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Subject: Equipment for collections care

Equipment for collections care

From: Barry Knight <barry.knight>
Date: Monday, October 4, 1999
Collections care equipment

In Instance 13:22 Vicki Cassmann asks for suggestions for equipment
for a collections care kit.

Personally, I would omit the psychrometer and thermohygrograph:
psychrometers are unreliable unless you take great care with them,
and can give misleading results in mountainous areas (because the
psychrometer equation depends on the atmospheric pressure, which
depends on the altitude).  Thermohygrographs are more reliable, but
really need to be calibrated every time you move them.  I would go
for a hand-held electronic instrument and a couple of dataloggers;
these can be easily calibrated with saturated salt kits.

It would be good to have a combined visible/UV light meter for spot
checks, but using Blue Wool Standards you can make your own
indicator cards which will give you an impression of the light
exposure over a period of time, and of the potential of the ambient
light to cause damage to objects.  I find that opening a Blue Wool
indicator card to show museum staff the amount of fading that has
occurred always makes a big impression.

If you are buying copper, silver and lead foil to do Oddy tests,
remember that you can put small coupons of each inside display cases
to get an impression of whether the case atmosphere is likely to be
corrosive to the objects inside.

Finally, I would get a stock of sticky insect traps for use in
stores or in displays where there are objects vulnerable to insect

Equipped with all these items, I think you would be well placed to
assess the major damage factors in any museum situation.

Barry Knight
English Heritage

                  Conservation DistList Instance 13:23
                 Distributed: Tuesday, October 5, 1999
                       Message Id: cdl-13-23-001
Received on Monday, 4 October, 1999

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