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Subject: Bread


From: Nynne Carl <nynnecarl>
Date: Friday, April 20, 2001
Erin Quinn <quinne [at] ci__greeley__co__us> writes

>The interpreters at my site are asking whether they can make and
>display "museum" bread to give a more realistic feel in our historic
>houses.  They do not have a recipe for this, so I am not even sure
>what exactly we would be dealing with.  They tell me that you bake
>it like regular bread, but it is then coated with something to
>protect it from pest infestation.  I am hesitant to even proceed
>with it because I can't imagine the protective coating being good
>for being near  museum objects.  So, I am wondering if any of you
>have heard of "museum" bread, what the recipe might be and whether
>it is recommended for use in museums or not.

At the museum where I work, they have a tradition of making "museum
breads" for the annual Christmas exhibition (on exhibition for
almost two months). They prepare the bread by taking fresh ones from
the bakery, and dry them in the vacuum-oven for days, until no water
evaporates. The oven is emptied for water each morning. I'm not sure
whether they turn the heat on or not. This method will prevent mold
and possibly insects as long as the bread has not obtained too much
moisture from the air. If it's a longer exhibition or a damp
climate, I'm not sure if it's a good idea! I've only been at the
museum for two Christmas Exhibitions, and cannot say about the
previous years, but so far I've not witnessed any infections in
these dry breads. Even though I've not seen these breads leave any
crumbs, it would be an idea to place them on a surface which is
resistant. A good thing about this method is, that even though the
breads shrink a little, they still look almost like fresh breads, as
long as you don't cut them prior to the drying process. Furthermore
you can avoid toxic coatings. In case anybody has tried this method
and got bad results, please don't hesitate to notify.

Nynne Carl,
Conservator of painted objects,

                  Conservation DistList Instance 14:56
                  Distributed: Monday, April 23, 2001
                       Message Id: cdl-14-56-013
Received on Friday, 20 April, 2001

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