JAIC , Volume 39, Number 1, Article 7 (pp. to )
JAIC online
Journal of the American Institute for Conservation
JAIC , Volume 39, Number 1, Article 7 (pp. to )

ONE RESPONSE TO A COLLECTION-WIDE MOLD OUTBREAK: HOW BAD CAN IT BE—HOW GOOD CAN IT GET?

DIANA HOBART DICUS



4 4. PROCUREMENT

Supplies included personal protective equipment, tools and equipment for cleaning artifacts, workstation equipment, collection storage materials, cleaning supplies, and additional storage furniture. Some supplies could be requisitioned from other sites at the Historic Fort Wayne location. The majority of supplies were purchased. See Sources of Materials.


4.1 4.1 PROCEDURES

Project accounts were established with most of the vendors. This process was time consuming and required letters of credit from the Detroit Historical Society. Once accounts were established, orders were placed by telephone. Delivery was usually by commercial truck, United Parcel Service, or Federal Express.

Expendable supplies were purchased locally. Safety supplies such as respirator filters, gloves, 70% isopropyl alcohol, Handi-Wipes, and surgical caps were set up on a regular delivery cycle.

Forecasts for collection storage material supplies were made weekly. The forecasts were made by measuring storage furniture space, calculating the number of artifacts to go in the space, including housing, and selecting specific housing materials. When possible, existing collection storage materials were vacuumed, or washed and reused.


4.2 4.2 SUPPLIES


4.2.1 4.2.1 Health and Safety

Half-mask respirators were provided for each person entering the storage area. Initially, organic vapor filters and a particulate prefilter were used. Later, lightweight high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) respirator filters with a built-in nuisance organic vapor filter were made available to each individual. The HEPA filters had a use-life of about two weeks. The organic vapor cartridge filters had a use life of one week; the particulate prefilters were changed twice a week. On a cost per use life ratio, the HEPA filter was slightly less expensive.

Respirators were wiped down with Handi-Wipes after each use and were stored in individual polyethylene Ziploc bags when not in use. Each respirator was labeled with the user's name. Safety goggles were available for each crew member. The goggles were not mandatory, but all other personal protective equipment was mandatory.

Disposable latex and nitrile gloves and disposable surgical caps were supplied to all workers. Chemical-resistant gloves were available at each workstation. Cotton coveralls were provided for each crew member. Laboratory coats were also available. Crew members either kept a pair of designated shoes for use in the storage area or cleaned their shoes with Handi-Wipes after each storage room exit.

Seventy percent isopropyl alcohol was used to clean work surfaces in the storage area and transition room. This concentration appears to be the least damaging yet readily available fungicide for use in museums (Strang and Dawson 1991). Lysol was not used because of the uncertainty of additives present. Commercial Lysol preparations contain 0.1% orthophenylphenol with a minimum number of additives in 70% alcohol (Strang and Dawson 1991). The 70% isopropyl alcohol was stored in a chemical storage cabinet and used with caution. A 10% Clorox water solution was used to clean hand tools and brushes. Cleaning cloths and coveralls were washed in hot water with detergent and Clorox.


4.2.2 4.2.2 Workstations

Workstations consisted of tables, chairs, a lamp, a bag-lined waste box, an Optivisor, a HEPA filter vacuum, fiberglass window screening, various size brushes and hand tools, inventory forms, pencils, and acid-free artifact tags. All work surfaces were covered with Tyvek, with an underlayment of 1/8 in. Ethafoam. Tables, chairs, and lamps were requisitioned from other sites on the Historic Fort Wayne grounds. This equipment was an eclectic collection, with no ergonomic characteristics.

Ethafoam sheeting, Tyvek rolls, and acid-free tissue rolls were kept on holders in the storage area in both rooms. A large worktable was set up in the storage area, where templates, utility knives and scissors, tape measures and yardsticks, and pencils were kept.


4.2.3 4.2.3 Collection Care Materials and Equipment

Collection supplies included Tyvek, Ethafoam 1/8 in. sheeting and 1 in. and 2 in. plank, unbuffered acid-free tissue, unbuffered acid-free interleaving papers, unbuffered acid-free heavyweight card stock and tan board, pH-neutral corrugated gray board sheets, Mylar sheets and enclosures, polyethylene bags, pH-neutral corrugated gray board storage boxes, polypropylene storage boxes, acid-free artifact identification hang tags, polyester batting, polystyrene clothes hangers, and cotton twill tape.

With few exceptions, five different-size pH-neutral lidded corrugated boxes and four sizes of lidded polypropylene boxes were stocked. They proved to be appropriate for most artifacts needing housing. A wide selection of sizes of polyethylene Ziploc bags was maintained. Unbuffered acid-free boards and papers were stocked for custom housing or interleaving as needed. No buffered boards and papers were stocked to avoid accidental, inappropriate use of buffered materials.

No adhesives were used in the project. Custom housing joins were mechanical joins, using twill tape systems. To avoid the eventual failure of adhesive in long-term storage, all padding attached to the storage units, hangers, or any other system was a mechanical attachment, using twill tape or muslin strips.

The project used five Royal Classic Power Team canister vacuums, Model 4650, and five Royal Pro Series canister vacuums. The Royal Classic has a 1–10 suction strength control. The Royal Pro Series has an adjustable opening on the hose to control suction strength. Both were filtered to 99.9% efficiency, down to a particle size of 0.3 m, using a double bag system and a foam insert. The Royal vacuums are noisy and cumbersome to handle. Suction control is limited. Contained waste disposal is awkward. Durability with hard use is fair.

The preferred vacuum is the Nilfisk GS 80 with HEPA filter, variable speed control transformer, and microaccessories. The Nilfisk has excellent suction control, convenient waste disposal, and limited maintenance needs. The Nilfisk gives 99.997% filter efficiency to 0.3 m. Water-filtered vacuum cleaners are not recommended because of questionable filtration efficacy and difficulty in proper waste disposal and maintenance.


4.2.4 4.2.4 Supply Storage and Work Space

Creating a good workspace for a temporary crew is of great importance for efficiency and morale. It is also necessary to create other adaptive uses that will facilitate the smooth flow of work. Several of these arrangements are mentioned here.

The crew transition room for the mold response project was the room designed as a textile laboratory in the 1987 building retrofit. This room is across the hall from the double door entry to the storage area. Metal shelving from other Historic Fort Wayne museum buildings was cleaned with 70% isopropyl alcohol and placed on two walls of the laboratory. Gloves, filters, caps, Handi-Wipes, vacuum cleaner attachments and small tools and equipment were stored on the wall adjacent to the laboratory door. The chemical storage cabinet was in this room. An oversized worktable was placed in the center of the laboratory for box making and board and paper cutting. Board and paper supplies were stored on metal shelving on the wall nearest the worktable.

In the transition room, each crew member was given one shelf, labeled with his or her name, for personal items. Coveralls were hung on a coat rack, with each hanger space labeled with an individual's name. Crew members changed into personal protective equipment in this room and entered the storage area from this room. The third wall in the laboratory held the sink and washer and dryer, where brushes were cleaned, and coveralls and wiping cloths were washed and dried. Clean coveralls, muslin, and cleaning cloths were stored adjacent to the washer and dryer.

Additional requisitioned metal shelves were cleaned and installed in the hall outside the storage room entrance. Large supplies such as 100 yd. rolls of 1/8 in. Ethafoam sheeting, 2,100 yd. rolls of 60 in. Tyvek, and 100 ft. rolls of polyester batting were stored here. Crew members had access to these materials before putting on personal protective equipment or while in personal protective equipment.

The transition room allowed crew members to work without respirators when making custom housings or doing tasks not directly related to contaminated artifacts. It also made it possible to keep all project response work completely away from the office, library, and lunchroom areas. Having designated areas for supplies and personal gear helped in supply inventorying, logistics, housekeeping, and maintenance.

Two former offices near the building entrance were designated for the project. The first office was furnished with a worktable and additional requisitioned metal shelving. This space was used as a holding area for collection artifacts going back to storage or new acquisitions. Artifacts not in the storage area at the time of the mold outbreak were not returned to storage until completion of the mold response project.

The second office was the area designated for new storage boxes. A grid of metal shelves was laid on the floor, and storage boxes were stacked on the grid when delivered to the Collection Resource Center. Small quantities of boxes were taken into the storage work area as artifacts were ready to be rehoused. The project conservator had a small office. Desks in an open area were available for the assistant project manager and crew when performing clerical project work.