Conservation: Not Your Usual Dental Check-up
October 23, 2012
You may not think about the potential dust that could collect in-between the teeth of Tiger by Felipe Archuleta on display in American Art's first floor folk art galleries, but it is the job of Susan Edwards, conservation technician, to make sure he has a clean smile.
In the quiet hours before the museum opened, I observed Susan during one of her regular rounds. She told me that if dust accumulates, it can hold onto moisture which can attract insects. She showed me how she uses a special variable speed vacuum which is set to a very low suction. She held the nozzle at an angle to the sculpture and gently dusted the surface with a soft brush. I noticed that the vacuum nozzle had a screen taped over it. She said that just in case a piece of the sculpture happens to flake off, it can be caught by the screen and re-attached later. During the entire dusting process, she was also taking the opportunity to observe the overall condition of the piece. So, the next time you notice our dust-free sculpture, you'll know Susan has been there.
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