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Low Cost Dust Monitoring at The British Library - IFLA

Low Cost Dust Monitoring at The British Library - IFLA

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26 International Preservation News No. 53 May 2011 2. Staff cleaning a tapestry object. Photography by V. Blyth. © V&A images 3. Example of dust protection to manage the effects of building activities. Photography by V. Blyth. © V&A images Exhibition courts at the V&A The Diaghilev exhibition offered the opportunity to re-access existing strategies for the management of dust deposition on objects on open display in temporary exhibitions. With 37 costumes out of a total of 70 costumes on open display, it was important to establish a combination of practical measures which would protect the costumes, be well integrated into the design and not be obtrusive or disrupt the visitor enjoyment of the exhibits. The exhibition had successfully to convey a very so- phisticated curatorial brief. A dust monitoring exercise during the Maharaja exhibition (“Maharajah – The Splendour of India’s Royal Court”, 10 th October 2009 to 17 th January 2010) provided us with initial recommendations which were developed further for the Diaghilev exhibition. From the early stages of exhibition planning conservation worked together with the design team, curatorial staff and the exhibitions department. This was to infl uence the exhibition design and to implement strategies that would aid the reduction of dust deposition. Weekly monitoring was carried out throughout the exhibition period in order to survey the effectiveness of the measures implemented, but also identify unforeseen ‘problem areas’. The design layout needed to allow for easy access to carry out surface cleaning sessions before Museum opening hours. All the galleries have an air conditioning system installed, to control the gallery temperature and relative humidity. An air fi ltration system consisting of primary and secondary fi lters (known as ‘box and bag’) is also installed. These fi lter an approximately 95% effi ciency at 1micron and are changed every three to six months. The strategies implemented in the Diaghilev exhibition are summarised below: Objects near entrances and exits are cased or on plinths. Twists and turns are encouraged early on to aid the removal of large dust particles from visitors clothing. A minimum one metre distance between objects and visitors was maintained. One metre high solid barriers are used to shield some vulnerable objects from dust and people. A false ceiling (approx 3m high) reduces the height above a display with the aim to minimize the potential dust deposition from the atmosphere above. Access to adjacent area of building activity is blocked. A continued communication between conservation and object handling staff, event’s organisers and contracted cleaning staff. 4. Measures implemented in Diaghilev to reduce dust deposition. The areas marked red correspond to the objects on open display.

5. Gallery 39, Rite of Spring tiered display. Objects are on open display. Photography by B. Shah. © V&A images 6. Gallery 39, Rite of Spring. Surface cleaning sessions 5 and 10 weeks into the exhibition period. Photography by B. Shah. © V&A images 27 International Preservation News No. 53 May 2011

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