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Subject: Marking


From: Nancie Ravenel <nravenel>
Date: Monday, April 24, 2000
Katy Untch <kuntch [at] vmfa__state__va__us> writes

>This was recently posted on the MUSEUM-L list.  I'm curious to hear
>of conservator's responses to this.  Our registrars are not pleased
>with using brushes to paint on numbers and have been prodding us to
>help find another standard method.  We've been experimenting with
>suggested brush tipped and soft foam or felt tipped pens, but we're
>still working on finding something with an ink or paint medium we
>like.  This paper label approach is yet another approach we have not
>yet experimented with.  It reminds me of all the brittle brown
>deteriorated paper labels on the bottom of objects.   How long,
>truly, do we think this method would last?

When I arrived at Shelburne in 1998, the collections manager asked
if we could develop a numbering method that would be easier than the
B72/acrylic paint method that they had been using.  With the help of
volunteers and interns, the collections manager was about to apply
accession numbers to a collection of approximately 600 food molds
made of wood.  The work space available to them was not well

Together, we came up with a protocol that begins with printing out
labels on an Epson color stylus ink jet printer which uses Nukote
Black Ink RF179 on to Xerox High Tech Ink Jet paper.  Labels must be
printed out on the Epson printer in the conservation lab using the
ink jet paper.  The ink from other ink jet printers in the museum
seems to smear and run on contact with solvent.

The printed sheet of paper is then sprayed with Krylon Clear Coat
spray acrylic in the conservation lab's hood.  On most artifacts, we
use CE Bond 4 adhesive, applied with a brush to the label, to adhere
the label to the artifact.  On metal artifacts we use a thick
solution of Acryloid B72 in acetone.  In our testing phase, I tried
the CE Bond M4 (Conservator's Emporium), B72, and Beva 371 gel as
adhesives.  The labels were adhered to an unsealed piece of wood
that was then exposed to extremes of heat (low heat in an oven),
cold (in a household freezer) and humidity over a period of one
month.  All labels remained well adhered and they could all be
removed with xylene after the month was over.

Now, having said this, I came up with this protocol without looking
at Jane Down et al's 1996 article on poly(vinyl acetate) and acrylic
adhesives (Studies in Conservation 41 1996-19-44).  If I had looked
at her article I would have probably chosen an acrylic emulsion like
Lascaux 360 HV instead, and I probably will encourage a change once
this project is finished.  It just makes sense to have a single
adhesive applied to the labels on this collection.

Since the volunteers had applied incorrect numbers to a few of the
objects, they have brought them to the lab to have the numbers
removed, and I have had the opportunity to see how well the system
works in other hands. Some of their labels have started to peel off.
It appears that not enough pressure was applied to the label to
ensure adequate contact while the label dried. Fortunately, those
lifting labels could be heat set with a tacking iron back down
without application of more adhesive.

Nancie Ravenel
Associate Objects Conservator
Shelburne Museum

                  Conservation DistList Instance 13:54
                  Distributed: Wednesday, May 3, 2000
                       Message Id: cdl-13-54-001
Received on Monday, 24 April, 2000

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