the item while preserving the original material and maintaining the non-adhesive quality of the binding by limiting the use of adhesives. The treatment involved inserting new vellum behind the original material and securing it in place with linen thread and leather ties using existing tacket and lacing holes in the original material. For example, new tackets on the front cover were sewn through original lacing holes with linen thread next to and, when possible, under the leather overbands, minimizing their appearance. Original tawed ties were removed, reserved, and reused, if possible. New holes were punched and new tackets were inserted for the turn-ins, using the arrangement of tacketing on the back cover as a guide. The partially missing overband on the front cover was reconstructed in leather and was attached to the new cover material with leather lacing consistent with the original pattern. Three small tackets of linen thread were inserted through the front cover near the bottom overband and a small amount of isinglass was used to lay down the curling edge; the only instance of piercing through original material and one of few where adhesive was used. Other instances of adhesive use included repairing two small tears to the vellum with goldbeater’s skin/leather and gelatin/isinglass. The treatment of the back cover was performed in a similar manner.

    As a result of this minimally invasive treatment original materials were preserved and the losses were filled with a structurally sound and a visually sympathetic repair using reversible materials and techniques.

    (Poster download not available)

  11. Donato Bastiani and the Oriental Institute Museum
    Alison Whyte, Assistant Conservator, Oriental Institute Museum

    This paper will discuss the work carried out by Donato Bastiani in the early part of the 20th century on archaeological material in the Oriental Institute Museum’s collection. Mr. Bastiani trained as a sculptor and worked for a time under Lorado Taft, creator of the Fountain of Time sculpture located in Chicago’s Hyde Park. Bastiani was then employed as a restorer by the Oriental Institute Museum. His projects included major restorations to monumental sculptures including Neo-Assyrian stone reliefs, a colossal statue of Egyptian Pharaoh Tutankhamun, and a colossal stone bull’s head from the site of Persepolis, Iran. The paper will include a discussion of the materials and methods used by Bastiani and address how conservation treatment methodology and techniques have evolved over time at the Oriental Institute Museum.

    (Poster download not available)

  12. From Keep Out to Hands On: Changes on Conservation Practices
    E. Nathalie Wierdak, Archaeologist, PG in Cultural Management, Research Specialist, Cultural Diversity Centre

    Conflicting demands of research, education policies, politics, economic development and the increasing tourism industry present archaeologists and those involved in the management of archaeological resources with ever more difficult decisions, regarding the successful management of archaeological heritage. Innovative and sustainable solutions are essential and must include communities in preserving their cultural heritage.

    The Sicarigua Community Museum includes a variety of archaeological materials from the region dating from pre-Hispanic times. An education program seeking to encourage wider appreciation of their past among young learners, began in 2007. The goal was to help children understand, value, and enjoy their cultural environs and become custodians of their heritage. Children participated in an archaeological project coordinated with the elementary school; they excavated and conserved artifacts and encouraged family members to participate during weekends. This education program had such a positive impact that the neighboring area of Los Arangues, where the community has engaged local authorities in construction of a museum, asked our assistance in recovering a collection neglected for more than 15 years.

    Conservation of cultural heritage faces many threats: pollution, war, political conflicts among others. However our biggest threat is ignorance. The best way to preserve our heritage is through education and community participation; inviting all those who were told to keep out to take part in a hands on experience which stimulates creative responses and creates an environment for children to learn, think on their own, and have greater awareness and appreciation of their own cultures and the diverse cultures of this changing world we all inhabit.

    We hope this project serves as inspiration for archaeological investigations to be developed with an integrated approach of social participation and inclusion.

    (Poster download not available)

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