Tag: Conservation Science

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Under the Skin of the Spirit of Gaiety – Part 1

Figure 1 - The Spirit of Gaiety, Hibbert C. Binney, 1904. Museum no. S.2630-1996.

Many of you may have had a glimpse of the Spirit of Gaiety statue from the Painting Galleries (Figure 1): it is a very large, carved and gilded angel blowing a trumpet, originally designed for the dome of the Gaiety Theatre in London and erected there in 1904 (Figure 2). Although any visitor can view […]

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Identification of plastics by looking, touching and smelling

Example of groups of plastics made from melamine formaldehyde and cellulose nitrate

Carien van Aubel Conservation Science intern, University of Amsterdam   Collections with objects dating from the late-nineteenth-century onwards often include a variety of plastics. As there are numerous different types of plastics it would be hoped that specific identification would be stated in the records but it is not easy for those not experienced with […]

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The use of lasers in the conservation of museum objects made from plastics

The surface of polystyrene under the optical microscope exposed to different conditions

Dafni Daskalaki-Mountanou, MSc student Imperial College / V&A The predominance of polymers in everyday life is obvious. They have become an integral part not only of everyday objects but of cultural heritage objects as well. A survey held in the 1990s at the Victoria and Albert Museum showed that large numbers of artefacts were partly […]

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All that glitters is not gold – or is it?

Science meets Shoes. Go behind the scene and find out what we do to our objects before they can go on display. This is the tale of the two Lucias, Lucia the research assistant and Lucia the scientist: together we reveal aspects of our job related to the forthcoming exhibition “Shoes – Pleasure and Pain”. […]

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Painting by Numbers?: An 18th Century Flower Show

As the Chelsea Flower Show draws to a conclusion tomorrow, and the masses return to their own gardens inspired, it’s worth looking back to the 18th century, to the golden age of botanical exploration and to an artist who was arguably the finest botanical painter in history – Ferdinand Bauer –  and how expertise at […]

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All that glitters (part 2) …. is most definitely not all gold!

A few weeks ago Rosemary posted a blog about Indian textiles which incorporate metal or metal wrapped threads (April 23, 2015). She was very careful not to mention what the metal was because we have been in the process of analysing the composition, so in this follow up post I will tell you what we […]

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Dirt off your shoulder…

One of the great challenges in museums is keeping the collection clean once it’s on display – dust & dirt are our number one enemy! This isn’t a new problem either, as far back as the mid 1800’s museum professionals have been worried about what the local environmental conditions were doing to their collections. Michael […]

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Hello from the Conservation Team!

  We thought it was about time that we introduced ourselves properly and with a smile! So far we have been lurking behind the scenes, popping up in the occasional blog post photo most commonly with our frowning ‘problem-solving’ faces on, unaware we were going to feature in a future post! Conserving and preparing approximately […]

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17th Century Modern Materials

A while back I was given six small samples to analyse – nothing unusual about this till I looked at the images of the object that the samples had come from and immediately had grand notions of treasure hunting for the Holy Grail with Indiana Jones! These thoughts were soon followed by me humming ‘knights […]

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Mini post No. 10 – How to scare the intern…

Though my university training and this internship I have come accustomed to handling museum objects, and for the most part I’m perfectly comfortable doing this – except when it comes to the ceramics study galleries. I’ve always loved those new galleries but they have always scared me a little – something about densely packed fragile […]

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