39th Annual Meeting – Textiles Afternoon Session, Wednesday, June 1, 2:00-3:00PM, “Another Perspective: Voices from Outside Textile Conservation” Panel Discussion, Moderator: Kathy Francis, Participants: Stephanie Hornbeck, Nancy Pollak, Nancie Ravenel

Do conservators in different specialities think differently? Do they form different perceptions, goals and objectives based on their material specialization? Textiles are often one component of a composite object and how might treatment approach differ when being decided by an object or painting conservator rather than a textile conservator? These were the questions posed for this panel discussion. The moderator, Kathy Francis, (Francis Textile Conservation, NJ) introduced the panel topic with an object treatment she had encountered: a French chef automaton by Gustave Vichy. Rather than conserve the worn suit of clothing, a reproduction set of clothing was made. The treatment emphasized the object’s value as a performance piece that moved and performed and thus favored the object’s primary material with consequence for the textile material (replaced).  Kathy also referred the audience to a paper on factors that influence textile treatment decisions and, particularly, the role connoisseurship bias can play in treatment choices: The Role of Connoisseurship in Determining the Textile Conservator’s Treatment Options by Patsy Orlosfsky and Deborah Lee Trupin, published in the JAIC in 1993. Kathy’s introduction to the topic was followed by presentations from the three panelists:

Stephanie Hornbeck (Caryatid Conservation) drew from her experience treating composite objects at the National Museum of African Art, where she worked for twelve years. She described it as working at the nexus of ethnographic objects and textiles where collaboration was common. Often, work was undertaken after consulting specialists on the various materials composing the object. Furthermore, in this type of collection, wear, evidence of use and native repairs can be of greater influence on treatment.

Nancy Pollak (Paintings Conservator, Art Care Associates) discussed paintings on canvas versus painted textiles. In the case of a painting, the canvas is the support. It is referred to as a canvas rather than a textile. In the case of a painted textile such as a banner, for example, the textile is viewed as more of an integral component of the aesthetic value or design. Nancy concluded by suggesting that the conservator evaluate an object by questioning which material is in the role of master and which in the role of servant. In the case of a traditional painting, servant is to master as canvas is to painting but when considering a trade banner, this relationship becomes harder to define.

Nancie Ravenel (Conservator, Shelburne Museum) discussed managing conservation and preservation of a large collection without a textile conservator on permanent staff. She relies on a combination of IMLS grant funded conservation surveys by textile conservators, dedicated volunteers to carry out basic textile conservation work, contract textile conservators and collaboration with textile conservators as guidance for complex treatments. She presented the treatment of pieces from a Tiffany-designed suite of upholstered furniture as an example of collaborative treatment with upholstery conservator Nancy Britton consulting.

It would have been nice to have more discussion time afterward as there were many questions and comments. A contemporary paintings conservator whose work often emphasized restoring work to a pristine condition, asked the panel how they arrived at their aesthetic and responses included: “Its fluid”, “It depends”, “subjective”, “case by case”, “determined by aesthetic of the curator”.

An art historian commented that replicas for display purposes should be used more often to resolve conservation issues and that museum visitors didn’t care about original material anyway, that was of interest only to scholars. Many in the audience, myself included, were wary of this suggestion. I think I mostly take issue with the suggestion that museum visitors don’t care if they are viewing a replica. There are, of course, appropriate uses of replicas in place of the original material, or displayed alongside original material to aid understanding of the object’s function- as another commented: “Seeing a flag fly”. The art historian was perhaps referring to contemporary art and installation art where the wishes of the creator are still known and the ideas conveyed have more significance or value than the media or material. In contrast, history collections or ethnographic/material culture collections often place significance on evidence of use, wear and repairs and the original material has cultural value. Another commented that in museums, objects have been removed from their original context anyway. As mentioned earlier, the JAIC article by Orlofsky and Trupin, offers multiple examples of the role, or current context, of the object influencing the conservation process. A fine art museum might value the aesthetics of an object while an history museum might value the same object for its cultural significance or original use.

Someone questioned whether the objects conservator was unique to North America as she hadn’t really encountered the term before. Nancie Ravenel confirmed the definition of objects conservator as a general specialist and emphasized that she is continually learning by taking workshops and through communication and collaboration with colleagues. The generosity of colleagues in sharing their expertise with each other was a recurring theme in the TSG sessions.

To summarize, the panelist presentations and the discussion afterward suggest that yes, conservators in different specializations do think differently and probably also think differently depending on the role, or context, ascribed to the object by a museum, curator or collector. The variety of factors that influence conservation treatment decisions really do call for a case by case approach. Often, collaboration and consultation between conservators from different specializations guides development of informed treatment goals and objectives.


39th Annual Meeting – Painting Session, June 2, “When You Come to a Fork in the Road, Take It: Two Directions for the Conservation of an Anselm Kiefer” by Per Knutas, Chief Conservator, Cincinnati Art Museum

This fascinating talk explored some of the challenges presented by contemporary artworks that embrace physical change over time.

ICA Art Conservation was contacted after a large scale mixed media Anselm Kiefer painting was severely damaged in transport. Director Al Albano had interviewed the artist previously and was familiar with his materials, which included acrylic paint, lead, straw and two large steel objects mounted with cleats. The artist’s working methods were described as follows: paint applied to the support, then covered with hot lead and more paint, then intentional tearing and scraping, with areas of lead pulled up to reveal the paint below.

On site examination of the work revealed a 25 x 15 inch lead fragment at the bottom of the travel crate. The relatively straightforward problem of how to reattach this fragment was complicated when photo details from two previous exhibition catalogs revealed discrepancies in the area of damage. Apparently, the artist’s assistants had made emergency repairs at each venue of a traveling exhibition. Four campaigns of staples and three different colored silicone adhesives attested to the alterations. To further complicate matters, the painting’s original state was undocumented, and the owner didn’t want the artist to be contacted.

Initial repositioning of the fragment no longer corresponded to its previous placement due to a ball-like lead distortion and to previously applied red silicone adhesive. After “endless discussion about how to move forward,” three different approaches for reattachment of the lead fragment were suggested:

1.  Attempt to return the lead fragment to its original appearance by rejoining it to form an unsupported fold as seen in the earliest photo documentation. This option was considered too invasive and thought to lack structural integrity.

2. Re-attach fragment as per photo detail in the 1987 catalog. Unfortunately, the ball-like lead distortion didn’t correspond to photo documentation, and a “tube” shape that was visible in the photo detail had gone missing.

3. Flatten the lead fragment and re-attach over existing ball-like shape. This option was ruled out as too free an interpretation.

Option 2 was considered to be the most viable course of action. In subsequent treatment, the ball-shaped lead component had to be removed from the work and repositioned to allow for a more precise fit of the lead fragment. Silicone adhesive was then custom formulated for color match, tensile strength and working time by a local Ohio manufacturer.  Happily, when the ball-shaped lead was unraveled, it turned out to be the missing tube shape as seen in photo details. The lead fragment was flattened and reattached with final results far exceeding expectations. The treatment was considered to be a great success.

Daisy Craddock

Craddock Painting Conservation


39th Annual Meeting – Architecture Student Session, 6/2/2011, 9:40AM-10:40AM

Following my own presentation in this session, I had the privilege of listening to my colleagues at Columbia University and the University of Texas-Austin discuss their research on architectural conservation material issues.

Sarah Sher (Columbia) exposed the design theory behind soiling on Marcel Breuer’s buildings through conducting an elaborate study of his personal writings and lectures.  She challenged conservators that approach Breuer’s structures to view the soiling as significant to its overall design aesthetic, because it was intentional.  For Breuer, reinforced concrete was the ideal material- requiring little to no cleaning (as opposed to its glass/steel counterpart), and that soiling in fact enhanced the aesthetic of the architecture “to aid in the process of aging.”  In the section of her presentation entitled “Designing the Aging Process,” Sher focused her discussion on Breuer’s Cleveland Trust tower.  Breuer anticipated heavy soiling on the structure, quoting the effects of polluted Cleveland air.  He designed for this effect, which he believed allowed shadowing and depth of the surface.  Sher ended her talk with Riegl’s conception of age value, and the questions that modernist pose for conservation interventions.  With a fascinating talk, Sher introduced research into a field that will need to be expanded and better understood as we are increasingly working on modernist and Brutalist structures.

Sarah Caitlin von Hedemann (Columbia) presented her thesis research on current cleaning formulations for removing biogrowth on stone, utilizing a newly manufactured Prestor gel.  She utilized laboratory testing, as well as field tests on sites around the city of New York, including 1- Wallace limestone (facade of the Metropolitan Museum of Art), 2- Indiana limestone (exterior of The Cloisters museum), 3- Texas limestone (Bronx Victory Memorial), 4-Tuckahoe marble ( Lagrange Terrace, Delbarton School), and 5- Carrara marble (Portrait Bust, Delbarton School) –if I mislabeled or misunderstood any of these stone types, please comment to correct me!  Utilizing analytical tests ranging from XRD, SEM-EDS, FTIR and GC-MS, she tested the products’ effectiveness and the presence of residues left by the cleaners.  von Hedemann concluded with her recommendations:  Prestor gel should be used for less porous stone, as it had atendency remove porous stone surfaces, CB-4 requires more research but was overall ineffective and left larger residues, BioKlean was successful but this might be due to its 2-step process and it is considered very agressive and alkaline, and D-2 and BioWash had average cleaning capability.

Payal Vora (UT-Austin) studied as a Materials Science engineer in her undergraduate education, and became interested in preservation efforts following natural disasters.  Her thesis is an extension of this interest, as she conducted a study of masonry cleaners for Fort Livingston, LA following the 2010 Gulf coast oil spill.  The fort, located on Grand Terre island is the only occupied barrier island in Louisiana, and has been greatly affected by the spill due to erosion issues that allow parts of the fort to remain underwater.  The unprecedented contamination of the spill, required a technical study to guide conservation efforts, and this was spear-headed by NCPTT and UT’s Architectural Conservation Laboratory.  Unable to remove original material from the fort, NCPTT provided contemporaneous brick (from a demolished early 1900s home) as samples for Vora’s study.  Developing her experimental design,Vora prepared her samples according to ASTM C-67-09, she developed a method for soiling the samples, and conducted artificial weathering with an Atlas C-4000 Xenon Arc Weather-oMeter on the brick Q-series.  On the U-Series, samples were unweathered, but placed in an oven for 8-10 hours to ensure samples were dry prior to cleaning.  Cleaners were chosen from the National Remediation Plan’s list of approved cleaners for the Gulf Coast spill- the 6 final choices were Petro-Clean, Cytosol, SC-1000, Gold Crew, De-Solv-It Industrial Form and De-Solv-It APC.  Cleaning was evaluated using telecolorimetry and a visual inspection survey.  Responding to a national crisis, the project represents an important effort in disaster relief for historic structures.

It was a pleasure to hear about the incredible work being done by emerging professionals in this field!

39th Annual Meeting – Electronic Media Afternoon Session 6/3/11, Equipment Obsolescence, The Tree Decision Making Model for the Preservation of Technological Equipment for Time Based Media Art, a DOCAM Research Tool Outcome, Richard Gaigner

Richard Gaigner, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts
The Tree Decision Making Model for the Preservation of Technological Equipment for Time Based Media Art, a DOCAM (Documentation et Conservation du Patromoine des Arts Mediatiques) Research Tool Outcome

The goal of the project was to take a holistic approach to time based media, and to bring awareness to the format.  The research was done in French because DOCAM is located in Montreal, but also to augment the small amount of research in French in this field.  The research team was made up of 14 researchers from a variety of backgrounds and expertise.  Did the research by focusing on 7 case studies.  Established a topology of practice and approach to the issues at hand.

Case one involved a very specific installation, and a complicated production of the image.  The artist took parts from multiple films to create a complex layered image.  Used a Barco projector to show the image.  Over time these machines essentially self destruct, so migration had to be considered.  Looked at the complexities of creating a suitable substitute.

Case two was an early Jenny Holzer sign made by the American Sign Company (which only existed for a short time), which predates her LED work.  The sign took a lot of wear due it’s design, which uses an electric arm to turn tiny RGB beads to create the image.  The sign had stopped working so the artist’s suggestion was to recreate the technology, but it was an expensive project.  The other option was to recreate the sign in LED.

Case three is a computer based design program, which makes “blob architecture”.

Caase four is a Nam June Paik from 1989, ten monitors making up a sculpture.  The issue was the CRT monitors undergoing expected degradation.

Case five is a Sony video Walkman, a mini tv essentially.  This piece was acquired unable to produce an image, and they were unable to fix it.  After contacting the artist the solution was to use a Casio mini monitor as a replacement.  They have been trolling eBay now looking for replacements for the original monitor.

Case six is a monitor with a piece of paper held on the screen by static to make the image look more grainy.

***I seem to be missing the seventh case from the DOCAM project here, if anyone has notes on it please contact me so I can add the missing information (mmw356@nyu.edu).  My apologies!

Out of the project they developed a three part guide: common problems, recommendations, etc.  They also thought critically about integrity and authenticity of art (Brandi), and the significance of the work, its behavior, the viewers experience, and aesthetics.

The decision making tree was made in Free Mind, an open source program, which asks you a series of question like, can it be repaired?  Do you want to repair it?  The steps help you to make an informed decision as to whether to fix or replace the equipment.  More questions include is the equipment visible?  Does it have any other significance to the work?  Is the equipment stable or obsolete?  Is it easy or hard to replace the equipment?  The tree is only available in French, but it can be accessed online on the DOCAM website.

Question: how can we apply Brandi’s theories to time based media more specifically?  Brandi is a good starting point to think about the significance of original material, particularly with TBM

39th Annual Meeting – Electronic Media Afternoon Session 6/3/11, Equipment Obsolescence, The Preservation of Display and Playback Equipment for Audiovisual Art, Emanuel Lorraine

Emanuel LoRraine, PACKED, Brussels
Joint project with Netherlands Institute for Media Art, supported by the Ministry of the Flemish Community.

Goals of this project include the identification of people who could help with the equipment, find spare equipment, create inventory of people who could transfer old media, collect guidelines and make a useful model for dealing with electronic equipment in art collections.  Interviewed manufacturers, technicians and transfer services, AV archives, TV channels, conservators, media art centers, and computer gaming associations.  Found that literature was limited and hard to access.  Gathered a lot of info from the interviews, found an overall importance placed on common sense.

The most important first step is to achieve the best possible storage conditions.  Storage should have good piping and controlled atmosphere, and protection against fire and theft.  These points may seem elementary, but they are the first defense in avoidable damage.  Generally found that the professionals interviewed recommend 0-40 degree temperature (Celsius) for storage, and they often recommended different temperatures for storage than for exhibition.  Some said store below 18 degrees to slow chemical deterioration.  If the temp is over 40ish deterioration will accelerate, weaken spot welds, and deform many plastics.  Humidity is also a factor in these processes.  20-80% RH is the range recommended by the people interviewed, but best if below 45%.  If the humidity is low it can also encourage static discharge in the equipment.  Cabinets can be used to control the RH.  Sunlight should be strictly limited because it effects temperature, and fading and yellowing of plastic parts.  Storage space should be regularly cleaned because dust and dirt will clog equipment.  Smoke also has an adverse effect.  Equipment should not be stored on the ground, but on raised shelves.  Metal shelves are better than wood, and they should be quite stable.  Equipment should not be stacked on shelves, not left plugged in, cables should be properly wound and stored.  Batteries should be removed because they can leak acids and bases into the rest of the equipment.  Batteries have about a one year life, any equipment that requires batteries and stores information should have the info backed up before the batteries are removed.  Metal and plastic boxes are a good solution for storage.  Sealing in a plastic bag is also an option.  Dormancy is a problem so techs recommend turning the equipment on regularly to prevent breakdown.  Range from once a month to once a year for about an hour, depending on the machine.  Once a year or once every six months seems acceptable.

Misuse of equipment can be a serious problem, such a wrong voltage, dust exposure, use of spoiled cables, etc., and can ead to serious damage.  Angle of tilt is also an important factor to be aware of.  Strong contrast should not be used in CRT technology because it can cause image burn in.  CRT monitors usually have failure of the tube, which can be replaced but replacement supplies are decreasing quickly.

The results of these interviews will be published in a forthcoming publication.

Questions: one useful source is the standards on the care of large and industrial collections written in 1994

39th Annual Meeting – Electronic Media Afternoon Session 6/3/11, Equipment Obsolescence, Collection Complexities of the Goodwill Computer Museum, Virginia Luerhsen

Karen Pavelka (lecturer, University of Texas at Austin, School of Information)
Virginia Luehrsen (phD student, University of Texas at Austin, School of Information) *presenter
Collection Complexities of the Goodwill Computer Museum

The Goodwill Computer Museum in Austin, TX, was opened in 2005 and presents educational exhibits in computer technology.  The museum also provides information and support on the appropriate disposal and recycling of computers.  The museum is staffed by a director and twelve volunteers from UTexas, a collaboration that started in 2009, which now supports students doing surveys, creating databases, restoration, and cataloging.  Trying to gain better intellectual control over materials.  Challenges include building and facilities at the GCM.  The museum is split into four main areas, with an additional resale shop.  Computers in the museum are not kept plugged in and running because of the cost.  The archive contains manuals, documentation, and relative software.  Computer materials are processed in the same space as the rest of goodwill donations, which causes problems.  Moving between the four storage areas is difficult, which is an issue they are trying to address in grant applications.  Major donations have come in but space for storage is limited.  Light is fluorescent so visible and UV light levels are high.  Biggest problem is the generation of dust that accumulates on al, the equipment.  Loading bays introduce a high RH, pests, and dirt into the space.  There are no clear guidelines yet for storage and handling of the electronics, implementation is problematic, staff is inadequate, and there is yet to be a clear development plan.

The museum is a functioning museum, conservation is important and has been incorporated from the beginning.  Conservation at the GCM is about preserving the artifact, and the experience of using the machine.  The current museum director is an important resource to the museum, and has a background in software engineering.  Cleaning of the electronics is performed but mainly concerns dusting exteriors.

The preservation team is developing a machine called the “ditto”, which saves information from discs on bit stream.  They are also recreating an early computer.

The paper collection has conservation needs mainly in the area of rehousing, but in some cases greater intervention is needed.  They are currently using distance education tools to learn about appropriate conservation practices, often using Skype in a setup time frame for each project.  They were surprised by how effective the Skpye system is, and how much time is saved.  The technicians are working on site at the GCM, and Skyping with conservator Karen Pavelka at UT, which about 10 miles away.  They are exploring the applications of this remote training technique for situations such as emergency response after disasters.  Considering use of telephone lines rather than wifi in areas where that service is more reliable (ie Haiti).  Also transferring images via smart phones.  Looking forward to developing these projects with the UT partnership.

Questions: has Skype technique gone to CERT?  Yes, in coordination.  How do you get people interested in the collection if the machines don’t run?  Do scheduled demonstrations now, in the future want to employ docents to monitor the systems so people can use the machines.  Did have a problem with vandalism, so require more employees.  Suggestion to set up a calendar for different days spent on particular and popular technology, which may help draw interest and visitors.  Suggestion about dust accumulation to tent the area with plastic and pressurize it.  How is the software being dealt with?  One problem is law against retaining machines with personal information, which includes systems that have been modified.  Have a store of software they can reinstall on good machines, but most info is on the original carrier.  What would the ideal storage conditions be?  Address biggest concerns such as dust, reallocating space, increasing security in the galleries, possibly move to a new space.  Ideal would be 45-50% RH and 65 degrees.  Hard to define ideal because so many different media, so really need separate storage spaces.  What is the community around the museum?  Lots of retired engineers and currently working engineers, recent engineering and IT grads, and current students in the same disciplines.

39th Annual Meeting – Workshop: From the Lab to Field Choosing and Using Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

From the Lab to Field Choosing and Using Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Dawn Bolstad-Johnson, MPH, CIH, CSP

Chris Stavroudis, Paintings Conservator in Private Practice

So I tried to take down as much information as I could that was presented at this workshop which, by the way, was excellent. There is a LOT of helpful and interesting information that (I hope) will be helpful and interesting to our blog-reading audience.

So, here we go!

Objectives of the Workshop:

  • Determine minimum PPE needed in the lab at disaster scenes
  • Review of Typical Exposures Hazards
  • Routes of Entry
  • Hierarchy of Controls
  • Common PPE
  • Common complacency of not using PPE
  • Health effects from typical exposures
  • Tips to protect yourself
  • How to address situations where all parties are not wearing PPE

Hierarchy of Controls

  • Engineering Controls
    • Local exhaust (e.g. fume hood)
    • Product replacement
  • Administrative Controls
    • Employee rotation for a task which involves the exposure, so that one person is not exposed to the hazard repeatedly
  • PPE is always the last resort
    • Wearing PPE should NOT create a new hazard
      • E.g. fire fighters have to wear it because you cannot engineer or administrate the hazards out
  • OSHA standard 29 CFR 1910.132
    • Employers need to do a hazard assessment to determine if hazards present necessitate the use of PPE
    • Students and volunteers are also included under this as well
    • Employers must certify in writing that the hazard assessment was conducted – job hazard assessment: hazards identified in all parts of the job that needs to be performed e.g. soot cleaning from painting
    • PPE selection must be made on the hazard assessment and affected workers properly trained. Defective or damaged PPE must NOT be used

Routes of Entry

  • Typical Hazards to Conservators
    • Inhalation
      • Particulate
        • Mold
          • Ubiquitous
          • Health concerns arise when the concentration of mold inside the building is significantly higher than outdoor concentrations
            • We are in filtered air inside building which should be lower than outdoor
          • Identifying the concentration of the mold is more important than identifying the actual species of mold
          • “Black mold” scare was the result of a report by the CDC that babies were inhaling stachybotrys and lungs were bleeding from the inside.  The actual truth was discovered in the autopsies: only the upper respiratory tract was affected.  The CDC retracted their statement after discovering the error, but it’s too late and the media has blown it all out of proportion.
          • Sampling techniques
            • Air samples on agar – potato dextrose agar for mold in early 1990s
            • Now with spore traps for air sampling – cover slide inside a cassette – captures live and dead – sample is about 5 minutes of air flow sampled
            • Swab samples also
            • Bulk samples (e.g. sample on wall, ceiling) – culture is performed
            • Need to compare with the OUTSIDE mold spore numbers to get an accurate picture of the problem
            • Where do you take the sample? Take 3 samples in the size of Marriot’s Salon A and 2 samples outside – 2 samples for a smaller space or 1 for a very small space
            • To get rid of it: remove moisture (e.g. dehumidifier); if it’s in the wall and has no way to get out (e.g. electrical outlets, phone jacks), there is nothing to worry about
            • Dry spores are just as harmful as active spores
            • As a practice, in a water soaked facility, check not only artifacts and shelving, but also the walls and the carpeting
            • Dust near water damage could be dry mold and therefore a respiratory hazard
            • Working in fume hood or elephant trunk is advised when working with any type of mold
            • Vacuuming: use HEPA vacuum and throw away the filter in plastic bag
            • Nilfisk’s helpful hint for filter disposal: put plastic shopping bag under the vacuum filter in the vacuum and then when you throw it away, you can bag it and throw it away
          • Facts about mold
            • Classified as viable (live) and non-viable (dead)
            • Both are health hazards if inhaled
            • Mold affects everyone differently
              • Mold growth in the lung is called – aspergilliosis, as aspergillus is the likely culprit
            • Mold can establish itself 24-48 hours following water intrusion
            • Most likely species will be penicillium (aggressive – first one “out of the gate”) and/or aspergillus
            • Presence of penicillium can introduce a musty odor to the environment – indicator
            • Concentration can change from room to room – odor just means a presence not necessarily at a toxic level because toxicity varies from person to person – floats in a “cloud”
            • TANGENT: Fact about cigarette smoke and “smoker’s cough”: Silia hairs in lungs are paralyzed by nicotine; when nicotine wears off, the silia then try to expel smoke by-products aka cough and when the person smokes again, the silia are paralyzed again and the cough goes away
        • Dust
          • When is dust an inhalation hazard?
          • 10 micron size particulate can get into your upper respiratory tract
          • 5 micron size particulate can get into your lower lung
          • What’s in dust?
            • Fire retardants from plastics in our house
            • Nuisance dust not otherwise specified
            • Asbestos fibers
              • Break along both axis making the fibers breathable
              • Asbestos is a natural occurring mineral and is inorganic
              • Our bodies cannot digest asbestos fibers.  When they deposit in your lung, your lung will try to digest the foreign body and it cannot digest it. Scar tissue will form over the fiber causing mesothelioma (cancer of the inner lining of your body only from asbestos – 30 year latency period)
              • Silica fibers do the same thing
            • Fiberglass
    • Should you be concerned with fiberglass exposure? Yes! No regulations for it, but you should be concerned, as it is extremely small shards of glass essentially.
    • Mouse droppings (hanta) – spray with Lysol to prevent particles from becoming airborne and spreading
    • Bird droppings (histoplasmosis)
    • Soot
      • Underwriters Lab – Average home has 1700 lbs of plastic in it
      • NIST Video of room containing legacy (all wood older furniture and natural fibers) versus modern (modern plastics, fabrics, etc.) – modern flashover time 3:40 / legacy flashover time: 30 minutes
      • You could be going into these environments for recovery
      • Modern room = more and more toxic during the fire and after
      • Fire soot contains: AIC Journal article– hydrochloric acid, metals, cyanide salts.
    • OSHA standards are MINIMUM STANDARDS and some have not been updated since 1968! When protecting yourself and others, do better than the OSHA standards
    • Paper masks cannot be used for asbestos (P100, N95)
    • Charlie Morecraft – Exxon – safety videos
  • Respirators
    • Protection Factor of 10 (although she says that the paper disposable ones shouldn’t have that good enough of a seal around the face to provide that amount of protection).
    • Half mask respirator is better than the disposable mask
  • Tyvek suits – plastic guard for asbestos
    • Now breatheable suits are available also made of Tyvek – KleenGuard Select made by Kimberly-Clark
  • Videos for safe removal of PPE e.g. gloves, suits so you don’t contaminate yourself/ skin/ clothes: one example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iHBbWLYpCuU
  • Bootie covers to prevent contamination of shoes
  • Chemicals

    • Absorption
      • Solvent on Hands
        • Includes all solvents you use
        • Isopropyl alcohol to kill mold
        • Chronic use of solvents can often result in the defatting of the skin if proper gloves are not worn
        • Glove limitations
          • One type of glove is not sufficient for all of the different chemicals you may use in your practice
            • E.g. Nitrile gloves are not recommended for Methyl Ethyl Keytone
          • Check with the glove manufacturer for their Chemical Resistance
          • Glove Breakthrough Times – USE CHARTS made by glove manufacturer e.g. Ansell
          • For mixtures of solvents, get a glove that covers all solvents. If not available, use the one that has the highest concentration in the overall mixture
          • Latex – overall poor choice because they are very porous and latex allergy
      • Chemical in the eyes – anything that can splash
        • Amount in container doesn’t matter – if it can splash, it’s an eye hazard
    • Ingestion
      • Studies show that a person raise their hands to their face once every 20 minutes
      • Ingestion occurs from hand to mouth activity
      • Blood contamination
      • Sewage contamination
        • Standing water of unknown origin could be sewage contamination
        • Can be sampled for e-coli – litmus test for sewage – can do this dry – can be there weeks, months later
          • Test results are a week turnaround time – not a quick test
      • Hepatitis B can survive up to 7 days in blood
      • Hepatitis A can survive up to 7 days in sewage
      • Wash your hands A LOT
      • Handwashing: antibacterial soap NOT a good idea because it kills good and bad bacteria – use alcohol-based sanitizer if no handwashing stations available
      • What is proper handwashing? – 15-20 seconds! Sing Happy Birthday twice! Soap up and vigorous rubbing
      • Artificial nails harbor a LOT of bacteria (ewww)
      • CDC has a video on proper handwashing to the tune of Rolls Royce’s “Car Wash” (dance while washing your hands!)
    • Insect Bites
      • Mosquitoes
        • West Nile
        • Malaria
        • Encephalitis
      • Bed bugs
        • Look for in hotel under sheets and mattress pad/ cover– little ink spots from ballpoint pen – fecal matter from the bedbug (ick)
        • Kill with heat treatment!
          • In one instance in a building infestation, propane heaters were placed in the building and heated up to 160F degrees for four hours
          • They apparently have dogs that sniff out bed bugs and mold too!?! Apparently bed bugs give off an odor… eww…
    • Eye injuries
      • Ammonia burn
      • Chemical burn
      • Corneal laceration
        • Eye wash ASAP! FAST!!!
        • Run eye wash 1x / month for maintenance
      • Engineer your hazard out – splash injury – use dispensing bottle, smaller amounts so less risk for splashing
      • Wear goggles with contact lenses – contact lens can fuse to eye
      • New eye protection standards in latest AIC News
      • Common causes of chemical eye burn
        • Ammonia, bleach, and toilet bowl cleaner
        • Vinegar and glass polish
        • Dishwasher detergent, oven cleaner, drain cleaner
        • Contact lens cleaner
        • Car battery fluid
      • PPE for eye protection
        • Goggles
        • Safety glasses and face shield
    • Ergonomics
      • Proper lifting techniques
        • Elbows tucked into torso versus stretched arm
        • Bending at waist to pick up something versus bending legs
      • Reaching techniques
        • Keep load close to your body – no outstretching – same for typing, or reaching for the phone
      • OSHA Zones
        • Green zone
          • Arms tucked tight into your torso biceps doing the work
        • Yellow zone
          • Some extension but not full
        • Red zone
          • Full extension of arms
          • Full extension of torso
          • Back brace serves as reminder to use legs, but does not provide support
      • Seat position: two finger width distance between knee and edge of chair
      • Slide seat panel out for long legs
      • Back support for some chairs – adjustable
  • Minimum PPE for Emergency Response
    • Thin nitrile gloves
    • N95 filtering face piece
    • ½ mask respirator with cartridges
    • Steel toed shoes
    • Safety vest
    • Hard hat
  • How often should you replace PPE?
    • Respirators
      • ALWAYS if the respirator face piece shows any signs of deterioration, cracks, etc. or if the inhalation valves are cracked, warped, or missing
      • Check with the manufacturer for specific shelf-life years
      • Generally speaking they should be replaced every 5 years
    • Glasses
      • Immediately if there are excessive scratches or damage
      • 10 years otherwise
    • Goggles
      • Immediately if scratches/ damaged
      • Every 3 years
    • Gloves
      • Stored in a response bag
      • Replace with new gloves every year
  • During the workshop, they put this phosphorescent powder on our handouts to see how much we touched our faces! LOVE IT!!! I didn’t touch my face because I was so busy typing for this blog…
  • Portable UV light was used to detect powder – UV 5X shortest wavelength (340 nm I think was the shortest wavelength for the light)

  • Lab Safety
    • She listed the standard “dos and don’ts” that we all know we should do… but often don’t do. Listing the standard dress code, don’t wear open toed shoes, tie your hair back cited the Yale example of the girl who died in the chemistry lab this past year.
    • General safety rules: no food and drink – cross contamination. Know the equipment you’re using, know where all safety gear is, bucket of safety glasses by the door for visitors
    • Health hazards in the lab: organic solvents, chemistry professor died from mercury poisoning after a small drop of dimethylmercury got on her glove.  Post doc wearing wrong glove when working with concentrated sulphuric acid – 2nd degree burns
  • Tips, tricks
    • Electricity
      • Electricity and water don’t mix
      • Is the power off when they told you?
      • Is the power on when they told you?
      • GFCI device
      • Circuit alert non-contact voltage tester – non-contact (device to detect conductivity). Also one for testing the lights in your Christmas lights
    • Wear the right footwear – electrical insulating, steel toe, high enough to keep socks dry
    • Use HEPA filter vacuums ONLY
    • Herd mentality
      • In response stay with the herd, use the buddy system, have a meeting point in case you get separated
    • When people won’t wear PPE:
      • Fire fighters – “like teaching safety in a frat house” (I thought that was HILARIOUS BTW) – SCBA (Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus) needs to stay on because they enter “chemical soups” that our half face masks couldn’t handle
      • Legal issues with handing out masks to laypersons e.g. firefighters handing out masks to homeowners after a fire
      • Think of it this way in terms of people refusing to wear PPE: give people the knowledge and then if they choose not to wear PPE, then they know the risk
      • Responding to after fire, formaldehyde is the biggest danger as a carcinogen. Use CBRN canister (Chemical, Biology,  Radiological and Nuclear) that protects against formaldehyde
  • If you find any errors, spelling errors, etc. please let me know and I will be happy to change them! Thanks so much.

    39th Annual Meeting – Textiles Afternoon Session, Wednesday, June 1, A Versatile Mannequin Design, Gwen Spicer, Spicer Art Conservation, LLC

    Gwen presented a step-by-step instructional guide to a mannequin design she created with the help of Small Corp Inc.  Small Corp created custom internal metal armatures onto which Gwen built custom Ethafoam torsos. The “sideways ladder” design of the armature ensures straightness of form on the base.

    This mannequin design was initially created for the exhibit America by Air at the National Air and Space Museum but Gwen has since used the design for several other diverse projects.  Gwen illustrated the adaptability and versatility by showing images of the design being employed for clothing from various fashion periods and ethnic groups. You can also view some of these images on the Spicer Art Conservation Website.

    Gwen’s presentation was clear and comprehensive with discussion of each step of the process including measurement taking (a measurement sheet is available), tools and materials used. Discussion afterward clarified the approximate cost of armature for a mannequin (about $600 though it probably varies depending on amount ordered) and approximate time estimate for creating the Ethafoam torso (about 4 hours with experience). As the metal armature components can be mixed and matched and potentially re-used with a new Ethafoam torso, this mannequin design seems like a viable option for mannequin display system that could be adapted for multiple uses over time.



    39th Annual Meeting – Workshop: Understanding Microclimates, May 31st, Fenella France & Rachael Perkins Arenstein


    I want to preface to my first blog with a little bit about me. I am a bench conservator at the Metropolitan Museum, working on the reinstallation of the Islamic Art collection into newly designed galleries and storage space. I do not actively monitor the environment nor participate in the specifications for exhibition cases. My perspective on the workshop, therefore, may differ from a conference participant who actively works in these areas, but like many of my colleagues, I am intrigued by preventive and exhibition conservation. The field is never stagnant and new technologies are arriving all the time. Recently, moreover, there is increasing pressure to provide data on the museum environment in terms of economic concerns and carbon footprint.  The workshop, then, was a great opportunity to hear from two people who are active in this area with extensive experience to share with all of us.

    Fenella and Rachael presented their workshop in an over air-conditioned meeting room at the Marriott. I really enjoyed their presentation and I am looking forward to going over the binder full of articles and useful information that they distributed. In the morning Fenella went over a mountain of information pertaining to all aspects of microclimates. I loved how she emphasized that the microclimates are not just sealed boxes but the concept of microclimates can also be a storage cabinet or sealed room. She asked us to consider a broader perspective on microclimates by first stepping back and thinking of the macro to the micro: It is important to consider your building envelope, then your room, and then your microclimates. Ultimately, to control a microclimate, you need to know also understand the environment on the exterior of this space. I also liked how Fenella and Rachael both emphasized the importance of establishing a good relationship with the museum facilities department and how Rachael emphasized the need for mutual understanding between conservation and facilities as to the reason for each one’s approach and what equipment both use.  It is important, in addition, for conservators to be aware of where the facilities department has placed their sensors in comparison to the placement of conservator’s data loggers.

    It was fun to see a series of slides presented in alternating fashion from Rachael and then Fenella of exhibition cases and galleries that had problems: as the audience participants –we were to help find the problems. These images were real examples of unnamed institutions that had good intentions but failed due to both predictable and unforeseen errors in their construction. Finally, both Fenella and Rachael illustrated how the treatment history of cultural material must be taken into consideration.

    In the afternoon, Rachael shared all her working experience with the many different data loggers she has had the opportunity to get her hands on.  I also thought the Plexiglas case that Fenella used to illustrate case leakage with C02 was very useful and something that I could replicate. I think one thing I would have liked to have seen is a free standing exhibition case where we could examine the use of sealing measures such as Marvelseal and other materials that are used to prevent unwanted pollutants from less than ideal construction materials. I am looking forward to going back to work to share all this information with my colleagues. Thanks to Rachael and Fenella. I would love to hear from other participants.

    Demonstrating the psychrometer