Monday, December 22, 2008

Happy Holidays from ECPN!

With the holidays looming and productivity gently declining, I thought that I would take a break from our usual subjects to provide some conservation related diversions.

Because People Have a Need to Glue Things to Other Things

For me, holidays are usually preceded by a stream of questions from friends and family on how to repair their beloved ornaments/keepsakes/doo-dads.  Some objects are worth some quality conservation work, but for many I send my family to  Definitely not archival and certainly not to our highest conservation standards, but when it comes to fixing everyday objects it can be very handy.  And for the same low level of “How do I clean my….?” take a peak at .  Some cringe-worthy suggestions (the discussion on cleaning oil paintings is downright hard to read) but there are also some good basic household cleaning tips.

Pocket Conservator

 better yet; in response to all those conservation related questions why not just give your loved one their very own paper conservator?  You can find a make your own conservator at (pattern courtesy of the Institut Valencià de Conservació i Restauració de Béns Culturals). 

And what better tools to give your pint-sized paper conservator than Jeff Peachey’s set of miniature bookbinding tools?

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They are actually just the right size for your new tiny worker.

A Must Read Conservation Journal

As an Emerging Conservator I try to stay updated on new research and publications but somehow missed this one until it was brought to my attention a few weeks ago. What The Onion does for news, Recent Setbacks in Conservation does for professional conservation research.

For the Visual Thinkers

As many conservators are also visual thinkers, check out the web comic Indexed at  While not directly related to art conservation, Venn diagrams and bar charts were never so funny. 

Beware of the Yellow (Milliput®) Snow

 finally, I leave you with a warning on the use of aged materials.  Last year Laura Brill made this lovely little 2.5” snowman of extra Milliput®.  It was lovingly crafted complete with buttons, top hat, pipe and bamboo skewer arms.  Sadly the Milliput® used was very old and even after a year of curing Frosty is still soft and tacky as well as having turned this ugly shade of yellow.  Further research is required but preliminary study suggests this aged Milliput® would be a poor material for use with artifacts.

From the wintery wonderland of Shelburne Vermont I wish very happy holidays to you and yours!

-Rachel Penniman

Rachel Penniman is currently an Advanced Conservation Intern at the Shelburne Museum, but will be taking a new position in January as objects conservator at the Cleveland Museum of Art.

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