Preventive Conservation

Every once in a while I come across a quote that really sums up what I want to say. This is one of them:
“Preventive conservation is about outwitting time and finding means to slow the inevitable deterioration of materials.” This is exactly what I aim to do everyday, very elegantly stated (pulled from a SPNHC conference outline).

Scrims as Room Dividers

I have worked on a number of exhibits where we have utilized printed fabric scrims as a way to break up the space.  On a recent visit to the Florida Museum of Natural History, I saw this particularly nice one.  photo

The best part of scrims is that they are somewhat transparent so they do not overwhelmed the space, plus they are breathable so they do not disrupt air flow too much in the gallery, plus they allow light to pass through.  I wonder if they can be printed to resist fade (UV ink), if so they might also be an option to filter light from windows.

Preserving Important Moments

Everything deteriorates. This is an inevitability all museums and collectors must keep in mind. Our goal is to outwit time, slow down the inevitable and defend the objects in our care from the agents of deterioration.

An example of a type of preservation we offer is the preservation of a wedding dress.

A few years back, I helped a colleague with the re-housing of a wedding dress for preservation purposes.  I documented the whole process in the hopes of one day creating a guide to preservation of family heirlooms such as this.  What I realize now, is that every object is unique and brings its own preservation concerns.  Every object should be considered and evaluated to determine the best methods for preservation. For example, this dress we re-housed was in very bad condition and required softer buffering materials when repacking due to the deteriorating nature of the textile.

I did finally manage to write out a description of the process we did on that particular dress. You can find the project outlined here.

This is a service we provide at Burke Museum Services.  We look forward to the challenge of new and unique dresses.

The Elevator Museum

There is a small museum inside an elevator shaft on a side street in New York City. In the museum are many objects that relate to us in different ways- from a Styrofoam cup to a paint brush.  These are things we don’t really think about-they are what we use, consume, discard.  But jump ahead 100 years, these objects are telling our story, what do they say. I always like thinking about how we are writing history everyday.  Most people consider history as something that doesn’t relate to them, something out of reach and this notion of history is what keeps people from understanding their own history.

As someone who is drawn to the historic history, I am fascinated by contemporary history and the potential for objects to tell stories. This elevator museum is fantastic, it bridges the gap in our understanding of history.  I want to know the stories behind these random objects.  The mission of the museum puts it best: Life exists around us, and the proof of our existence is both beautiful and absurd. Our footprint, which is often overlooked, dismissed, or ignored, is intriguing, and always worth exploring.

Contemporary archeology and anthropology, consider what you are contributing to our history.

See images of the museum here.