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Wednesday, May 31 • 3:30pm - 4:00pm
031. (Objects) Under close observation – a pilot study monitoring change in objects’ conditions

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The push for more sustainable climate management strategies has challenged the conservation field to review its environmental standards and guidelines for collections. While some members of the conservation field are working under new specifications that allow a broader climatic range, there is nonetheless lingering uncertainty within the profession about the consequences to collections from adopting a more liberal approach to exhibition and storage environments. A major impediment to a wider acceptance of broader environmental parameters is the recognition that the field currently has an incomplete understanding of the chemical and mechanical reactions of some hygroscopic materials to relative humidity and temperature levels outside a narrow range.

Invaluable data can be obtained from examining objects rather than just materials, which when combined with scientific data, can identify more precisely under which conditions irreversible damage occurs as a result of climatic fluctuations. This poster will highlight a pilot study developed for the Managing Collection Environments Initiative at the Getty Conservation Institute. The study monitors the condition of a small collection of wooden objects under controlled humidity variations. The objects are of different age, construction, thickness and have different finishes, to represent some of the variety found in museum collections. As the objects adapt to different relative humidity levels, the change in their condition is monitored and documented. The methods used range in sensitivity from precise observation and conventional photography to acoustic emission (AE).  All techniques will be described in more detail in the poster.

The observations and scientific data resulting from the pilot study is interpreted using statistical data of variable quality and credibility. The techniques for quantifying damage are assessed and the poster explores how they can be used in a larger series of prospective cross-sectional studies, employing methods found in epidemiology. Applied to cultural heritage, an epidemiological approach can identify how a physical condition or environmentally-driven adverse effect is distributed in museum collections.

This pilot study is part of the Managing Collection Environments Initiative (MCE), a multiyear initiative at the Getty Conservation Institute that addresses a number of compelling research questions and practical issues pertaining to the control and management of collection environments in museums. 

avatar for Vincent Beltran

Vincent Beltran

Assistant Scientist, Getty Conservation Institute
Vincent Beltran joined GCI Science in 2002. He has been an active participant in a range of research projects including the mechanical characterization of historic materials, the effect of reduced oxygen environments on color change, evaluations of packing case performance during... Read More →
avatar for Ashley Freeman

Ashley Freeman

Research Lab Associate, Getty Conservation Institute
Ashley Freeman joined the GCI in 2016 to work on the Managing Collections Environments Initiative. She graduated from Queen's University with a M.A.C. in Conservation Science, received a study certificate for restoration and conservation from the Lorenzo de' Medici, MS in Chemistry... Read More →

avatar for Foekje Boersma

Foekje Boersma

Senior Project Specialist, Getty Conservation Institute
Foekje Boersma is a Senior Project Specialist at the Getty Conservation Institute. From 2009 until 2013, she worked at the National Archives of the Netherlands, where she was responsible for external projects. Between 2006 and 2009 she had worked at the Getty Conservation Institute... Read More →
avatar for Jim Druzik

Jim Druzik

Senior Scientist (Retired), Getty Conservation Institute
James Druzik was a Senior Scientist at The Getty Conservation Institute from 1985-2016. His research interests have focused on preventive conservation including the origin and fate of anthropogenic oxidant air pollutants and particulates in museum environments and their control technologies... Read More →
avatar for Michał Lukomski

Michał Lukomski

Scientist, Getty Conservation Institute
Dr. Michał Lukomski is head of Preventive Conservation research, which assesses the effects of environmental conditions and lighting on museum objects. He received his PhD in physics from the Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland, in 2003 and completed his postdoctorate fellowship... Read More →
avatar for Joel Taylor

Joel Taylor

Project Specialist, Getty Conservation Institute
I'm interested in preventive conservation, in particular risk management, collection surveys, and climate control, as well as conservation theory, sustainability, and heritage studies. I worked in the UK and Norway before coming to the USA.

Wednesday May 31, 2017 3:30pm - 4:00pm CDT
Riverside West Exhibit Hall Exhibit Level, East Tower
  9. Poster, Objects