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  1. The Emerging Conservation Professionals Network
    Submitted by the Emerging Conservation Professionals Network Committee

    The Emerging Conservation Professionals Network (ECPN) poster will update AIC members about current projects and will offer more information for prospective members.

    The poster will be divided into four sections: general information about ECPN, education and training information, communications projects, and outreach projects. Each section will include a contact name and instruction on how a new member of the ECPN could become involved in certain projects.

    The general information section will explain the purpose of the ECPN, its organization (including monthly conference calls), its events at the 2011 AIC Annual Meeting, and possibilities for collaborations with organizations like the Canadian Association of Conservators (CAC). The education and training section will describe the mentoring program, collaborations with the AIC’s Education and Training Committee, research for the “Becoming a Conservator’ section of the AIC website, and the graduate school liaison program. The communications section will explain how the ECPN connects and collaborates with other groups within the AIC, such as the Publications Committee and the outreach coordinator, in order to create blog content. Finally, the outreach section will provide details about communicating with memberships through Facebook, blogs, and Flickr; assisting with the Angels Project at the AIC Annual Meeting; and creating content for the blog and the AIC website that provides career-related guidance to emerging conservators and conservation students.

    The poster will also list the dates and times of its events at the Annual Meeting giving prospective members an opportunity to obtain more information or offer feedback on current projects. ECPN committee members will share the responsibility of discussing the purpose of the ECPN and answering questions at the poster site.

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  2. The Analysis and Treatment of Food Artifacts: A Sugar Paste Wedding Cake Topper and President Grover Cleveland’s Wedding Cake
    Emily Hamilton, Buffalo State College Art Conservation Department

    The analysis and conservation treatment of President Grover Cleveland’s wedding cake and a 20th century sugar paste wedding cake topper serves as a case study for the treatment of food artifacts. Objects with food elements are found in archaeological, archival, and increasingly, contemporary fine art collections. Preservation issues for food artifacts primarily involve inherent chemical instability and vulnerability to pest damage. Approaches to the conservation of food artifacts vary, from discarding the food element and retaining the container to extensive scientific analysis and conservation treatment. A survey of these approaches was undertaken in order to determine how food artifacts are dealt with and understood by cultural heritage collections. Analysis of the Cleveland cake, conducted in order to clarify historical understanding and inform the treatment plan, involved identification of cake ingredients with x-ray radiography, x-ray fluorescence, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, and gas chromatography/ mass spectrometry. Prior to beginning treatment, the ethical implications of treating ephemeral materials were evaluated. Conservation treatment of the food artifacts included consolidation, stain reduction, and joining fragments.

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  3. Have Camera, Will Travel: Modifying a Panasonic Lumix Camera for High-Magnification Image Capture and Optimal Portability
    Angela B. Campbell, Mellon Fellow, Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Dan Kushel

    A digital photography system for high quality photomacrography that easily fits into a small tote bag and costs just over $500 was originally developed for a study that documented and compared multiple impressions of Albrecht Dürer’sMelencolia I. Since its development, this camera system has proven to be enormously useful for documentation both in the laboratory and while traveling, as it can capture highly magnified, high-quality images of both two- and three-dimensional objects as well as details of surface texture under various types of illumination.

    When initial research began in 2007, there were no inexpensive point-and-shoot cameras that had the capacity to capture images at the level of magnification required for the study, a field of view measuring only 12 x 9 mm. (Several small point-and-shoot cameras now include an adapter for a close-up lens as a standard accessory, including the newer Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX series, which will be discussed, and the Canon G series, which will not.) It became clear that an additional magnifying lens would need to be mounted to the original lens of whatever camera was purchased. The Panasonic Lumix Camera, Model DMC-LX2 was selected for its high-quality Leica zoom lens, its capacity for high-resolution image capture, and its manually removable lens cap. A high-quality, auxiliary close-up lens was chosen for its ability to provide the necessary magnification and for its 25 mm diameter, which fit snugly into the outermost lens casing of the camera. To ensure both image clarity and capture consistency, a tabletop monopod with a base clamp was used to support the camera over the prints, and the camera was leveled with a spirit level. The subject illuminated by ambient illumination or by a clip-on miniature LED lamp for raking illumination.

    Released in July 2010, the new Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5K camera, with its standard close-up lens and adapter, has the capacity to capture acceptable close-up images, but the extent of magnification is still somewhat limited. As in the original study, an achromatic coated doublet was selected to provide substantially higher magnifications and improved image quality over that of the manufacturer’s standard auxiliary close-up lens. Details of the optical specifications of this lens and its mounting, the camera support system, practical procedures for the use of the camera system, and illustrations of captured images will be provided in this study.

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  4. Characterization of the Effects of Optical Brightening Agents in Papers Using an OceanOptics USB2000+ Spectrophotometer
    Justine Ellis, Paper Conservation Graduate Student, New York University Institute of Fine Arts

    The current method used to detect the presence of optical brightening agents (OBAs) in papers is to use ultraviolet radiation, which induces a bluish-white visible fluorescence. While this method is straightforward and inexpensive, it is not quantitative and does not indicate subtle differences in the intensity of brightness between papers.

    The goal of this poster is to present the use of an OceanOptics USB2000+ spectrophotometer, in conjunction with a UV-filtering film, as a tool that can both indicate the presence of OBAs and quantify the brightness of optically brightened papers.

    Thirteen commercially available papers, some enhanced with OBAs, were selected for this study. Artist papers and office papers were selected to cover the broad range of papers a conservator may encounter.

    Samples containing OBA’s, which were preliminarily identified using a UV lamp, were immersed in 400 mL of deionized water for 24 hours. OBA-free samples were immersed in a mixture of 400 mL of deionized water along with five sheets of OBA-containing paper, cut roughly into 2 inch squares for 24 hours. Following soaking, all samples were air dried on screens.

    Two spectra (wavelength in nm x %reflectance) were obtained for each sample both before and after aqueous treatment. One spectrum was recorded with a UV-filtering film, and one without. When the two spectra of an OBA-containing sample are overlaid, the presence and intensity of the fluorescence produced by the OBA is clearly indicated by a characteristic peak at 440-457 nm. This peak is present only in the spectrum obtained without the UV filter.

    Following aqueous treatment, subtle changes in brightness due to the solubility and transfer of OBAs between papers were difficult if not impossible to detect with the naked eye in visible light or with the use of a UV lamp. However when spectra taken before and after treatment are overlaid, there is a noticeable change in %reflectance. The spectra for OBA-free papers soaked with OBA-containing paper indicated solubility and transfer of OBAs between papers, resulting in an increased %reflectance. Spectral overlays for OBA-containing papers soaked in deionized water indicated dye solubility resulting in a decreased %reflectance.

    Thus, this technique may have the potential to be more accurate and descriptive than the traditional approach of examining OBA-containing samples in a darkened room under UV radiation. While the results of this experiment suggest the strengths of using a spectrophotometer for brightness testing, further research is needed to determine how reliably it can record changes in brightness over time. Further testing is also necessary to determine if measurements made with different spectrophotometers can be compared. Finally, the use of a standardized vocabulary or reference set to express the degrees and types of brightness would be useful in describing objects consistently among conservators.

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  5. Poulticing Poison: The Mitigation of Arsenic with Latex Rubber
    Kari Kipper, Art Conservation Department, Buffalo State College; Dr. Aaron Shugar; and Jonathan Thornton

    Arsenic compounds were commonly employed as pest control measures in ethnographic collections until the middle of the 20th century. Because of their ubiquity, persistence, and acute human toxicity, methods of arsenic detection and mediation are needed to protect those who regularly come into contact with affected items. This is especially important in the context of repatriation, as contaminated objects are sometimes returned to regular use by Native communities and current mitigation methods are not always culturally acceptable. This study evaluates the efficacy of latex rubber poultices by comparing the intensity of arsenic in doped wood before and after poultice application as measured by x-ray fluorescence spectroscopy. Results are verified with laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. When used alone, latex rubber is found to greatly reduce arsenic levels in the doped wood. The addition of a ferric oxide chelator causes a slightly larger reduction.

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  6. Conservation or Restoration? A Middle Ground: The Example of USS Monitor’s Engine Room Clock
    Eric Nordgren, Senior Conservator, USS Monitor Project, The Mariners’ Museum

    Archaeological object conservation seeks to preserve the information contained in an object, including materials, technology, evidence of use, and its position in the archaeological record. It also seeks to render the object stable and readable for study and exhibition. Restoration, when discussed as an alternative to conservation, normally implies rendering the object more complete, functional, or aesthetically pleasing.

    In the case of complex mechanical objects found in archaeological contexts, there is often an interest on the part of both the general public and cultural heritage professionals alike in rendering the object as complete, and in some cases as functional, as possible. Indeed, it has been argued that the object’s ability to function is an integral part of its nature and should be preserved or recreated. This may be possible in some cases with minimum modification to the object, but the ethical responsibilities of the conservator in preventing damage and loss of information must also be considered.

    The clock excavated from the engine room of the Civil War ironclad USS Monitorwhich sank in the Atlantic Ocean in 1862 is an example of the type of object that raises these questions. The Monitor’s clock and its mechanical movement made by Victor Giroud were in excellent condition when brought to the conservation lab of The Mariners’ Museum in 2001, due largely in part to the extensive use of corrosion resistant copper alloys in its construction. As the clock was conserved, it became apparent that steel parts such as the arbors, pinions, and screws had corroded away preferentially resulting in disarticulation of the clock parts during necessary concretion removal.

    The excellent condition of the copper alloy parts and the availability of horological experts willing to collaborate on fabrication of replica ferrous parts suggested the possibility that the conserved clock could also be made to run again. While this possibility created a great deal of excitement and interest, it was much closer to restoration, and not entirely compatible with the ethical conservation goals of preserving original material from alteration, wear, and future damage. Close examination of the extant original parts confirmed the possibility that they could be damaged by operating the clock; and though they were in good condition, they had lost some of their structural integrity.

    In considering these factors, a middle ground of re-integration of the original components with clearly documented replica parts was decided upon for theUSS Monitor clock. While this did not render the clock functional, it did render it visually complete and allow all of the component parts to be correctly located and supported. As the replacement components are in new condition and are physically marked, confusion with the historic parts is minimized. This re-assembly was also completely reversible, and involved no alteration to the original object.

    While it may not be the best approach for all objects with similar concerns, the example of the Monitor’s clock demonstrates that the goals of conservation and visual completeness need not be mutually exclusive.

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  7. Materials Testing: The Use of Heat and Humidity Chambers for Pest Eradication
    Dr. Marieanne Davy Ball ACR, Department of Conservation, Cultural History Museum, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway; and Christina Bisulca and Dr. Nancy Odegaard, Preservation Division, Arizona State Museum, University of Arizona

    Heat has long been used in conservation for the artificial aging of materials, but now it is also being used as a pest eradication treatment. The heat chamber heats objects to a temperature where insects cannot sustain life (~54–60°C) at a chosen, set relative humidity. The chamber is being marketed to museums as a less time-consuming pest eradication treatment because the process can be completed in approximately 16 hours, as opposed to days or weeks needed for freezing or carbon dioxide treatments.

    Museum objects are often complex composites with adhesives, coatings, or natural oils and resins within the materials themselves. Many of these materials have low melting or glass transition (Tg) points, or are prone to thermally induced dimensional or chemical changes. Mechanical properties of certain materials are dependent on relative humdity: of particular concern is Tg, which decreases with increasing relative humdity for many polymers. The migration of waxes and distortion of some objects after treatment in the heating chamber has already been observed. Due to such unknowns, it was deemed important to identify potential problems that can arise from heat treatment.

    To assess the potential effects of the heat treatment, samples of 21 common adhesives, resins, and waxes were tested. For each material, four separate sample preparations were assessed using the material as an adhesive on wood and glass joins, as a film on filter paper, and as a film on glass. These samples were weighed, measured, and photographed prior to and after treatment. Glass film sample preparations were additionally analyzed with Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) to assess any chemical change before and after aging. Due to the probability of an object passing through this eradication process several times within its life, cumulative effects were also recorded from a series of five test runs, recording the core and ambient temperature and relative humidity within the chamber.

    Results show that certain classes of materials were susceptible to specific types of deterioration from heat treatment. Even with fresh materials, the epoxies yellowed and the hide glues and natural resins were prone to yellowing, crazing, slippage in joints, and/or weight loss. Many waxes and some synthetic adhesives melted or slumped during heat treatment. Several natural resins and oils showed chemical change (oxidation, loss of water) based on FTIR results. With further testing on other materials (horn, skin/leather, bone, etc.), we should be able to make informed decisions about which materials can be treated safely using heat for pest eradication.

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  8. Encapsulation and Deacidification—Project Design and Preliminary Results of a Study of Papers Using Long-Term, Low-Temperature Aging
    William Minter, Senior Project Conservator, Heritage Science for Conservation, Johns Hopkins University

    Polyester film encapsulation has become a very popular method of supporting and protecting fragile or deteriorated papers. Even new paper objects, such as maps, that are heavily used in libraries and archives are often encapsulated. Conservation research has shown that deacidification is necessary to slow the accelerated deterioration that encapsulated papers will otherwise undergo. There are, however, many instances where encapsulated items have not been deacidified.

    Earlier research on encapsulation was conducted at high temperatures, i.e. 90°C and 100°C, over short periods of time. Studies at lower temperatures on a variety of standard, period papers are lacking and could provide useful results.

    This study is being performed in collaboration with the conservation research scientists at the Heritage Science for Conservation project in the Department of Conservation and Preservation at Johns Hopkins University. Five different text-weight papers from the mid-1900s, similar to those found in libraries and archives, will be used for this study. These papers will be deacidified, encapsulated, and will then undergo low-temperature accelerated aging at 45°C or 65 °C for 3, 6, 9, and 12 months. Next, the aged samples will undergo analyses such as pH measurement, folding endurance, and tear strength. We will also use alternative research testing techniques, such as size exclusion chromatography, to examine these papers.

    The experimental design of this project and preliminary data are presented in this poster. A full paper will be presented upon completion of the research.

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 View Posters 26-29