The Abbey Newsletter

Volume 18, Number 4-5
Aug-Sep 1994

Conservation Research in the UK & Australia

The Conservation Unit of the Museums & Galleries Commission has published a list of 173 research projects, including a number of projects relevant to book and paper conservation. The reference is:

Conservation Research in the United Kingdom, 1994, compiled by J.P. Brown. The Conservation Unit, Museums & Galleries Commission (16 Queen Anne's Gate, London SW1H 9AA, tel. 071-233-4200), © 1993. 47 pp. ISBN 0-948630-23 X. £5.00, plus £2.00 for postage to the U.S. (VISA accepted).

The full listing provides information on the format of the research (internal, collaborative or ongoing), expected completion date and publication plans if any, and external funding sources. The book includes three indexes, telephone number and fax for each institution, and much more.

Some of the projects that are relevant to library and archival conservation are listed below, by the number assigned to them in the book. The contact person's name and the institution's address are provided.

67. Use of light bleaching in paper conservation. Vincent Daniels, British Museum, Dept. of Conservation, London WC1B 3DG.

78. Stabilization of deteriorating cellulose nitrate. John Morgan, Plastics Historical Society, Institute of Materials, 11 Hobart Place, London SW1W 0HL.

83. Control of smells: use of activated charcoal cloth and other media in the storage of odiferous objects. Kirsten Walker, Horniman Museum and Gardens, 100 London Rd., London SE23 9PQ.

86. Development of procedures for in-house monitoring internal and external pollutants: NO2, H2S, chlorides and formaldehydes. Paul Wilthew and Phyllis Herd, National Museums of Scotland, Chambers St., Edinburgh EH1 1JF.

88. Development of UV and light monitors for museums. ET Hall, Littlemore Scientific Engineering, Railway Lane, Littlemore, Oxford OX4 4PZ.

97. Insect pest control: non-toxic control, preventive trapping and monitoring. Lynda Hillyer and Valerie Blythe, V&A, Conservation Dept., South Kensington, London SW7 2RI.

--And other studies concern themselves with effect on artifacts of freezing for pest control; pest monitoring with sticky traps; performance of humidity sensors; passive monitors for carbonyl pollutants; pest control without the use of methyl bromide; radio-telemetry data loggers; re-evaluation of the Oddy test; pollution at cultural property sites; pollutants absorbed by charcoal cloth; and UV- and daylight-reducing films.

Student Research Projects in Australia

Wendy Smith ( posted the following notice in the Conservation DistList in April:

"Students in their final year of the Bachelor's degree program in the Conservation of Cultural materials at the University of Canberra undertake a minor thesis research project. Students majoring in Paper Conservation this year have chosen the following topics:

  1. Light stability of water soluble colored pencils
  2. Self-adhesive photograph albums--analysis of materials, potential problems
  3. Comparison of Chinese and Japanese brushes and techniques in paper conservation
  4. Use of fixatives for pastel and charcoal drawings--history and current commercial products
  5. The use of detergents in paper conservation.

"We have access to most of the standard paper conservation literature and to the Conservation Information Network, so a comprehensive literature search is the first step in their projects.

"However, they are very interested to hear if anyone is already undertaking research in any of those fields, or if anyone has any other comment they would like to make about the topics chosen.

"Please reply to me and I will pass your messages on."

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