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Subject: Mold

Mold

From: Brendan Bell <bell>
Date: Wednesday, March 7, 2001
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The Tatham Art Gallery is an art museum in Pietermaritzburg, South
Africa.  We operate in a fully climate controlled building. Midway
through last year experienced problems with very low humidity
levels, which were resolved in about August. Our records show a
quite dramatic and sudden increase in humidity levels in our artwork
storeroom for a short period before humidity levelled out.

Subsequently we noticed the appearance of mould on wooden objects,
mostly but not entirely confined to untreated wooden objects.  The
mould has now spread to other objects which incorporate organic
materials, including animal hide.

Sampes of the mould were sent for analysis.  The clinician's report
indicates that the original mould was aspergillus (identified from
the spores), but that in clinical tests the fungus is now very
clearly manifesting as penicillium. We have been advised that, as a
possible stronger virus, penicillium has taken over from the
aspergillus.

We are in the process of selectively taking objects from the store,
removing visible evidence of mould with a hoover, and sending the
works in batches for fumigation with methyl bromide.  Upon return the
works are being isolated until all objects have been treated.

We would appreciate any information on similar problems, and other
possible solutions.  In this regard I am forwarding correspondence
with the Plant Pathology Department of our local University.

Brendan Bell
Director, Tatham Art Gallery



                                  ***
                  Conservation DistList Instance 14:49
                  Distributed: Friday, March 23, 2001
                       Message Id: cdl-14-49-031
                                  ***
Received on Wednesday, 7 March, 2001

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