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Presentations involving V&A staff accepted for the ICOM-CC 14th Triennial Meeting held from 12-16 September 2005 in The Hague

Conservation of Japanese Lacquer in Western collections - conserving meaning and substance

Shayne Rivers, Senior Furniture Conservator, V&A

Accepted for the ICOM-CC Working Group: wood, furniture and lacquer

Whilst outstanding examples of Japanese lacquer are highly valued in both Japan and the West, the cultural beliefs that impart value to these artefacts differ. It is essential to understand these cultural beliefs and values so that on completion of a conservation treatment the underlying significance of the object is enhanced rather than diminished.

Conservation practice seeks to understand and preserve tangible cultural property, whilst conservation ethics seek to understand and preserve intangible cultural property. Conservation ethics provide a framework that can allow conservators to balance the many intangible values associated with an object.

The development of a cross-cultural discipline of urushi conservation that is relevant and applicable in both Japan and the West would help ensure that the full meaning of Japanese lacquer in Western collections is conserved.


LightCheck, new disposable indicators for monitoring lighting conditions in museums

Mauro Bacci & Costanza Cucci, Istituto di Fisica Applicata - 'Nello Carrara' (IFAC-CNR), Firenze, Italy
Anne-Laurence Dupont, Bertrand Lavédrine & Claudine Loisel, Centre de Recherches sur la Conservation des Documents Graphiques (CRCDG-CNRS), Paris, France
Sandra Gerlach & Hannelore Roemich, Fraunhofer-Institut für Silicatforschung (ISC), Wertheim-Bronnbach, Germany
Graham Martin, Head of Science, V&A

Accepted for ICOM-CC Working Group, Preventive Conservation

Extensive exposure to light may cause irreversible damage to valuable heritage objects, such as fading or brittleness. It is known that the damage increases with both the length of exposure and the irradiance. Rather than limiting the time of exposure for each object, it is advisable to monitor the lighting conditions on site. A continuous monitoring program for various objects with data loggers would be rather expensive and applicable only for selected examples. As an alternative for extensive measurements, new lighting indicators have been developed and are proposed as an early warning system for light damage.


The RIBA project: a climate strategy for paper based archives at the V&A

Boris Pretzel, Materials Scientist, V&A

Accepted for ICOM-CC Working Group, Preventive Conservation

A climate control strategy for paper based collections is presented. The strategy was devised for the collections of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) being re-housed at the V&A. Permanence calculations, based on the combined effect temperature and relative humidity, are used to identify the most cost effective control options for maintaining the collections at any given point in time. As these collections are relatively insensitive to climatic fluctuations, particular benefits arise by reducing heating outside of opening hours. In the interests of economy, greater weight is given to conditions of equal relative permanence that minimize dehumidification requirements.