Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Roundhouse Objects Conservation - Sep. 25, 2012

September 25, 2012

Assessment (Continued....)

Roundhouse Objects Large Group
This work continued from Day 1 with the larger group of objects as shown in the photo to the left: 28 in total consisting mostly of ceramics and glass.  The glass consists mainly of bottles of various shapes and sizes with many makers or company marks which will assist with identification and dating. The ceramics are mostly broken which suggests they were just thrown away.  Surface cleaning is suggested for all.  I managed to get through the assessment on half of them which have a lot of surface dirt (soil) and some red colouration on the ceramics.  This implies they were dug up from the soil which is predominantly red in the area where they were found.  I tried removing a very small speck of red on one of the ceramic pieces with a Q-tip and distilled water and it came right off with very little pressure.

Conservation Tip: I have made a note that the ceramic pieces could all be wiped off with distilled water and a cloth.  Distilled water is used to minimize contact with water of unknown mineral content.  Q-tips can be used to clean in some of the hard to get areas.  One of the benefits to cleaning is to minimise the amount of material that will rub off or fall off during handling and preserve it for future testing if needed.  All material removed when cleaned will be saved and stored with the objects to facilitate any possible future testing or analysis.  We can never be sure what may be important in the future, perhaps a 100 years from now?

The museum has a large collection of the ceramics (dishes) used by the Dominion Atlantic Railway during its "hey day" so only a minimal amount of clean-up work is necessary on these ceramics to make them presentable for a future exhibit and for storage.  For those interested in seeing the intact dishes including a full setting there are examples available for viewing at the Kings County museum.

There are three metal objects: a lock, three spikes, and a wheel which are very rusted.  These can be carefully cleaned and then a fine coat of conservation grade wax (much more pure) applied with a fine brush and a hair dryer to stabilise them.  The wax acts as a coating to prevent contact with moist air and is easily removable by reheating and wiping off with a cloth.

Here is a photograph of a broken ceramic piece that shows the dirt (soil) and rust patches:

Ceramic jar lid

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