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Thursday, May 29 • 2:00pm - 2:30pm
(Research and Technical Studies Session) An examination of light-induced color change in anoxia and hypoxia using the microfading tester

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The exposure of cultural heritage artifacts to light represents one of the fundamental agents of deterioration in the museum setting. Mitigation of light damage to an artifact is typically achieved by limiting the intensity and duration of light exposure. As a consequence, the visitor’s viewing experience may be diminished by dim lighting conditions or lost when an artifact is placed in storage when nearing a pre-determined light dosage.

The housing of light-sensitive artifacts in reduced oxygen microenvironments, however, may serve to reduce the rate of light damage, for which color change is often used as a proxy. While several research groups have explored the effect of oxygen on color change for various materials, widespread use of reduced oxygen environments as a means of limiting light damage has been constrained by a) a limited dataset of anoxic color change results that has been clouded by a small sample subset which exhibit accelerated color change in such conditions, and b) the lack of readily available and affordable technology for establishing reduced oxygen microenvironments.

This study will focus on the expansion of the anoxic color change dataset by employing a micro-fading tester (MFT) to examine light-induced color change of a varied sample set in a reduced oxygen environment. Sample types exposed include organic dyes, gouaches, and natural history materials. In addition to inducing color change with the use of a high-intensity xenon lamp, the MFT is capable of simultaneous and continuous color measurement, allowing for an examination of the kinetics of color change.

The anoxic color change results obtained with the MFT will also be compared to previous results from a similar experiment in which an overlapping sample set was housed in anoxic conditions and exposed to halogen lamps using a traditional lightbox protocol. While acknowledged that the spectral power distribution and light intensities of the xenon and halogen lamps are different, a quantitative and qualitative comparison of results generated by exposure to the relatively experimental MFT and the more conventional lightbox method will advance our understanding of the relationship between the two experimental techniques.

avatar for Vincent L. Beltran

Vincent L. Beltran

Assistant Scientist, Getty Conservation Institute
Vincent L. Beltran is an Assistant Scientist at The Getty Conservation Institute. In addition to his involvement in the study of the transportation environment, he has been an active participant in the in situ examination of mechanical properties on historic materials, research on the effect of low oxygen-environments on color change, and assessments of environmental management systems in hot and humid climates, the last of which has been... Read More →

avatar for Andrew Lerwill

Andrew Lerwill

Research Scientist, Image Permanence Institute
Dr. Andrew Lerwill is a Research Scientist at the Image Permanence Institute. Building upon his PhD dissertation "Micro-fading Spectrometry: an Investigation into the Display of Traditional Watercolour Pigments in Anoxia," his research interests have focused on the use of diverse technologies to measure, predict and control photochemical damage to cultural heritage, a subject on which he publishes and consults. He has previously worked at The... Read More →

Christel Pesme

Museum Lighting related to conservation issues Consultant - Paper conservator, Freelance
Christel Pesme is a private paper conservator and consultant for preventive conservation issues related to museum lighting. Her research interests have surrounded the development of museum lighting best practices for displaying sensitive collection artifacts, including the routine use and further refinement of the MFT as a light-sensitivity assessment tool. She is a MFTesting provider for cultural institution and also offers training on how to... Read More →
avatar for James Druzik

James Druzik

Senior Scientist, Getty Conservation Institute
James Druzik is a Senior Scientist at The Getty Conservation Institute since 1985. His research interests have focused on preventive conservation including the origin and fate of anthropogenic oxidant air pollutants and particulates in museum environments and their control technologies. His group now routinely carries out assessments of light sensitivity and has helped pioneer the introduction of solid-state lighting in cultural institutions... Read More →

Thursday May 29, 2014 2:00pm - 2:30pm
Seacliff C-D