Artifacts revisited: The evaluation of old treatments

Tom Stone

Abstract

In 1994, one hundred and twelve objects treated at the Canadian Conservation Institute and presently housed in eighteen different museums across Canada were examined. The objects inspected were mostly ethnological and had been treated at the Institute between 1974 and 1985. The aim of the survey was to see how the conservation treatments done on these objects were holding up and to develop an appreciation for the subsequent role the museums may have played in the current condition of the artifacts. Sixty percent of the objects surveyed had not changed in any noticeable way. Changes to the remaining forty percent were, with only a few exceptions, minor. Both the positive and negative aspects of specific treatment and materials are discussed. The usefulness or lack thereof of certain documentation procedures is outlined and recommendations arc made for the development of more useful treatment records.

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