Committee Position Available – Digital Content Officer

Are you a Facebook fanatic? Does Twitter tickle your fancy? Are you wild about WordPress? If you answer yes to any of these questions then the Icon Scotland Group needs you!

Our current Digital Content Officer, Emily Hick, is stepping down from the role following the Icon Scotland Group AGM on 28 November 2019, and we are looking for a social media savy person to take over!

Duties include:

  • Sharing Scottish conservation-related news, jobs, events and projects on our Facebook and Twitter pages
  • Uploading and writing articles for the “Conservation Conservations” Blog
  • Uploading content to the icon.org.uk website
  • Attending committee meetings

It’s a great way to boost your CV and meet cross-disciplinary conservators based in Scotland. No experience is necessary as you will recieve full training on the programmes used to create digital content.

Emily says about the role “I have loved working in this capacity with the Icon Scotland Group, it has been a great way to keep up-to-date with conservation-related activities and meet conservators outside of my discipline. It’s a fun and flexible role that can be carried out in any location at a time that suits you – as long as you have wi-fi connection!”

If you are interested in taking over this position or want to find out more, please get in touch with our Chair, Christa Gerdwilker at scotland@icon.org.uk.

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Conserving the Collections: An Update — GSA Archives

This week GSA’s Collections Development Officer Michelle Kaye provides an update on conservation activities. I’m pleased to share an update on the status of the conservation of material from the Archives and Collections that was affected by the fire in GSA’s Mackintosh Building in May 2014. 1,080 more words

via Conserving the Collections: An Update — GSA Archives

The Secret of Surfaces: Reflectance Transformation Imaging [RTI] – Training Course

Delivered by Marta Pilarska Scottish Maritime Museum

Date: 27th September 2019 10.30 am – 5 pm

Venue: The Conference Room, Museums Galleries Scotland, Waverley Gate, 2-4 Waterloo Place, Edinburgh

£ 35.00   regular tickets

£ 20.00   students

Book here!

 

 

 

 

 

 

RTI is a non-invasive imaging technique for documenting the surfaces of archaeological objects, intricately carved stonework, works of art or archive material.

Combining the data from many images of the object, RTI produces files that show the object’s surface interactively in detail. A special RTI Viewer software enables us to manipulate the light source within the image  – making us see the object lit from different angles. This creates a 3D effect of the virtual surface structure.

The RTI training course will show the possibilities of documentation for a range of objects and materials – from the mapping of archaeological artefacts to monitoring flaking paint layers or the growth of mould on archival documents, to detecting fine details of wax seals.

Marta Pilarska will take the attendees through the basic steps of taking RTI-compatible photographs, capturing and processing the images with the software to create interactive RTI image files.

Museum and heritage professionals, conservators and everyone interested in RTI are welcome.

Attendees are encouraged to bring their own laptops and may bring their own objects to image. During the session, we will be able to capture 3-4 datasets and the final selection of objects to be documented will be made on the day of the event. However, pre-event consultations regarding suggested objects are encouraged. Original objects, whether works on paper or 3D objects are ideal although you might find less valuable (but still historic) artefacts easier to transport. Small to medium size historic objects from ‘handling collections’ are ideal.

Marta Pilarska is an artworks conservator and digital heritage specialist. Her professional interests focus on exploring how digital technologies combined with conservation science can aid heritage preservation.

This event has been generously supported by Museums Galleries Scotland and the Scottish Maritime Museum.


How does it feel to be an intern at the National Library of Scotland?

Thinking about conservation volunteering in Scotland? Find out what it’s like to volunteer at the National Library in Scotland in this article by Marie Renaudin, conservation student from Lyon, France… 

It was kind of hard to find a proper title to this article, I have to admit. How to strike people when you just want to tell everyone how fortunate you are to be an intern in book and paper conservation at the NLS? (Well no, they did not pay me to say that…). As the end is coming soon now, I was lucky to be asked to write a little something on the ICON blog about my impression. The story begins 5 years ago, on my first year of BA in conservation-restoration in Lyon (France), the time when I applied to do a three-month internship at the NLS. I wanted so much to be able to work with this place of great treasures one day that I decided to apply at the very beginning of my studies. As you can imagine, great place cannot stay secret for long, and unfortunately there was no space within 4 years. As my motivation was stronger than ever I have asked if I could be offered my candidature 4 years in advance – that is something we normally don’t do, and with a happy surprise they agreed!

Tear mending in the Ms.3.1.12, National Library of Scotland

Tear mending in the Ms.3.1.12, National Library of Scotland

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New Icon Scotland Chair and Committee

Last year, Christa Gerdwilker ACR was confirmed as new chair of Icon Scotland. She is taking over from Rob Thomson ACR after his impressive seven year tenure in the post. Here is a message from Christa….

Since joining the Icon Scotland committee last year, I have been blown away by the enthusiasm of its members and the range of activities that are undertaken by the committee. Rob is leaving big boots to fill but after receiving a warm and supportive welcome, I am very much looking forward to working with my fellow committee members. A successful committee is bit like a swan – calm and apparently effortless from the outside but working steadfastly underneath to maintain direction and momentum. In this case, the most outward sign of the work done by the committee is probably the great programme of events that have been put on every year, culminating in our prestigious annual Plenderleith lecture. However, in the background Icon Scotland also collaborates with external heritage bodies on national policy and heritage strategy consultations while supporting Icon UK in its activities. I very much hope to continue in this vein to provide Icon Scotland members with a representative body that delivers for them.

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Read all about it! Conservation of Newspapers

This week’s blog comes from Claire Hutchison, Icon Intern at the National Library of Scotland…

Newspapers.

Let’s be honest, most of you reading this probably haven’t bought one in a while, or at all! With the internet and social media, who needs a hard copy? We are constantly bombarded with information – it makes sense that we would forget how information used to be received.

My project work as an Icon intern at the National Library of Scotland (NLS) has been looking to preserve that information. We have thousands of newspapers within our collection that are not in the best condition.  My work focuses on a handful of regional Scottish newspapers titles that at risk; their contents are in danger of being permanently lost. For this project, I have been looking into the conservation, preservation and rehousing of the titles. This also includes the environmental controls best suited for newsprint.

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The newspaper collection at the National Library of Scotland

As many of you know, newspapers tend to be daily and normally get thrown out the next day. As a result, the paper is not of the highest quality. Wood pulps are used; these contain lignin, a polymer within the cellulose structure that gives off carboxylic acids and deteriorates the paper. When a newspaper ages, it will become discoloured and brittle. The edges of the newspaper will start to break off into confetti-like pieces putting the text block around the edges at risk of being lost. Normally, the lignin is removed from pulp but as newsprint is short-lived in use they did not remove it. Various alkaline treatments exist to remove acids from paper; but the risks outweigh the benefits when treating large and fragile formats such as newsprint.

Below are some examples of the newspapers within the collection; these were bound by the NLS in volumes of various sizes. Some have been boxed as loose issues or kept in their original binding. The volumes can be very heavy and hard to handle at their size. The majority of the damage is structural; certain titles such as Edinburgh Evening News are regularly requested by readers and this traffic is partly to blame. The binding is also very heavy which takes its toll on the lightweight paper. Common issues faced include brittle edges, tears, creasing and losses. The bindings tend to be in a better condition and have protected the paper to some extent; however the addition of straps and buckles to the binding has caused significant damage to the edge of the paper. Some have been tied too tightly which has warped the boards and torn the paper behind the buckles.

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Example of the damage caused by the buckles along the brittle edges of the paper.

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 Another example of large and successive tears within the volume, likely caused by poor handling.

My work began with a condition assessment of roughly 2000 volumes. Whilst doing this, I researched different methods in the conservation of newsprint both structurally and chemically.  The time and cost efficiency of each method was compared before creating a 2 phase treatment plan for the newspapers.  Currently, a ‘less is more’ approach has been used to improve the structural integrity of the newsprint. Conservation has also been prioritised according to condition. Work has started on those in a ‘fair’ condition to improve accessibility.  These include simple repairs with a reversible adhesive and a dyed Japanese tissue paper.  Any straps or buckles have also been cut off whilst conservation work has progressed; it is a simple yet satisfying task that should improve their condition in the long term.

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Before and after treatment with 10% Methyl Cellulose and Japanese tissue. The repairs are strong, subtle and do not obstruct the legibility.

In the coming months, I will be continuing my research into the preventive side of the project and repairing poorer condition volumes.  I will also be implementing a new fragile formats policy to ensure that the newspapers are handled with care and issued with their overall condition in mind.

Paper Conservators in Scotland News and Ideas Exchange 2019

When: 12.45pm for 1pm start, Wednesday 15th May 2019
Where: The Board Room, National Library of Scotland, George IV Bridge Edinburgh EH1 1EW
Cost: Free! Refreshments included. Thanks to Icon Scotland Group for financial support.

This now annual event is an opportunity for us to get together to share news and information about our current work. We are looking for 5 minute presentations about a topic that you think your paper colleagues would be interested to hear about. We invite paper people in (and near) Scotland of all levels of experience to contribute, and are hoping to have a very supportive and non judgemental afternoon.

There will be tea, coffee and cake at the start, at the end, and in the middle, giving plenty of opportunity to chat with colleagues. Contributions of baking are welcome.

Your topic might be about

  • An interesting treatment you are or have recently been involved with
  • A treatment that threw up challenges
  • A conservation problem you are faced with that you would like colleagues’ ideas on
  • A new technique or piece of equipment that you have been using

Some of the many interesting topics presented last year included the treatment of photos, books, parchment and chocolate (!); decision making processes; a triumph in controlling a difficult environment; exhibition preparations; monitoring vibrations near a big building project; a nifty new piece of kit to cut infills – and so much more!

Presentations will be strictly limited to 5 minutes. To help on the technical side we would like people to send digital submissions for their presentations in advance to Mary Garner m.garner@nls.uk

The space is limited to about 40 people. We are hoping that up to 20 presentations will be given. Booking priority is given to people offering to present.

Please send requests to present / attend to helencreasy@gmail.com

Don’t be shy! There are lots of us paper conservators in Scotland and we meet up all too rarely. We hope that this event, like the previous four years, will connect us better so we can continue to support and help each other in the future.

Events Questionnaire 2018

Last year’s event questionnaire was really useful to us, so once again, we would like to know what kind of training and events you’d particularly like to see in Scotland!

The survey will close on 20 January 2019. Please follow the link below and let us know what events you’d like us to host in Scotland next year! All comments and suggestions are welcome!

https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/P3QFPN8

Managing Moths at Newhailes House

Newhailes House brings three centuries of history to life. Originally built in the 17th century, this Palladian house was owned by the influential Dalrymple family and featured prominently during the Scottish Enlightenment. The National Trust for Scotland, through the Collections Conservation team, is embarking on a 4-month integrated pest management project to manage the moths at Newhailes House.

The project will involve treating a number of objects in the property for moths as well as a deep clean of affected rooms. We’re looking for a team of volunteers to help complete the project from mid-January through the end of March 2019.

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Call for Papers – Monuments in Monuments, 2019 Conference

Monuments in Monuments Conference, Monday 2 September to Wednesday 4 September 2019, the Engine Shed, Stirling

Are you a conservation professional? We’re inviting contributions for abstracts for our conference next year on the conservation of stone monuments and objects inside traditional buildings.

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About the conference

Our Monuments in Monuments Conference is an exciting, three-day international conference that offers the opportunity for conservation practitioners to network and share experiences.

The conference aims to examine the conservation of immobile stone monuments, structures or objects inside traditional buildings, and their conservation challenges.

Bringing together international conservation practitioners from across the world, we’ll explore innovative and traditional approaches to stone conservation inside traditional buildings. We’ll also examine whether a holistic conservation approach is possible.

We’re running the conference at our dedicated conservation centre in Stirling, the Engine Shed, and delegates will also have the opportunity to visit some of the most iconic heritage sites in Scotland to explore these issues first-hand.

The key themes

We’re inviting abstract submissions under these five key themes:

  • Investigation & survey: The role of imaging, heritage science, material characterisation and analysis
  • Creating a protective building envelope: Materials and design approaches to the external structure that supports the conservation of internal structures
  • Conservation challenges: Preventive and remedial conservation of sculptural elements inside historic spaces including:
    • Environmental control
    • Salt reduction
    • Controlling moisture ingress
    • Consolidation
    • Cleaning
    • Repair
  • Conservation in context: Use and adaptation of traditional buildings and their impact on internal monuments
  • Stakeholder engagement: The roles and responsibilities of communities, owners, visitors and other stakeholders to achieve sustainable conservation of a ‘living’ space

Get involved

We’re inviting abstracts from professionals who have an interest or expertise in stone conservation.

Your abstract should be:

  • No more than 300 words
  • Submitted in PDF format

If you’d like to submit an abstract, send all of the above to MiM2019@hes.scot by Thursday 31 January 2019. This is an extended deadline.

If your abstract is successful, you’ll be invited to submit a paper to present at our conference.

Please note our other deadlines:

Friday 22 February 2019: We’ll send notice of all successful abstracts

Tuesday 23 April: Deadline for full papers

Friday 31 May: Papers reviewed and returned to authors for final amendments

Friday 14 June: Receipt of finalised papers

Book your tickets and get more information here.

MIM