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Jul 20

Week 7 – July 16-20

Monday, 7/16:

Back from vacation and slightly more tan. We continue the jackets phase still.

Here is one I was working on today. I started by tyveking zippers and buckles but then realized that I take plenty of after pictures but few before, I will try to remedy that! You can see how the jacket was stored with no internal or external supports as well as no protective layer between metal zippers and buckles that could easily harm the leather and fur as they corrode.

Here is another jacket I worked on today nearing completion. Foam covered in batting, inside a nylon stocking, and then with tyvek sewn over it is what makes up the interior supports for the arms and body. Tyvek is added to these because the interior is fur lined so more sensitive compared to the leather boots from previous weeks. Tyvek is either tied with twill or layered over any metal parts to keep them from touching other materials. Lastly a tyveked pillow is created to go under its collar to give it support.

For most jackets we try to convince their arms to lie closer to the body to conserve storage space. Yet these 2 examples have been in storage so long their arms are stiffer and we of course don’t want to force them so outstretched they will remain.

Tuesday, 7/17:

These poor jackets have been languishing in storage in this condition for who knows how many years. Over time if not properly supported, leather will harden, crack, or become brittle. The creases allowed to form here become essentially permanent or at least would require conservation treatments.

While obviously not the same jacket, it is one I worked on today. It is similar to the ones from yesterday. It is fur lined so all inserts must be tyvek covered. A strip of volara covers its body to keep the sides in place during transit and will be removed once it reaches its new home. The arms were so stiff that not only did they stick out, but also up! I created foam ramps which I tied to each arm to help support the position they now naturally rest in.

Wednesday, 7/18:

Today was an interesting day because SI hosted their annual Career Fair and Talk for all SI interns. It was held at the American Art Museum and started off with a panel featuring 5 SI employees from differing positions who all spoke about their career paths and advice for current interns.

After the panel we went upstairs to experience the Art of Video Games exhibition before it opened to the public. One of the coordinators gave us some background on her position and work regarding the exhibition before letting us loose to explore and game.

Continuing until lunch time, there was a career fair downstairs where representatives from various disciplines and museums each had a table. Interns would line up to learn more about their chosen discipline. I was surprised to see that no collections processing units or restoration staff were present. Instead I ended up talking to library, archives, and exhibits staff before running out of time. There were multiple other tables and the curator table always had the longest line.

The Garber interns and myself had previously gotten permission from our supervisor Sam to stay downtown for the entirety of the day because there was a conservation talk in the afternoon. It featured 2 different panels with 2 speakers each and spanned the rest of the afternoon. The first 2 speakers were from Colonial Williamsburg about energy efficiency and ways to improve it while keeping the same level of collections care. Solutions they discussed included converting to LED lighting, installing light sensors which reduced light exposure by 60%, reducing airflow to lowest settings, experimenting with shutting off environmental controls during the night (claim to have seen little change in temperature or RH when shut down for 14 hours), and using programs to better track usage so it can be analyzed.

The next 2 speakers were from the National Gallery of Art. They discussed the limitations of their historic building which includes a historic HVAC system called air washers that is technology from the 1940s and still in use in their building today. Strategies that they implemented included rolling outages, compact fluorescent light, and LED lights. It was also stressed that there are no universal environmental standards and museums must consider their own unique situation including location, building, and collections.

Thursday, 7/19:

While this isn’t an object I worked on today (I was back to jackets), this is an intriguing object that Ashley worked on. She opened up a random box to find what remains of a deteriorated leather harness. Multiple pieces had fallen off or were close to it, the leather was very creased and stiff. Additionally the leather had been oiled with something that was seeping out and staining whatever it came into contact with. She managed to fit everything into one big box (since it was one number for the entire object) and use tyvek as a barrier so none of the leather was touching its mounts or pillows. This is because the seeping was continuing so it would be easier for future staff to change the tyvek barriers instead of the mounts which were glued to the box.

Friday, 7/20:

The entire team has been hard at work finishing jackets so hopefully they will be ready to move next week!

A hard week's work

Our rolling racks and even a gurney are quickly filling up with ready to move jackets. The majority of these jackets are fur lined which takes significantly longer to make internal supports for since they have to be covered in tyvek.

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