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Saturday, June 1 • 10:35am - 11:00am
(Architecture) A Review of the Test Methods/Stain Reduction Techniques Used on the Smithsonian Natural History Museum, Washington DC

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One of the challenges of specific stain reduction or removal from building facades that are either stone or masonry is in the rapid, accurate appraisal of the likely staining materials. Many times this is empirical, rather than analytical, and generally derived from contextual cues, rather than direct test methods. All too often, standard ‘formulas’ for exterior washing are applied to specific cleaning problems, without benefit or careful tailoring of cleaning system to a specific problem. This paper will present a case history for the use of a diagnostic ‘test’ kit’ of various cleaning reagents (chelators, acids, bases, buffers) in easily stored and transferred gel form to evaluate quickly the efficacy of any given reagent or condition to a specific staining material. In particular, this ‘kit’ contains a low cost, easily read, colorimetric test for Fe in particular. Where iron is present, either in mineral form or as corrosion products, the removal of organic staining material in particular is difficult at best because of the extreme insolubility of these metal/organic materials. To illustrate its application and use, a case history, the cleaning issues involved in the removal of staining materials from the façade of the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in Washington DC will used as an example. A ‘gel-paste’ format was used to create a tailored poulticing material. The poultice used in this context was made from low cost materials and was prepared with reagents that were indicated by the gel ‘test kit’ to be most effective in this context. The construction of the poultice, the materials used in it, the rationale for their inclusion, and the application method, will be discussed. Additionally, in presenting the evolution of the treatment from testing, to execution, we will include a discussion of the didactic opportunity it provided for introducing new materials and methods to building maintenance personnel.


Ellen Hagsten

Traditional & Sustainable Building

Richard C. Wolbers

Assistant Professor of Art Conservation, University of Delaware
Masters degree in fine arts from the University of California (San Diego, CA, USA) in 1977. Masters degree in art conservation from the University of Delaware (Newark, DE, USA) in 1984. Associate Professor of Art Conservation in the Winterthur-University of Delaware Program in Art... Read More →

Saturday June 1, 2013 10:35am - 11:00am EDT
JW Marriott 103-104 19 S West St Indianapolis, IN 46204

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