JAIC 2003, Volume 42, Number 2, Article 2 (pp. 141 to 166)
JAIC online
Journal of the American Institute for Conservation
JAIC 2003, Volume 42, Number 2, Article 2 (pp. 141 to 166)

DOES LOW-TEMPERATURE PEST MANAGEMENT CAUSE DAMAGE? LITERATURE REVIEW AND OBSERVATIONAL STUDY OF ETHNOGRAPHIC ARTIFACTS

ELLEN CARRLEE


ABSTRACT—Preventive low-temperature treatment as a means of pest control during the relocation of the ethnographic collections of the National Museum of the American Indian afforded the opportunity to undertake an observational study of potential damage from this treatment. Does low temperature harm materials thought to be vulnerable? What are the possible causes of damage from this treatment? The study revealed no visible damage to any of the materials treated, although the literature suggests that minor changes on a molecular level are likely. The literature also indicates that the effects of changing relative humidity and water relationships are less of a threat than effects related to low temperature alone, such as shrinkage, embrittlement, and molecular alteration. The first part of the article discusses the threat (real or imagined) of various damage mechanisms, and the second part addresses several categories of vulnerable artifacts in relation to these damage mechanisms. The observational study and literature review indicate that low-temperature pest control may be appropriate for a wider range of materials than was previously assumed.
[Spanish Abstract] [French Abstract]

Article Sections:

1. INTRODUCTION
2. CONCERNS FOR MATERIAL CHANGES FROM FREEZING
3. VULNERABLE MATERIALS IN ARTIFACTS
4. THE PREVENTIVE FREEZE PROCESS AT NMAI
5. THE OBSERVATIONAL STUDY
6. CONCLUSIONS
a: References , Author Information
Entire Article

Copyright 2003 American Institution for Conservation of Historic & Artistic Works