Materials Evaluation and Testing, Centre de Recherche sur la Conservation des Collections (CRCC), June 4-8, 2012

Activity Report

Report on Workshop at CRCC

Tatiana Sayatina, Marina Kozlova

Paris, France, June 04-08 2012.

On June 04-08 we got second chance to visit CRCC.

This particular workshop was focused on practical work, detail acquaintance with equipment and testing techniques.


Bertrand Lavedrin – Director Martine Gillet, Chantal Garnier – researchers, photographic materials group Léon-Bavi Vilmont – researcher in audiovisual materials (magnetic tapes, discs), specialist in paper fiber testing.

1. During the course of this workshop we once more discussed international standards in storage, display and testing of photographic materials, as well as necessity of their purchase for our lab.

2. We learned standard procedure of determination of paper PH using samples that we brought from The Hermitage (paper we commonly use in conservation). During past workshop (Sept. 2011) we also tested PH, but in rather simplified fashion. If we would have necessary equipment we could easily control paper and board that is purchased for conservation department at The Hermitage.

3. We tested board sample for migration of dyes and chemical whiteners, using method approved by ISO. This test can be also employed in our lab if we would have UV light.

4. Fading of photographic film and paper. Using Spectrophotometer one can follow fading of “blue wool standard” indicator during exhibitions, for light control.

5. Study of modern and ancient paper samples. Léon-Bavi Vilmont taught us paper fiber test, how to determine paper content.

6. IR-spectrometry. We had a lecture on theory basics of IR-spectrometry. Unfortunately we did not have a chance to see its work in practice since the equipment was not in working condition.

7. Trip to Nicéphore Niépce museum in Chalon Sur Soane. We would like to stress that this visit and acquaintance with its reach collection was a great opportunity to us!

8. Curator of Niepce museum Sylvain Besson told us about his principals for creating exhibitions at the museum, showed us some parts of its collection (more than 2,5 million items) and storage system. Digitalization department staff described their work on digitalization of the objects and about digital restoration.

Theoretical and practical elements of the workshop were very well balanced and built up methodically correct.

1It is very important to have good research base in our lab, where we could research and test paper PH, paper fiber analysis of photographic papers and papers used in conservation. We could research polymers with IR-Spectroscope.

We also discussed with French colleagues in CRCC topic on building of our own collection of paper, fiber and polymer samples.

Like we said above, IR-spectroscopy basics were discussed at CRCC and in fact at The Hermitage. To see examples of polymers research with IR-spectroscopy and to continue our study on paper fiber research would be of a great value to us and to our museum.

We discussed a list of necessary equipment for research for our lab at The Hermitage museum:

  • Microscope with computer connection with ability to see images on large monitor, with polarized lights and light filters (they use Zeiss).
  • PH-meter
  • Analytical weights
  • Distillation system
  • Magnetic mixer
  • Chemical ware
  • Tank with argon or nitrogen to degas the water
  • Chemicals for fiber coloring
  • UV lights
  • Computer with special software, laser, fiber optic LED, tablet spectrophotometer
  • and spot spectrophotometer
  • Standard light sensitive paper «Blue wool standard»
  • Aging camera with parameters: light aging, temperature aging, humidity control.

The book was recommended: Marja Sisko Ilvessalo-Pfäffli. Fiber atlas. Identification of paper-making fibers. It has information on fiber identification with illustrations.

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