Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Roundhouse Objects Conservation - Oct. 16, 2012

October 16, 2012

Assessment Finished

 I completed the assessment of all the railway roundhouse objects and am preparing the spreadsheet with the information needed by the curator to discuss and approve the steps to proceed.  In general, the conservation will be basic cleaning, stabilization of most of the metals but not the very large ones, preparation of storage materials, and entering the data on the collections database.  More on this in a later BLOG.

The two photographs above show a group of objects that will not be conserved but will be given away to local railway history collectors.  The reasons for giving them away:
  1. they are considered not "historically significant",
  2. they are in considerably bad shape - lots of corrosion which is heavily flaking as seen in the photographs,
  3. they are in some cases duplicates of objects already in the museum's collection,
  4. they will save space in storage in a limited storage area (this is common in community museums).
In November 2012 the curator and I will travel to a nearby railway collector and offer these objects to them.  I am looking forward to this as part of my education on the history of the Dominion Atlantic Railway.  The history will help me fill out the historic records for these objects and becomes part of the body of work kept at the museum and stored electronically on the collections database.

The next step, beginning next week, is to start the conservation work.  This will mean cleaning all the objects using fine brushes, cloth, and soap for surface cleaning. Distilled water will be used for rinsing and for mixing with the soap.

Conservation Tip: Many objects can be washed or damp wiped with soaps that are pure in nature.  That is, do not have any other chemical additives such as dyes.  Orvus is an example of a synthetic, neutral, gentle, effective cleansing agent and is often used to wash or damp wipe or soak textiles of all kinds such as quilts but must be used carefully since some colour dyed materials have the potential to run.  Any coloured materials must be tested for colour fastness first before proceeding.  Usually I will soak a Q-tip in distilled water and rub it with moderate pressure on coloured material in an area not readily visible.  If any of the colour rubs off on the Q-tip I will not clean that coloured area.  Please check the Material Safety Data Sheet  (MSDS) of any cleansing product to determine safe handling and potential health issues before proceeding.  This web page has that information for Orvus and where to obtain it

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