JAIC 1995, Volume 34, Number 2, Article 5 (pp. 141 to 152)
JAIC online
Journal of the American Institute for Conservation
JAIC 1995, Volume 34, Number 2, Article 5 (pp. 141 to 152)

THE U.S. FIRST LADIES GOWNS: A BIOCHEMICAL STUDY OF SILK PRESERVATION

MARY A. BECKER, POLLY WILLMAN, & NOREEN C. TUROSS


ABSTRACT—The degradative changes in silk are investigated with amino acid analysis and solubility under denaturing conditions (7M urea). These biochemical techniques use extremely small samples for quantitative analyses and are capable of detecting chemical alterations at the molecular level. The biochemical results are used to place the fabric samples from a museum collection within the context of artificially aged silks. Analyses of the naturally aged samples reveal two populations: sericin-rich and sericin-depleted. Denaturing solvents such as soap will remove the protective protein coating from sericin-rich fabrics; sericin-depleted fabrics are already a high risk for light-induced damage. The data suggest that silk fabrics manufactured during this century are likely to have their sericin coatings totally removed and therefore at great risk to light damage.

Article Sections:

1. INTRODUCTION
2. HISTORY OF THE FIRST LADIES COLLECTION
3. SILK: FIBROIN AND SERICIN
4. MATERIALS
5. METHODS
6. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
7. SUMMARY AND CONSERVATION IMPLICATIONS
a: References , Author Information
Entire Article

Copyright 1995 American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works