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Subject: Ten agents of deterioration

Ten agents of deterioration

From: John E. Simmons <jsimmons>
Date: Thursday, April 17, 2003
Susanne Myall <suemyall [at] btinternet__com> writes

>Where, who from and how did the phrase "ten agents of deterioration"
>originate? I am writing about this in my dissertation and need to be
>able to cite it properly. Can anyone shed any light?

The agents of deterioration were first published by Costain (1994),
who listed nine agents:

    1.  direct physical forces
    2.  thieves,vandals, displacers
    3.  fire
    4.  water
    5.  pests
    6.  contaminants
    7.  radiation
    8.  incorrect temperature
    9.  incorrect relative humidity

The list was amplified by Michalski (1994) and by Rose and Hawks
(1995).  Waller (1995) added a tenth agent, (10) custodial neglect.

    Costain, C.  1994.
    Framework for preservation of museum collections.
    Canadian Conservation Institute Newsletter 14:1-4.

    Michalski, S.  1994a.
    A systematic approach to preservation:  description and
    integration with other museum activities.  Pp. 8-11 in Preprints
    of the Ottawa Congress, 12-16 September 1994.  Preventive
    Conservation, Theory and Research.  (A. Roy and P. Smith, eds.).
    International Institute for Conservation of Historic and
    Artistic Works, London. 244 pp.

    Rose, C.L. and C.A. Hawks.  1995.
    A preventive conservation approach to the storage of
    collections.  Pp. 1-20 in Storage of Natural History
    Collections: A Preventive Conservation Approach. (C.L. Rose,
    C.A. Hawks, and H.H. Genoways, eds.).  Society for the
    Preservation of Natural History Collections.  x + 448 pp.

    Waller, R. R.  1995.
    Risk management applied to preventive conservation. Pp. 21-27 in
    Storage of Natural History Collections: A Preventive
    Conservation Approach. (C.L. Rose, C.A. Hawks, and H.H.
    Genoways, eds.). Society for the Preservation of Natural History
    Collections.  x + 448 pp.

John E. Simmons
Collection Manager, Natural History Museum
and
Coordinator, Museum Studies Program
University of Kansas
Dyche Hall
1345 Jayhawk Boulevard
Lawrence, Kansas 66045-7561
785-864-4508
Fax: 785-864-5335


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