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Subject: Mold on Torah scroll

Mold on Torah scroll

From: Ann M. Baldwin <ann.baldwin>
Date: Thursday, March 25, 2004
Benjamin Cohen <bcohen [at] torahscribe__com> writes

>I have been called on to fix a Torah scroll that has been subjected
>to water from a leak in a roof. The scroll is parchment on wooden
>rollers, written in iron gall ink. I have yet to see the scroll. It
>is said to have molded.
>I have instructed the owners to move the scroll to an artificially
>dry closet to dry out the scroll, lots of desiccant and a mechanical
>dehumidifier at 40F.

I would like to refer Mr. Cohen to practices discussed by Mary Lou
Florian and Diana Dicus in the very informative articles published
in the Spring, 2000 Journal of the American Institute for
Conservation, covering aseptic techniques for mold removal.  These
topics are also addressed in the 2003 book, Art, Biology and
Conservation, published by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, edited by
Bob Koestler, et al.

Aseptic mold removal practices include:

    1.  Isolation of moldy object from other art/archival objects

    2.  Working on an absorbent, non-slick paper on top of a work
        surface.  Dispose paper as needed.

    3.  Air drying of the object, making use of good air circulation
        and, perhaps, exposure to natural light for a short duration

    4.  Providing physical protection for the conservator/operator:

            Respiratory - P-100 mask or respirator outfitted with a
            P-100 filter

            Dermal - Disposable latex gloves

            Eyes - Goggles

            Clothing - Disposable or machine washable smock or lab

    5.  Mold removal with HEPA filtered vacuum cleaner such as those
        manufactured by Nilfisk which are equipped with a rheostat
        for gentle vacuum suction

    6.  Application of ethyl alcohol to affected sites--after
        testing--will help disinfect the substrate

Note:  If a Nilfisk or similar vacuum is not available, mold can be
brushed off out-of-doors, with the above precautions taken.  Wash
brushes and disinfect with alcohol as well.

Ann M. Baldwin
Assistant Paper Conservator
The Metropolitan Museum of Art

                  Conservation DistList Instance 17:62
                  Distributed: Friday, March 26, 2004
                       Message Id: cdl-17-62-004
Received on Thursday, 25 March, 2004

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