Conservation and Preservation at St Cecilia’s Hall

Posted on April 10, 2017 | in Museums | by


Emily Hick, Katharine Richardson, Jonathan Santa Maria Bouquet, Nicole Devereux and Helen Baguley

This has been a busy month for the musical instruments collection, as more than 400 objects are being installed in the new display cases at St Cecilia’s Hall. Jonathan has been working with Sarah Deters and the Plowden & Smith team to make the museum look fantastic. We are looking forward to next month when it will be the turn of the keyboard instruments to get unwrapped, adjusted, and rearranged.

Helen has been assisting Jonathan at St. Cecilia’s this month in creating a Marvelseal™ package to treat a piano which has an infestation of webbing clothes moth. She has also completed conservation work of the Hortus Sempervirens collection, which has been surfaced cleaned and housed in custom made boxes. Her attention has now turned to the map and atlas collection within the rare books collection.

Nicole has continued working on the Latin theses with broken sewing and split spines. She has also been working on theses that have been digitised prior to conservation. Conservation work on these volumes include rehousing and consolidation. Before Nicole took up the post as Projects Conservator, biological samples had been found within the collection, including broken microscope slides and cross sections of lungs which had been laminated and bound into a volume. Nicole researched the risks of handling and storing them. Professor Colin Smith from the Pathology Department kindly came to assess both of the volumes. He came to the conclusion that the lung specimens posed no risk to health, and could be kept. However, he advised that the slides should be disposed of as they do not have any medical value, and pose a hazard to health.

Cross section of lung, laminated and bound into a volume

This month, Katharine recruited an Edinburgh University student through the Employ.ed scheme for a 10-week summer internship funded by the innovation fund. The intern will focus on developing an e-learning resource on integrated pest management (IPM) and collections care. This will be created using the data collected from the IPM inspections over the last year, and research on the subject that Katharine has undertaken. We hope to hold a launch event to conclude the placement, for staff to have the opportunity to trial the e-learning resource.

At the end of March, we welcomed a new intern to the Conservation team. Claudia Callau Buxaderas is the third in a series of interns who will be working on the Thomson-Walker collection of medical prints. The internship will last eight weeks, and will mainly involve removing old adhesives and secondary supports from the prints and rehousing them in acid-free folders and boxes.

New Thomson-Walker Intern, Claudia

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