SELECTION OF MATERIALS FOR THE STORAGE OR DISPLAY

Overview

For the past 30 years, conservation scientists at the British Museum have been world leaders in research into the sources and effects of emissions from display and storage systems in museums. A valuable object may be housed in an enclosure such as a cupboard or showcase to improve its physical security; however, this may inadvertently put an object at risk, due to emissions of harmful gases from the storage and display materials. All materials used in the storage and display of artefacts at the British Museum now...

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Overview

For the past 30 years, conservation scientists at the British Museum have been world leaders in research into the sources and effects of emissions from display and storage systems in museums. A valuable object may be housed in an enclosure such as a cupboard or showcase to improve its physical security; however, this may inadvertently put an object at risk, due to emissions of harmful gases from the storage and display materials. All materials used in the storage and display of artefacts at the British Museum now have to pass one or more tests before they can be used. This has made a dramatic impact on the stability of the collection.This Occasional Paper was compiled in response to numerous enquiries received by the British Museum from a wide range of professionals: designers, architects, conservators, collectors, curators, and showcase manufacturers, and indeed anyone involved in the task of creating a safe environment for precious objects. It has now been brought up to date and revised. It is not the intention to cover all the preventive conservation aspects of storage or display. The aim of this publication is to explain the background to why materials need to be tested for use with artefacts and provide a comprehensive test manual, including full test methods for evaluating storage and display materials, with the relative merits and drawbacks of each test discussed. Practical implementation of results is considered and methods to mitigate the effects of unsuitable materials are suggested.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780861591176
  • Publisher: British Museum Press
  • Publication date: 4/28/2004
  • Series: Occasional Paper Series
  • Pages: 30
  • Product dimensions: 8.50 (w) x 11.62 (h) x 0.21 (d)

Table of Contents

1 Why is testing necessary? 3
Accelerated corrosion in a museum environment 3
Effects of pollutants 3
Sources of pollutants 5
2 Test methods 9
Introduction 9
Sampling 9
Selection of tests 9
Tests for potential to emit harmful volatiles 12
Accelerated corrosion tests 12
The Oddy test 13
'3 IN 1' accelerated corrosion test 15
The azide test 16
The Beilstein test 18
The iodide-iodate test 18
The Purpald test 19
The chromotropic acid test 20
Tests for materials to be used in direct contact with artefacts 21
Aqueous extract pH 21
Surface pH 22
The phloroglucinol test 22
The aluminon test 23
Suppliers of chemicals and apparatus 24
3 Practical methods of display and storage 25
4 References 29
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