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Subject: Food products in museum collections

Food products in museum collections

From: Jerry Shiner <info<-at->
Date: Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Beatrice Colastin Skokan <bskokan [at] miami__edu> writes

>I was asked to add a wrapped cookie to one of our archival
>collections and am very hesitant to proceed without further
>guidance. Are there preservation methods/guidelines for adding food
>items to collections? ...


If you decide to accept the cookie, I would suggest the best way to
deal with preservation issues would be to use a variation of the
system developed originally for the food industry: oxygen free
storage.

For this to be effective, you will need extremely low oxygen
conditions, which can be provided by an oxygen absorber (such as
Ageless or RP-K system) and a good barrier film wrap (such as
transparent Escal film). I would strongly suggest double wrapping
the cookie as in the following recipe:

    1.  Do not remove the original cookie wrapping (if there is
        one). It will likely be porous enough that oxygen inside
        will eventually be removed by the Ageless.

    2.  Encapsulate the cookie in a barrier film envelope with an
        appropriate amount of Ageless.

    3.  Create a second large enclosure containing the encapsulated
        cookie with more Ageless.

    4.  Store.

The purpose of the second layer is to allow you to eventually
replace the Ageless without the need to replace the inner Ageless
packets. It also decreases the permeability of the inner envelope,
extending the life of the inner Ageless.

If this is meant to be long term storage, I would suggest using RP-
K absorbers.

I wouldn't be too concerned about pests once the cookie is wrapped,
the barrier film should block odours that will attract pests. You
might wish to keep the encapsulated cookie in a box (or a jar?) to
protect from mishandling, photochemical reactions and from crumbling
under pressure. Put your labelling and extra documentation inside
the outer Ageless bag.

More information about Ageless, Escal, RP System is at
<URL:http://www.keepsafe.ca>

Jerry Shiner
Keepsafe Microclimate Systems
+1 416 703 4696
+1 800 683 4696



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Received on Wednesday, 13 May, 2009

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