Need help from a conservator? Call 202-452-9545 or use our Find a Conservator tool.

National Heritage Responders

Is an Emergency Affecting your Collection? 

Is an emergency (such as a natural or manmade disaster) affecting your institution? Call our response team 24/7 at 202-661-8068.  
Learn more here.

2010 Posters

Please note: Links were broken during the migration from AIC's former website to this one. Poster authors are encouraged to resubmit poster files to the AIC office at There is a 5MB file size limit. 

  1. Quantitative Hyperspectral Imaging Technique for Condition Assessment and Monitoring of Historical Documents
    B.J. Aalderink and M.E. Klein, Applied Research Engineers, Art Innovation BV; R. Padoan, Conservator, and G. de Bruin, Head Restauration and Conservation, Nationaal Archief; Th. A.G. Steemers, Director Collection, Nationaal Archief

    Quantitative hyperspectral imaging (QHSI) is a non-destructive remote sensing technique that is capable of detecting small changes of the optical characteristics of material surfaces before they become visible for the human eye. For this reason the Nationaal Archief (National Archives of the Netherlands, The Hague) is conducting an applicability study on the use of QHSI for detecting, measuring, and visualizing optical changes in historical documents caused by aging process and conservation treatments.

    Most archival institutions regularly assess the condition of their collections in order to determine their suitability for transport, public exhibition, and access by researchers. This procedure typically includes a detailed visual inspection of the documents by an expert, supplemented by a photographic documentation and, possibly, the application of non-destructive measurement techniques at a few selected locations. However, conventional condition assessments can easily fail to detect subtle changes of the varied materials composing historical documents. There is the risk that small optical changes over large areas or large changes in very small areas are overlooked, not being documented with sufficient precision in previous condition reports. Quantitative hyperspectral imaging is a sensitive technique that allows one to measure and document the characteristics of a very large number of object points simultaneously and with high accuracy. A single measurement with the QHSI instrument “SEPIA,” currently in use at the Nationaal Archief, provides 4 million spectral reflectance curves in the wavelength range from 365 to 1100 nm (near-UV, visible and near-infrared), for an area of 125 mm × 125 mm (5” × 5”) of the document. The resulting data set, the so-called hyperspectral data cube, consists of 70 spectral images, each containing the calibrated spectral reflectance values measured with a sampling resolution of more than 400 dpi.

    This high spatial resolution can be exploited to generate a detailed map of the changes of the document condition between two subsequent measurements, e.g. taken before and after an exhibition. To do so, first mathematical transformations have to be applied to the hyperspectral data cubes of the two measurements to compensate for the unavoidable small differences in document position and shape between the two measurements. Then the differences between two corresponding spectral images from the first and second measurement can be calculated pixel-by-pixel. This difference ideally results in the value 0 for pixels related to specific document areas that have not undergone any optical change. Non-zero pixel values map the occurrence and strength of optical changes within the document. These can be visualized in grayscale or color- coded images that help the conservator to identify the most critical areas on the document.

    By calculating the differences, not only for individual spectral images but for the entire two data cubes, it may be possible to distinguish various degradation effects and provide a detailed statistical description of the spectral changes of the recorded sample. This makes the QHSI technique a valuable tool for an objective assessment of the document condition.

    (Poster download not available)

  2. Evaluating the Use of Some Selected Nano Polymers in the Conservation of Archaeological Cellulosic Materials
    Omar Abdel-Kareem, Associate Professor, Monument Conservation Department, Faculty of Archaeology, Cairo University, and Hanaa Nasr, Associate Professor, Polymer and Pigment Department, Chemical Industry Division, National Research Centre

    Polymers are commonly used in the conservation of archaeological cellulosic materials such as paper, papyrus, cotton, and linen. This study aims to evaluate some selected nano polymers in the conservation of cellulosic materials. Two types of cellulosic materials, linen and papyrus, were treated with different types of nano polymers to evaluate the effect of these polymers on the physical and chemical properties of these materials. Two different types of accelerated aging methods, heat and light, were used in this evaluation. The change of the physical and chemical properties of the untreated and treated cellulosic materials after aging was assessed by different methods. The results showed that all selected polymers improve the properties of treated cellulosic materials. However, the results showed that both treated and untreated cellulosic materials became progressively darker and showed progressive losses in tensile strength after aging by different methods. X-ray powder diffraction results show that the aging of the cellulosic materials slightly decreased crystallite size in the longitudinal dimension, also decreasing the total crystallinity compared to unaged samples. Results obtained by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy show changes in chemical properties of treated and untreated cellulosic materials after aging by different methods. The results of this study will assist a conservator who seeks information about nano polymers suggested to be used in conservation of cellulosic materials.

    (Poster download not available)

  3. Capillary Electrophoresis with Laser-Induced Fluorescence Detection for the Identification of Historically Important Dyes
    Shokoufeh Ahmadi, Graduate Student, Department of Chemistry, University of Manitoba; Dr. Douglas Craig, Professor, Department of Chemistry, University of Winnipeg; Dr. Douglas Goltz, Professor, Centre for Scientific and Curatorial Analysis of Painting Elements, Department of Chemistry, University of Winnipeg, and Adjunct Professor, Department of Chemistry, University of Manitoba

    Historically important dyes have been used for centuries in painted objects and textiles. They are often classified according to their colors: red dyes (alizarin, purpurin, carmine, henna), yellow dyes (curcumine, crocin and morin), and blue dyes (indigo). Various analytical techniques such as liquid chromatography, uv-visible spectrophotometry, Raman and infrared spectroscopy have been used for identifying different dyes. Often the identification process is seriously compromised if dyes are present as a mixture in paintings. One of the objectives of this research is to examine the feasibility of using capillary electrophoresis for separating and identifying a number of historically important dyes. Capillary electrophoresis has the advantage of being an extremely sensitive technique with low detection limits. Furthermore, the low detection limit allows one to work with very small samples, which minimizes damage to an object. For this work a solid state laser (407 nm) with a maximum output of 10 mW and a 500 mW Ar laser was used (484 and 514 nm). Although most of these dyes absorb light at longer wavelengths, their fluorescence emission is much stronger with shorter excitation wavelengths. Fortunately with the Argon laser, the higher power (500 mW) made it possible to detect these dyes with very high sensitivity. While the separation of these historical dyes worked well under basic condition, the extraction procedure for most of the dyes required acidic conditions (e.g. hydrofluoric or acetic acid). Therefore, the fluorescence and separation properties of dyes were examined under different pH conditions (pH=9, 7, and 3).

    (Poster download not available)

  4. Zebra Hide Slide
    Helen Alten, Director, Northern States Conservation Center

    A zebra hide transport, storage, and research mount was constructed from aluminum tubing, Coroplast, Sonotube, Marvelseal, terrycloth, and muslin. Two zebra hides could slide one below the other on V-shaped mounts that were hinged so that they could be flat on an examination table. The hides stayed on the mount during transport and storage in the transport crate. They also remained on the mount when examined by scholars or on display.

    (Poster download not available)

  5. Conservation and Management in the Archaeological site of Pueblito, Parque Nacional Tayrona
    María Paula Alvarez, Co-director, Corporación Proyecto Patrimonio, Colombia

    The archaeological site of Pueblito is located in a 2.2 km area of the Tayrona National Park Biosphere Reserve, Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Colombia. Settlement developed there during the IX and XVI centuries, characterized by concentric housing terraces interconnected by stone trails that follow the topography and proximity to water sources. The terraces, retention walls, trails, bridges, stairs, and canals are sophisticated examples of stone architecture and engineering that were abandoned during Spanish conquest and rediscovered by 20th century archaeologists.

    Pueblito excavations started in the 1920s. The site was recognized in 1947 by the national government and legal protection was established in 1964 with the creation of Tayrona National Park. In the 1980s and 1990s the settlement was restored and opened to visitors on foot.

    The Unidad Administrativa Especial Parques Nacionales Naturales (UAESPNN) manages Pueblito. One park ranger and one indigenous family living in Pueblito control visitor access, maintain archaeological structures, and safeguard the site.

    In 2006, the Management Plan of Pueblito (Alvarez et al, 2006) was done under supervision of the national archeological authority (Instituto Colombiano de Antropología e Historia, ICANH), which needs to be integrated into the Management Plan of Tayrona National Park. The plan was an opportunity to clarify restrictions on constructing large infrastructures the regional government wanted to build there. It also provided understanding of institutional operations and established the need for a better planning process.

    The current state of the site outlined in the Management Plan describes some of the damaged archaeological structures. By 2007, some areas of structures III and XXIV collapsed. In 2008, a documentation and restoration project for these terraces found support from the Fundación para las Investigaciones arqueológicas Nacionales (FIAN) and conservation was carried out. The conservation process allowed better understanding of prehispanic stone construction and deterioration. Conservation procedures, tools, materials and structural monitoring were described.

    For the coming year, Proyecto Patrimonio is looking for funds to continue management and conservation activities in the site, especially at terrace XXIV where a large area had collapsed.

    (Poster download not available)

  6. Alternative Treatments for Dry Fiber and Fungal Attacks on Andean Ethnographic Clothing
    Rosemary Zenker Alzamora , Textile Conservator, National Museum of Peruvian Culture, Peru

    Ethnographic textiles are those that are made by a particular culture or ethnic group using historic techniques. They include clothing, textiles, ceremonial and home accessories, etc. Preserving and understanding the cultural context of a museum object can provide a basis for preventative conservation, which involves constant discipline to prevent all forms of deterioration. The National Museum of Peruvian Culture, in Lima, has a large collection of historic clothing from different Andean regions, including dresses, skirts, vests, hats, and pants from the ancient Inca capitol city of Cusco. Many camelid-fiber objects have had fungal attack due to the humidity of Lima, as well as some problems of dry fibers. The alternative treatment we developed for treating dry fibers involved a non-toxic, organic substance Tara (Caesalpinia Spinosa). Added to distilled water vapor containing 5% benzene and 2% ethanol, the solution was applied to dry and brittle fibers and finally dried with filter paper or cotton cloth. For treatment of fungal attack due to prolonged high humidity, leaves of the Muña plant (Minthostachys mollis Minthostachys setosa) were placed with the affected textile for one week. In more severely affected areas, Muña was added to a 5% benzene and 2% ethanol solution in distilled water and swabbed on the affected areas. Results were that the growth of biological activity stopped. These alternative treatments use materials easily obtained within Peru and they are beneficial because they avoid damaging the ethnographic textiles with strong chemicals. This success motivated us to continue experimenting with alternative means for providing “green” preventive conservation methods for Andean ethnographic clothing.

    (Poster download not available)

  7. The Integral Conservation of the Egyptian Collection of the Ethnographic Museum Ambrosetti
    Gabriela Ammirati, Ethnographic Museum Ambrosetti

  8. Treatment of Lichens, Salts, and Fungi Found on the External Surfaces of Rock Walling of the Cathedral of Cusco, Peru
    Silvia Liliana Saldivar Antunez de Mayolo, Director of Technical Projects Office of the Archbishopric of Cusco

    The Basilica Cathedral of Cusco constitutes one of the most important and relevant extant architectural monuments dating from vice regal times in Peru and South America. Within it are contained innumerable works of art spanning three centuries of Cusco history. The construction of this magnificent building began in the year 1559 and was finished in 1668, having through the course of time undergone several periodic restorations. The most thorough and encompassing of these was carried out in the years 1997-2002, under the auspices of a private institution--the Fundación Telefónica (Telephonic Company). The project undertaken at the time contemplated a very wide ranging and all-inclusive integral restoration effort, both at the architectural as well as the individual artistic level with paintings, sculptures, and retablos. It also included the two immediately adjacent churches of la Sagrada Familia and Triunfo. The Archbishopric of Cusco contributed funds for the restoration of works of art and drainage systems.

    (Poster download not available)

  9. Contemporary Art, Environmental Control, and Exhaustive Documentation About Art: Bureaucracy
    Juliana Assis Nascimento, Museu de Arte, Contemporânea de Niterói, Brazil

    Work with contemporary art collections often means dealing with unpredictable techniques and unstable materials. Correct environmental controls may delay alterations in materials and monitoring can avoid surprises. Precise written and photographic documentation can help guide conservation decisions. Institutional limitations, such as limited financial resources resulting in inadequate structures and insufficient staff, result in problems for collections and challenges for conservation work.
    The more than 1000 piece João Sattamini’s collection, of the Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Niterói (MAC), is one of the most representative contemporary Brazilian art collections.  It had inadequate storage for a long period before arriving in Niteroi in the 1990s. It was a few years before the Museum was able to provide better conditions.

    One of the MAC’S Works represents the difficulty of caring for contemporary art collections with few resources. A 1979 oil painting, Sobre a Arte: BU-RO-CRA-CIA (About Art: BU-REAU-CRA-CY), by Anna Bella Geiger, suffered alteration of the original background. Currently it looks beige-stained with orange but a 1996 photograph shows that it was white. The conservation team evaluated the alteration, examined other works in the same series, and concluded that the alteration compromised the artist’s esthetic project.

    The painting is unvarnished and had never been restored. Analysis under magnification and cleaning tests confirmed the alteration occurred in the paint itself, which was made with two incompatible materials that were not completely mixed. Close examination of the 1996 photograph revealed that alteration was then already present but much more discrete than currently. Unfortunately there were no later photographs to document the progress of the alteration. Inadequate storage certainly accelerated a process that was probably inevitable.  It was a challenge for the team to precisely analyze the artist’s materials and define the intervention.

    (Poster download not available)

  10. The Vickers Vimy: New Techniques for an Old Aircraft
    Elizabeth Beesley, MSc Student in Conservation, Institute of Archaeology, University College London, and Ian Miles, Objects Conservator, Science Museum, London

    The Science Museum, London, U.K., holds a small but significant collection of historic aircraft. One of these is the Vickers Vimy, the aircraft which in 1919 flew the first non-stop journey across the Atlantic. A unique and important biplane, it is currently on open display and its doped fabric covering is being recurrently damaged by public handling. At present such damage is repaired in a traditional manner, but the accumulation of patches that this leaves, together with concerns over the stability of the patch material, has led to a reconsideration of this treatment. This work examines the construction and condition of the Vimy’s covering and investigates alternative methods for its conservation.
    The Vimy is covered with a pigmented and doped fabric; dopes are cellulose-based varnishes which were applied to aircraft covering to waterproof it, enable cleaning, increase strength, and providing a smooth, taut aerofoil. Analysis indicated that the textile covering is linen and the main component of the dope is cellulose acetate. In the 1960s, a layer of off-white paint was added, presumably to conceal the stained and patched surface.

    Currently, holes and tears in the Vimy’s covering are repaired using the same method that has been used since the aircraft was made: an aircraft linen patch is applied over the hole with dope. This method stems from the traditional approach of restoring museum aircraft using techniques which would be used to keep them airworthy. However, over the years this has resulted in a collection of patches on the lower wings, some of which stand out against the paint; also, holes continue to be made in the fabric. This progression of damage, unsightly appearance, and concerns about continued shrinking of the cellulose butyrate dope used at present led to the reevaluation of the doped patch method.

    In searching for techniques that would give a more aesthetically-pleasing finish and utilize stable materials, we turned to leather and paintings conservation. A strong, flexible adhesive and support were required; heat activation was focused on due to the swelling of the linen and cracking of the paint layer caused by solvents. Tears made in a doped, linen-covered frame were used to test several adhesives and supports with the card sandwich method. This uses pieces of card tied with thread either side of the torn fabric to provide pressure to make a good join. Lascaux 498 (dispersion of methyl methacrylate and butylacrylate) with a linen backing was found to give the most satisfactory finish and would also allow retreatment in the traditional manner.

    It is hoped that using this method, inpainting the patches, and preventive conservation focused on minimizing damage will help to preserve the material integrity of the object. It also marks a change in approach towards the conservation end of the conservation/restoration continuum, but a potential loss of traditional repair techniques.

    (Poster download not available)

  11. The Causes and Potential Treatments of Ferrotyping on Acrylic Paintings
    Megan Berkey, Paintings Conservation Graduate Student, James Hamm, Professor of Paintings Conservation and Interim Director, and Dr. Gregory Dale Smith, Andrew W. Mellon Assistant Professor of Conservation Science, Art Conservation Department, Buffalo State College

    Ferrotyping, defined as packing materials inadvertently adhering to and imprinting texture on acrylic dispersion paint surfaces, is a common form of damage. Mock-up panels were created and samples of Golden fluid acrylic pours were obtained in order to study and observe changes that occurred following damage. Samples were placed in contact with three common packing materials: bubble wrap, glassine and Tyvek. The intent of this research was to establish different methods of treatment for each type of ferrotyping in order to improve the degree and appearance of damage, whether just superficial surface marring or textural deformation. Various techniques were explored employing solvents as well as attempting to “re-ferrotype” a smooth surface onto the areas of damage using heat. While heat treatments managed to imbed particulates in the surface, the use of a solvent vapor chamber had the most advantageous effects in reversing damage. Subtle nuances of the surface characteristics, such as air bubbles and artifacts of paint applications were all retained and unaltered. Modulated differential scanning calorimetry (MDSC) was carried out on the treated paints in order to determine any changes to the Tg that occurred based on the various methods of treatment. Solvent retention and plasticized paint were a significant result of treatment using a vapor chamber. Alternatively, different cosmetic treatments, including the use of removable varnishes and acrylic film appliqués, were also studied as an aesthetic approach to minimize the appearance of damage. One year following treatment, the samples were revisited to observe changes to the surface that resulted through natural aging in an ambient environment.

    (Poster download not available)

  12. Conservation of the Naco Mammoth
    Christina Bisulca, Graduate Student, Department of Materials Science and Engineering, University of Arizona, and Nancy Odegaard, Head of Conservation, Arizona State Museum

    The Naco mammoth remains and associated Clovis spear points were excavated in 1952 by “The Father of Southwest Archaeology,” renowned University of Arizona archaeologist Emil Haury. Precious few remains exist anywhere of the Clovis Paleoindians, and this assemblage is considered one of the most important Clovis kill site finds in the world. These remains, which include the original block lift and additional base support created in the 1950s, at present are highly unstable and the heavy 3 by 3 foot structure is now breaking apart. The bones themselves are exceedingly fragile, and already have extensive damage from previous transport and exhibit. Additionally, adhesives used in the original lift and for later exhibition are deteriorated and damaging the surface of the bone. Because of the instability of the current exhibition mounts, the remains have not been on exhibit for over 20 years.

    The conservation treatment devised had to take into consideration the historic and scientific importance of the specimen in addition to its current preservation and the stability of the original exhibition materials. The precise orientation of the bones in the block lift is an integral aspect in its archaeological interpretation and must be preserved. Any materials or solvents used to stabilize the fragile bones could interfere with future scientific analysis, a consideration becoming increasingly important with advances in the extraction and analysis of biomarkers in paleontology.

    The ultimate plan for conservation devised was done in collaboration with geologists, paleontologists, fossil preparators, and archaeologists. The treatment relied heavily upon analysis of the skeletal material to understand the reasons for its extreme fragility, which reflect both its depositional history as well as effects of the materials and methods used in the creation of the original mount.

    (Poster download not available)

View Posters 13-23 >>

Quick Links