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Subject: Storing cellulose nitrate artifacts

Storing cellulose nitrate artifacts

From: Yvonne Shashoua <yvonne.shashoua<-a>
Date: Saturday, April 19, 2014
Lisa Ann Bengston <lbengston<-a t->royalbcmuseum< . >bc< . >ca> writes

>We are considering cold storage for the cellulose nitrate artifacts
>in our History collection.  Those cellulose nitrate artifacts that
>are visibly deteriorated will be rehoused and sent to our offsite
>cold storage facility immediately.  The question is what to do with
>those cellulose nitrate artifacts that appear to be stable at this
>time. ...

Preventive conservation treatments for plastics are most effective
when applied when the objects appear to be stable or before
degradation is visible or detectable using other techniques
including A-D strips, change in pH or smell. When deterioration is
detectable on a macro scale, it is already too late to reverse
degradation and 'improved storage' can only delay the inevitable.
Unless the cellulose artifacts are needed for study or exhibition
for more than six months in any year, I suggest that they are all
rehoused in cold storage. Frequent relocation in and out of cold
storage increases measurably the risk of mechanical damage to
plastics but if these objects can spend most of their lives in cold
storage, it is likely to slow their deterioration.

Yvonne Shashoua
Senior Researcher
Conservation and Science
National Museum of Denmark


                                  ***
                  Conservation DistList Instance 27:41
                  Distributed: Friday, April 25, 2014
                       Message Id: cdl-27-41-001
                                  ***
Received on Saturday, 19 April, 2014

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