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Collections | Conservation

Preventive conservation measures

Definition
Preventive conservation includes all of the direct or indirect measures aimed at conserving the original condition of the work as effectively as possible and increasing its life expectancy.

The Musée de Flandre collections comprise a diversity of artefacts in organic (wood, textiles, paper, etc.) and inorganic (stone, metal, etc.) materials.
The former absorb and reject humidity and are very sensitive: they undergo dimensional variations which may cause crazing, breakage or deformation.

The purpose of preventive conservation is therefore to :
- Control the climate in the collection storage areas and exhibition rooms of the museum: i.e. by ensuring that a stable temperature (18-19°C) and relative humidity levels (between 50 and 55%) are maintained
- Control the light : as it can cause organic materials to deteriorate (change in colour, darkening, etc.)
- Control the presence of mould which attacks organic materials
- Prevent dust from gathering on objects by making suitable display and protective supports.
- Control the presence of insects that can alter works by feeding off of organic materials. In the event of infestation, anoxia is carried out.

What is anoxia ?
Anoxia is a non-chemical method aimed at getting rid of insects by depriving them of oxygen. Infested works are placed in an airtight plastic bubble. The temperature is raised slightly to bring the insects out. The oxygen is gradually removed from the bubble and replaced with nitrogen. Once on the surface of the work, the insects are asphyxiated by the nitrogen. Before the collections were moved, works containing wood or textiles were subjected to anoxia to ensure that all of the collections were healthy before entering the new storage areas.

Rotation of fragile works
Exhibits in the museum’s permanent exhibition areas made from fragile materials (paper, photographs, textiles) and which are particularly sensitive to light are rotated at regular intervals. In this way the museum can protect its showpieces at the same time as changing its displays.

Display and protective supports
Tailormade display and protective supports need to be made for the most fragile showpieces by the art works registrar and technical team of the museum. These supports are made from neutral materials that are stable over time so as not to alter the works and so as to overcome the structural frailties of the objects.

The display base for some objects in the permanent exhibition areas has been made by Soclage et Patrimoine, which designs specific display systems depending on the fragile aspects of each object. These bases have all been made from neutral and stable materials – with the number one aim being the successful conservation of the work.
Textiles are showcased on mannequins made-to-measure by Carmen Lucini, a textile conservator specialising in mannequins, so that they are presented in their natural form.

 

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