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Subject: Cleaning Lego bricks

Cleaning Lego bricks

From: Amanda Pagliarino <amanda.pagliarino>
Date: Wednesday, May 30, 2007
The Queensland Art Gallery has acquired a Lego construction artwork
by Danish artist Olafur Eliasson.  The artwork comprises just under
2 cubic metres of white Lego bricks that visitors use to construct
buildings in an evolving cityscape.  This is a very popular artwork
with visitors and as such the bricks become quite dirty.  I have
contacted the Lego company for advice on cleaning large quantities
of bricks but they recommend hand washing and air drying which is
not practical.  I have contacted commercial cleaners, hospitals and
toy libraries but the methods used to clean, sterilize and dry
employ heat that is too high for the plastic bricks (ABS plastic).

At the moment we are cleaning the bricks in laundry bags in a
dishwasher on a cool setting and then transferring the wet bricks to
towelling bags which we put into a clothes drier on a low-warm
setting to tumble the remaining water out of the bricks.  This is a
very slow procedure and is not really a sustainable cleaning method
considering the regular display of the artwork.

Is anyone aware of other museums that have acquired similar Eliasson
artworks that could be contacted for advice on how they manage their
artwork?  Does anyone have any advice on how to regularly and
efficiently clean 2 cubic metres of Lego bricks?

Amanda Pagliarino
Queensland Art Gallery
Brisbane, Australia
amanda.pagliarino [at] qag__qld__gov__au
Amanda Pagliarino
Acting Head of Conservation
+61 3840 7742

                  Conservation DistList Instance 21:9
                   Distributed: Friday, June 8, 2007
                        Message Id: cdl-21-9-026
Received on Wednesday, 30 May, 2007

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