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Subject: Cleaning Lego bricks

Cleaning Lego bricks

From: Diana Moses Botkin <botkin.id>
Date: Tuesday, June 12, 2007
Amanda Pagliarino <amanda.pagliarino [at] qag__qld__gov__au> writes

>Is anyone aware of other museums that have acquired similar Eliasson
>artworks that could be contacted for advice on how they manage their
>artwork?  Does anyone have any advice on how to regularly and
>efficiently clean 2 cubic metres of Lego bricks?

Although I am not a conservator, but an oil painter, I have some
experience with cleaning Legos, as a mother of 5 children. Our
family has a large collection (the assortment of bricks barely all
fit in about 4 old wine cases which are approx. 12 x 18 inches
each). The bricks we have are all ages, some dating back to the
1960s (my husband's childhood collection).

My children (and sometimes my husband) build all sorts of things
from the Legos, including large castles that sit out in the living
room for months. They get dusty after awhile, especially out here in
the country with gravel roads. I've washed our collection a few
times. It is a huge job, but I discovered that putting them in mesh
bags is helpful. Open mesh plastic bags that 5 lb. of oranges come
in from the grocery store work for all but the tiny pieces. Those I
put in finer net bags.

I put the bricks loosely in the bags and then into a bathtub with
warm soapy water. If they seem particularly dusty, I let them soak
awhile, agitating the bags gently from time to time. Then I drain
the tub and rinse them in another tubload of clean water, or run
them under the shower. A hand-held shower head does help to drive a
lot of the soil off the bricks and is helpful for rinsing.

I have scrubbed individual bricks that were especially dirty, which
is very time-consuming. However, as my children are almost all grown
now, I cease to care so much anymore about toys being extremely
clean. Hope this information is helpful and appropriate for your
needs; it's time for me to go paint now,

Diana Moses Botkin


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                  Conservation DistList Instance 21:11
                   Distributed: Sunday, June 17, 2007
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Received on Tuesday, 12 June, 2007

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