Adaptive Preservation

Thursday, November 14, 2019 at 10:00am to 11:00am

4-370, 4-370

Preservation seeks to prevent works of art and artifacts from changing. In the face of our climate stepped in oxidizing gases and especially water vapor, preventing change is a tall order. If preservation limits itself to physical means, to the extent that is possible, and leaves chemical treatments to conservators, preservation can safely enroll help from allied fields and increase its efforts. Our environment has other threats, beyond the gaseous, and dangers from biological, geological, and energies, both radiant and kinetic all must be addressed. Wise use of housings, which can conform to their contents, and grip them gently, edge support systems, support spacers, and adhesion with non biological ethers of cellulose can provide the support that the artifacts require, while minimizing chemical issues. Enclosure systems that incorporate glass and plastic glazing materials and heat sealing foils and zeolite, sacrificial metal scavenging components are the other mainstay of adaptive preservation. Enclosures can be created that are suited to display, transportation, and storage that excludes as many change agents as possible. Packages can be created that allow for re-conditioning of their contents, without complete reopening, to avoid contamination, which reduces the impulse to try to create hermetic seals, which are near impossible and can lead to a false sense of security and problems. Since each preservation subject and each preservation setting is unique, materials and methods from an ever expanding catalogue must be thoughtfully combined to ensure that the greatest safety is afforded, in a process that is self critical and open to constant improvement. Preservation that draws materials and techniques from allied fields and relies primarily on physical means, recognizing the distinct needs of each item and each setting, can achieve the greatest possible benefit and can be said to be adaptive, which Darwin said was the key to survival.

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