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Subject: Cleaning furniture

Cleaning furniture

From: Christine Mouw <christine.mouw>
Date: Monday, September 20, 1999
Like most museum people, I receive questions from the public on how
to care for their personal treasures.  The questions usually run
along the lines of "How should I store my grandmother's quilt?"
These questions I can handle and I'm happy to help out.

However, in the past week, I have received two separate inquiries
that I cannot answer, and I am in need of someone trained in these
areas.  I have no local objects or furniture conservators I can

    1.  I had a call from a woman who recently received an old (she
        thought very old) Chinese chest with a lacquer finish and
        what she called "soapstone" carvings on the top.  She said
        the chest had obviously sat somewhere where it was allowed
        to get very dirty and dusty.  She assured me that there were
        no cracks or chips in the finish, so I suggested she start
        with a light dusting with a soft brush.  Wet cleaning the
        lacquer and especially the "soapstone" concerns me.

    2.  The second woman has a small table with a leather top.
        Someone spilled an alcoholic drink on it (Scotch to be
        precise). She thought she had cleaned it all up, but
        apparently she missed some and noticed later that there are
        white  areas on the surface.  What can she do to remove
        them?  The table is in very good condition and is not very
        old, but it has value to her.  If this were on wood, I could
        help, but I don't know what to suggest to remove the bloom
        from the leather surface.

Thank you in advance,

Christine Mouw
Assistant Curator
Herbert Hoover Presidential Library-Museum
West Branch, Iowa  52358

                  Conservation DistList Instance 13:21
               Distributed: Thursday, September 23, 1999
                       Message Id: cdl-13-21-013
Received on Monday, 20 September, 1999

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