Sunday, 29 September 2013

Roundhouse Objects Conservation June 18 2013

June 18, 2013

As conservation work on the Railway Roundhouse objects nears completion it was time to prepare the objects for storage.  The goal of proper storage is to:
  •  stabilise the objects so they have no chance of rolling around and coming in contact with each other,
  •  package them so that they will have minimal or no possibility of interaction with anything which may affect their condition (an example is off-gassing or other chemicals),
  •  package them so that they can be moved short distances such as from on-site storage to exhibit or work rooms,
  • label each box or storage container with the contents to facilitate ease of access.
With a bit of research and suggestions by the Senior Conservator, Chris Lavergne, at Nova Scotia Museums a product called ethafoam is recommended and most widely used in conservation.  It is strong, yet flexible and stable.  Here is a link to more information from a US supplier

It would be used by sizing it to fit in boxes and carved out to the shape of the object and fitted to reduce the chance of rolling around and getting damaged.  However, from a local supplier the price ranges from $70 to $90 per sheet of 2 feet by 4 feet and 3 to 4 inches thick.  This is out of the range of the budget for the museum at this time.  I suggested an alternative of using acid free paper scrunched up and wrapped around each object in a manner that would normally be done by moving companies when transporting household goods long distances.  The museum has a large supply of acid free paper that was donated some years ago.  I also suggested that we store the glass and ceramics in a separate box from the metals.  These alternatives were accepted by the curator.

Acid free paper on all sides, between objects, around objects
Exterior list of contents for ease of access
I started each box with a layer of scrunched up paper across the bottom and around the sides.  A flat layer of acid free paper separates each layer of objects.  Each object is carefully and completely wrapped up and then placed in the box with scrunched up paper between each object.  Although this is not an ideal solution it does fit the budget and the need.

Three "banker style" boxes were sufficient for this collection of nearly 40 objects.  However, the larger objects such as locomotive wrenches, large lamp on a pole, and the oil can are left unwrapped and unboxed and will simply be stored "as is" due to their size.