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Restaurator. International Journal for the Preservation of Library and Archival Material

Editor-in-Chief: Eyb-Green, Sigrid / Henniges, Ute


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1865-8431
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Volume 34, Issue 3

Issues

Electrostatic Removal of Loose Particulate Surface Contamination from Historical Photographs / Elektrostatische Abnahme lose aufliegender partikulärer Verunreinigungen von historischen Photographien / Dissolution électrostatique des particules libres contaminant la surface de photographies historiques

Marie-Louise Frank
  • Corresponding author
  • Historisches Archiv der Stadt Köln, Restaurierungs- und Digitalisierungszentrum, Frankfurter Str. 50, D-51147 Köln
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/ Ernst Becker / Julia Schultz
  • Corresponding author
  • Research assistant, Hochschule für angewandte Wissenschaft und Kunst, Fakultät Bauen und Erhalten, Mikrobiologielabor, Bismarckplatz 10/11, D-31134 Hildesheim
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/ Ulrike Hähner
  • Corresponding author
  • Professor, Hochschule für angewandte Wissenschaft und Kunst, Fakultät Bauen und Erhalten, Studienrichtung Schriftgut, Buch und Graphik, Tappenstraße 55, D-31134 Hildesheim
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/ Irene Brückle
  • Corresponding author
  • Professor, Studiengang Konservierung und Restaurierung Kunstwerken auf Papier, Archiv- und Bibliotheksgut, Staatliche Akademie der Bildenden Künste Stuttgart, Höhenstrasse 16, D-70736 Fellbach, Germany
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/ Karin Petersen
  • Corresponding author
  • Professor, Hochschule für angewandte Wissenschaft und Kunst, Fakultät Bauen und Erhalten, Mikrobiologielabor, Bismarckplatz 10/11, D-31134 Hildesheim
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Published Online: 2013-08-22 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/res-2013-0013

Abstract

This article discusses the use of electrostatic cleaning technology to remove loose particulate surface contamination - which here includes microbial contaminants such as spores, conidia and hyphal fragments - from two 19th century albumen photographs mounted on cardboard. The results of this study, obtained using light microscopy, SEM/EDX and microbiological methods, as well as conservators' visual evaluation, show that the technology is fundamentally suitable for removing microbial contamination from photographic prints and their cardboard mounts. Cleaning the surface four times with electrostatically charged foils reduced the microbial contamination by up to 70%. The surface of the albumen print, which is sensitive to abrasion, was not harmed, and its characteristic features were not changed. The photographs, which were partly delaminated from the cardboard support and the mechanically weakened cardboard, could be treated without creating any additional damage.

Zusammenfassung

Die Abnahme von lose aufliegenden partikularen Verunreinigungen, darunter auch mikrobiologische Kontaminationen, i.e. Sporen, Konidien und Hyphenfragmente von zwei auf Untersatzkarton montierten Albuminphotographien des 19. Jh. mit elektrostatischer Reinigungstechnologie wird vorgestellt. Die Ergebnisse begleitender Untersuchungen mittels Lichtmikroskopie, REM/EDX und mikrobiologischen Methoden sowie restauratorische Bewertungen zeigen, dass die Technologie grundsätzlich für die Abnahme mikrobieller Kontaminationen von photographischen Bildschichten und Karton geeignet ist. Nach viermaliger Reinigung der Oberflächen mit elektrostatisch geladenen Folien konnte eine Reduzierung der mikrobiellen Kontamination von bis zu 70% erreicht werden. Die gegenüber Druck und Reibung empfindlichen Oberflächen der Albuminpapiere wurden weder beschädigt noch ihre charakteristischen äußeren Merkmale verändert. Die teilweise lokal abgelösten Photographien und abgebauten Untersatzkartons konnten behandelt werden, ohne dass zusätzliche mechanische Beschädigungen auftraten.

Résumé

Cet article discute de l’emploi d’une technologie de nettoyage électrostatique pour retirer les particules libres - qui peuvent être des agents microbiens comme des spores, des conidées ou des fragments mycéliens - contaminant la surface de deux photographies à l’albumine argentique datant du 19ème Siècle montées sur carton. Les résultats de cette étude, obtenue en utilisant parallèlement la microscopie optique, SEM/EDX (Spectroscopie à dispersion d’énergie des rayons X) et des méthodes microbiologiques ainsi que l’évaluation visuelle des restaurateurs, ont démontre que cette technologie est tout a fait adaptée et peut être utilisée pour nettoyer la surface des cliches photographiques anciens et leurs supports en carton en éliminant la contamination microbienne qui s’y trouve. Le nettoyage de la surface répété 4 fois à l’aide de feuilles chargées électrostatiquement a permis de réduire la contamination microbienne jusqu’à 70%. La surface des photographies a l’albumine argentique qui est sensible à l’abrasion n’a subi aucun dommage et aucune des caractéristiques extérieures n’a été modifiée par ce traitement. Les photographies ainsi que leurs supports en carton partiellement détériorés ont pu être restaures sans que d’autres détériorations mécaniques supplémentaires soient venues s’y ajouter.

About the article

Marie-Louise Frank

Marie-Louise Frank received her diploma in 2012 in paper conservation, specializing in photo conservation from the graduate program Conservation of Works of Art on Paper, Archives- and Library Materials at the State Academy of Art and Design in Stuttgart. She studied photo conservation for one semester with Anne Cartier-Bresson at the Institute national du patrimoine (INP). Currently, she is employed at the historical city archive in Cologne in the conservation and digitization centre.

Ernst Becker

Ernst Becker has a degree in process engineering from the Universitat Stuttgart. After his studies, he founded and established development and production companies (at both a national and international level) in the field of product development, plant engineering, environmental metrology, and conservation. Currently, he is the managing partner of Becker Systems GmbH, which focuses on renewable energy, as well as on technologies and processes for conservation.

Julia Schultz

Julia Schultz was trained as a conservator, specializing in furniture and wooden objects. She received a Diploma from the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Hildesheim (HAWK), Germany in 2003, with a focus on historical woodworking tools and microbially contaminated objects. After a postgraduate internship in the Department of Decorative Arts and Sculpture Conservation at the J. Paul Getty Museum in California (2003–2004), she obtained an MA in Conservation from HAWK, researching antibody-based techniques for the identification of proteinaceous binding media in works of art (2006). She is currently a PhD student at the State Academy of Art and Design in Stuttgart, Germany and, after 2 years as an Andrew W. Mellon Fellow at the Department of Scientific Research at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, she is a research assistant at HAWK since 2009, where she is involved in third-party funded projects relating to microbiological questions, and continues her work on the application of immunological techniques to the study of works of art.

Ulrike Hähner

Ulrike Hähner is professor at the Hochschule fur angewandte Wissenschaft und Kunst (HAWK) Hildesheim/Holzminden/Gottingen. She leads the Schriftgut, Buch und Graphik group in the Faculty of Engineering and Conservation, with a teaching and research interests in the field of conserving modern collections and large-scale projects in archives, libraries and graphic collections. Until her appointment in 2009, she led the unit on collection conservation management at the Universitatsbibliothek Marburg. Since 1991, she also teaches at the Hochschule fur Archivwissenschaft Marburg.

Irene Brückle

Irene Brückle is professor and director of the graduate programme Conservation of Conservation of Works of Art on Paper, Archives- and Library Materials at the State Academy of Art and Design in Stuttgart since 2008, which is focused on the treatment of artworks on paper and associated collections in archives and libraries. Between 1992 and 2004, she taught paper conservation at the Art Conservation Department, Buffalo State College. She holds an MA in art history from the University at Buffalo and a PhD in art technology/art history from the State Academy Stuttgart. From 2005 to 2008, she was head of conservation at the Kupferstichkabinett, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Preusischer Kulturbesitz. She focuses on methods of preservation and conservation, concerning art on paper in particular.

Karin Petersen

Karin Petersen studied Biology, Chemistry and Limnology at the Christian-Albrechts-Universitat in Kiel, graduating in 1984. From 1985-2005 she worked at the Carl-von-Ossietzky-Universitat in Oldenburg in the geomicrobiology working group. In the context of her work there, she co-directed a BMFT project on natural stone deterioration and the preservation of murals. Since 1989, she teaches regularly at the Fachhochschulen in Hildesheim and Koln, and, since 1991, at the HFBK Dresden and the Fachhochschule Potsdam. Since 1999, she is a professor at the FH Hildesheim for microbiology in conservation. Her teaching and research focuses on microbial deterioration of materials, especially art and cultural objects as well as the possible health dangers associated with dealing with contaminated art objects.


Published Online: 2013-08-22

Published in Print: 2013-08-01


Citation Information: Restaurator. International Journal for the Preservation of Library and Archival Material, Volume 34, Issue 3, Pages 227–258, ISSN (Online) 1865-8431, ISSN (Print) 0034-5806, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/res-2013-0013.

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