A comparative study of protective coatings for marble sculpture in the museum setting

Laura Kubick and Jennifer Giaccai with contributions by Helen Ingalls and Hugh Shockey


This paper presents the study of four protective coatings intended for use on marble sculpture displayed in an indoor museum context. The coatings tested include Renaissance microcrystalline wax and a cosmolloid wax-ketone resin mixture, both of which have been used historically for this purpose. In addition, the experiment also included materials that have not been traditionally used as marble coatings: Dow Methocel methyl cellulose and Avalure AC 315 polymer. The coatings were applied to polished and unpolished samples of Carrara marble tile. A colorimeter, gloss meter, and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy were employed to assess the coatings’ aesthetic properties, reversibility, and ability to protect marble from red wine, lipstick, and permanent marker. A portion of the samples was also light-aged to determine the effect of aging on the coatings’ aesthetic and reversibility properties.

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2012 | Albuquerque | Volume 19