Fire Damage >> Cleaning Delicate Items After A Fire

The delicate nature of certain objects or procedures required constant supervision by a conservator. There was a concerted effort to get most of the 113 pieces of furniture vacuumed and the wood cleaned in place in the gallery before it was moved to storage, Cleaning Delicate Items After A Fire where space was at a premium.

The volunteers efficiently cleaned 130 gilt picture frames, Cleaning Delicate Items After A Fire again following a training session and a conservator's cleaning test. The frames were available in various stages, as the conservator unframed and cleaned the paintings. It was difficult to judge the quantities of supplies that would be used, and the Getty Museum conservators had to fill short-term supply needs on a number of occasions.

Approximately 40 volunteers worked on the collections over the course of the project, devoting close to 5,000 hours of their time. 1.Fisher Scientific Co., Tustin, Ca., was source for chemicals, cotton, gloves, masks, bottles, and "Kaydry Wipers” (paper towels) and "Kimwipes,” both manufactured by Kimberly-Clark Corp. Cleaning Delicate Items After A Fire

We learned the importance of knowing how to contact our resources, whether they be conservators, supply companies, Cleaning Delicate Items After A Fire or people to help move objects or set up work spaces. Many people were needed on a daily basis, from carpenters, construction company foremen, security guards, to custodians.

Keeping communication open between all of us was important, Cleaning Delicate Items After A Fire because so much was happening every day. Most building renovation–washing walls, painting, restoration of ceiling plasterwork, rewiring, etc.–was delayed until the majority of the art objects were in storage.

Within a six week period following the fire, Cleaning Delicate Items After A Fire all art objects were moved from the galleries into three storage areas. In two of these areas, conservation treatments proceeded on the collection. The bulk of the objects were cleaned by the summer of 1986.

The last paintings and frames were cleaned by September 12, 1986, when Pinkie and The Blue Boy were re-hung in the Main Gallery. All of the paintings and furniture, Cleaning Delicate Items After A Fire and much of the sculpture and decorative arts objects were reinstalled in the gallery by the opening on September 30, 1986, 348 days after the fire.

3 ANALYTICAL CHEMISTRY William S.Ginell 3.1 INVESTIGATION OF THE COMPOSITION AND AGING BEHAVIOR OF THE SOOTY DEPOSITS ON TEXTILES The GCI investigated the need for immediate cleaning of the contaminated fabrics because of possible deleterious effects resulting from acids which could be produced by the eventual oxidation of the greasy smoke deposits. Cleaning Delicate Items After A Fire

Samples of fire-damaged contaminated linen drapery materials were extracted with an ethanol-hexane-toluene mixture and with water. Infrared spectra of the organic solvent extracts were obtained which showed that the deposits were composed primarily of soot (carbon black) particles and Cleaning Delicate Items After A Fire longchain hydrocarbons similar to waxes or greases.

The water extracts of the fabric proved to be neutral. Samples of the linen fabric were aged at elevated temperatures in air for several days to accelerate the oxidation of the smoke deposits. Infrared spectra of extracts of the aged fabric showed that a portion of the hydrocarbons were converted into compounds containing C=O, C-O, and OH functional groups. Cleaning Delicate Items After A Fire

These groups are characteristic of organic acids or their precursors, however the water extracts of the aged fabrics failed to reveal the presence of water-soluble acids. Although the production rate of organic acidsat room temperature is expected to be low, Cleaning Delicate Items After A Fire it was recommended that cleaning of the contaminated textiles not be postponed any longer than necessary.

3.2 POULTICE MATERIALS FOR CARPET OR TEXTILE CLEANING Because washing a Savonnerie carpet and an equally large Oriental silk rug was not feasible, Cleaning Delicate Items After A Fire a solvent-poultice cleaning technique was developed inconjunction with S. Derelian (see report). The poultice material used was an absorbent known as "rice husk ash”.

To determine if the ash might be harmful to textiles, the composition of the material was determined by infrared, X-ray fluorescence, X-ray diffraction, Cleaning Delicate Items After A Fire and polarizing microscopial techniques.

The ash was found to be composed of a glassy matrix containing mainly calcium,potassium, a very small amount of manganese, and a crystalline component identified as tridymite, Cleaning Delicate Items After A Fire a high temperature form of silica or quartz. The moistened ash was slightly alkaline which is consistent with the assumption that the glassy matrix material is a calcium potassium silicate.

In view oftheir near neutrality, roundness, and ease of removal from the rug by vacuuming, Cleaning Delicate Items After A Fire it was concluded that any residual particles remaining in the rug following vacuuming would not be harmful.

Although hexane was used initially with rice husk ash in the poultice, itwas recommended that Freon 113 be employed instead because of its non-flammability, Cleaning Delicate Items After A Fire ready volatility and non-toxic properties. The efficiency of the cleaning process was followed by infrared analyses of successive poultice extracts.

3.3 ADHESIVE IDENTIFICATION A collection of Chelsea porcelain objects that required cleaning was found to be attached to glass or wood shelf surfaces with an adhesive-saturated felt. Infrared analyses of felt samples taken from a number of locations indicated that two types of adhesive were used: A water soluble gum (possibly gum arabic or gum tragacanth) Cleaning Delicate Items After A Fire and a methanol soluble resin identified as shellac.

The felt was found to be mostly wool. Identification of appropriate solvents for these adhesives allowed the porcelain objects to be removed safely from the shelves. Analytical work was performed by Michele Derrick, Michael Schilling andWilliam Ginell, GCI; Cleaning Delicate Items After A Fire and Walter McCrone, McCrone Research Institute.

4 ACCESSIONED TEXTILES StanleyDerelian The fire deposits settled out onto all of the textiles – one Savonnerie carpet (16'8?×23'6?), Cleaning Delicate Items After A Fire one 19th Century Persian silk carpet of approximately the same size, a small Turkish silk carpet, 122 pieces of upholstered furniture, one six-panel Savonnerie screen, and five Beauvais tapestries.

The size and fragility of most of the items, Cleaning Delicate Items After A Fire combined with the nature of the smoke deposits, presented the possibility of further damage had they been handled and treated by the usually preferred aqueous immersion techniques.

Greasy soot lay on the surface of the carpets. Rolling, folding, or otherwise applying uneven pressure to the surface presented the risk of causing uneven penetration of the soot which could have left the surface streaked. Cleaning Delicate Items After A Fire Fortunately, the Savonnerie carpet had recently been cleaned and repaired, so it was capable of withstanding relatively rigorous cleaning procedures.

The silk carpets, while structurally sound, were heavily soiled not only because they had been in one of the galleries Cleaning Delicate Items After A Fire with the most smoke damage, but there were prior accumulations of dirt. There was no record of cleaning other than vacuuming.

The furniture was soiled to different degrees, depending on its history and location relative to the fire. Much of the upholstery was too fragile to undergo removal, cleaning, Cleaning Delicate Items After A Fire and re-upholstering. The tapestries, being vertically displayed, had smaller amounts of residue.

For this reason, and in consideration of other problems associated with their prior history and apparently fragile nature, Cleaning Delicate Items After A Fire the decision was made to clean them with a more traditional aqueous-immersion method using Orvus. The work is being completed at the time of this writing with excellent results.

The carpets were cleaned in place. Water as a solvent was ruled out because of the hydrophobic nature of the soot, Cleaning Delicate Items After A Fire and because the silk carpet had evidence of color bleeding with water. The sheer size of the carpets made immersion in organic solvents impractical, and surface treatments with such solvents risked the possibility of carrying the contaminants deeper into the pile.

A solvent/adsorbent poultice system was considered the approach most likely to remove a significant amount of the residue with the least amount of potential additional damage. The requirements for an adsorbent were that it had to be relatively inert, not contain material that could affect fibers or Cleaning Delicate Items After A Fire dyes by pH changes or other factors, and have a physical structure that would not adhere to the fibers, leaving an unremovable residue.

Most commercial organic or inorganic adsorbents were eliminated on these grounds. The material finally chosen was a commercial, inorganic, product, rice-hull ash, marketed under the name "Greasweep” (Greasweep Western, P.O. Box 28762, Sacramento, Ca 95828). (See Ginnell for an analysis of the adsorbent.) Cleaning Delicate Items After A Fire

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