Anoxia for Museum collections

Anoxic treatment system isolates the objects to be preserved into anoxic (without oxygen or oxygen deprived) micro environments, protects them from insects, aerobic biological threats and dust.

Over the past decade many museums have increased their use of inert gases to eliminate insects from infested objects. The reasons are clear, practical experience has shown that conventional fumigants can have adverse effects on various materials, and some fumigants or their reaction products are retained in the artifacts for long periods(Florian 1987). Further, they pose threats to human health and must be applied by trained personnel or contracted to specialized pest control operators. Some fumigants, such as methyl bromide, have been judged environmentally harmful, and their use is restricted by governmental agencies in many countries.

An alternative to fumigating artifacts is to expose them to very low or high temperatures. However research on the effect of exposure to extreme temperatures has not dispelled concerns regarding the safety of all objects under such conditions. Thus the treatment is limited to museum objects that contain thermally robust materials.

Atmospheres with low concentrations of oxygen had been used for the control of pests in stored food products for several decades before this method was adapted to the treatment of museum artifacts in the late 1980s. Considerable research on the efficiency of modified atmospheres for the control of pests in stored food has been conducted since about 1970.

Biodeterioration and its remedies_Page_14

The Use of Oxygen-Free Environments in the Control of Museum Insect Pests

Shin Maekawa and Kerstin Elert





Author: namitajaspal
Namita Jaspal, with inherited skills of art and aesthetics and passion for science, opted to pursue post- graduation in ‘Conservation of Cultural Property’ after her graduation in Science from Delhi University in 1992. Four year intense training at National Museum Institute provided the right foundation to start a career in Conservation. She is currently practicing conservation consultancy for Heritage property including monuments and collections. She has been doing independent research in conservation techniques and procedures in Indian context. She is currently working on the conservation of wall-paintings of Sri Harmandir Sahib Ji (The Golden temple at Amritsar. The project is nearing completion and getting a lot of appreciation for the organized and ethical treatment it is providing. It is for the first time in the history of Sri Harmandir Sahib Ji (The Golden Temple) that wall painting conservation and preservation is being done in a scientific manner, keeping the codes of Ethics into consideration while decision making. Another project just completed is of the Conservation of Krishna Temple at Kishankot, Gurdaspur, Punjab. In her private Conservation Laboratory, she is not only providing onservation services, but also mentoring young aspiring conservators and archaeologists by the way of training and paid internships. She has been a guest lecturer at DIHRM (Delhi Institute of Heritage Research and Management). With all the updated knowledge database and innovative practical approaches relevant to the Indian conditions, she could successfully do curative and preservative treatment of very old textiles like a nine feet long flag from nineteenth century that is regarded as priceless memorabilia of second Dogra regiment at Chandi Mandir, and four hundred years old (seventeenth century) Chola Sahib Ji of Sixth Guru of Sikhs, Sri Hargobind Sahib Ji. Apart from this she has done conservation of Photograph collections, archival records, numerous paintings, manuscripts and other cultural objects. She is also involved in preparation of up-gradation proposals for museums and such organizations. Her expertise includes Conservation and preservation technologies and procedures for conservation of varied material like wall paintings, paper, photographs, textile, ceramics, stone, metal and archaeological objects.

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