Tuesday, June 21, 2011

SLQ Labs Tour - part two

Part Two: Storage, Pest Prevention & Environmental Monitoring

The preservation lab staff at SLQ take great care in storing and exhibiting artefacts, but before anything can enter the lab, it goes through quarantine. It is carefully checked for pests that could spread to other items, or do further damage. No harsh chemicals are used. Freezing temperatures and oxygen deprivation are the safest and most reliable methods of controlling pests and fungal growth. Staff check each box afterwards to remove any pests that have surfaced during treatment.

When an item is stored, two considerations are paramount: the packaging, and the environment. The SLQ team makes custom-sized boxes and sleeves to suit the item or document to be stored. An encapsulation machine uses conservation-grade plastic to create sleeves, cut and sealed to size. The encapsulator leaves one corner unsealed to allow for airflow, and a small amount of space at the top that can be cut open. The sleeve can then be reused and resealed with a smaller document inside. The paper and cardboard used is carefully selected to meet conservation guidelines.

Optimal light, temperature relative humidity are also factors in storage and exhibition. The environment around art objects, documents and other artefacts is carefully monitored and controlled.

For more information, see SLQ's website.

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