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Thursday, May 30 • 9:25am - 9:50am
Contemporary Colorant Change: Assessing Changes in the Herblock Collection due to Exhibition and Storage of Fugitive Media, Part II

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The Herblock foundation donated the entire collection of editorial cartoonist Herbert L. Block (Herblock) to the Library of Congress after he passed away in 2001. The collection included 14,400 original drawings for his daily published cartoons and 50,000 rough sketches. A previous presentation at AIC in 2009 introduced concerns with the collection, since the bequest to the Library required that some of the collection must be on exhibit at all times, and Herblock began using light sensitive materials in the 1970s. Conservators were able to collect a sample of the materials he was using at the time of his death which included porous point pens (felt-tip pens), whiteout, colored pencils, ball point pens, lithocrayons, india ink ,graphite pencils and pressure sensitive labels (Avery labels), as well as a stock of the coquille paper board substrate containing optical brighteners he favored throughout his career. The continuation of this research begun in 2009 encompassed a long-term longitudinal study of the impact of exhibition conditions on contemporary media and substrates. While light exposure on exhibition was an issue, conservators and curators had observed fading of a selection of some of the drawings while in dark storage. To assess changes occurring in Herblock collection materials, and accurately identify the media involved in these changes, sample sheets (Whatman paper and coquille board) of the collected media were created and aged both naturally and with a range of accelerated aging techniques. Aging encompassed both light and dark aging to determine the mode of degradation, with combinations of ultraviolet (UV) and visible, visible light (without UV), moderately raised temperature, relative humidity and dark conditions with sample sheets monitored during carefully controlled natural and accelerated aging. Progressive non-invasive and mildly invasive analyses were undertaken both before and after successive aging periods. Instrumentation included hyperspectral imaging, UV-VIS colorimetry, micro-fade-ometer, and micro-sampling of sample sheets for scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Additional analyses to identify specific components of media shown to have faded or changed in color after various aging methods (such as porous point pens) then underwent separation of ink components with thin layer chromatography (TLC) and analysis with Direct Analysis in Real Time (DART) Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometry. Additional hyperspectral imaging was undertaken of specific Herblock drawings from the period 1974-2001 that had been either on exhibit or kept in the dark. These drawings all contained the full range of media collected in the sample set. India ink was used as a reference for stability throughout the testing. All the environments where the drawings were located were monitored, and predictive fade testing with the micro-fade-ometer indicated some interesting results for a number of these contemporary materials, with comparisons between the three spectroscopy techniques indicating limitations and benefits in the analytical techniques. SEM EDS confirmed the composition of the optical brightener in the coquille board. The identification of the color change in media and the method of degradation for both exhibit and storage conditions sought to replicate natural aging as closely as possible, and provide long-term useful information for the preservation of this unique collection of modern contemporary materials.

Speakers
avatar for Fenella France

Fenella France

Chief, Preservation Research and Testing Division, Library of Congress
Dr. France is Chief of the Preservation Research and Testing Division at the Library of Congress researching non-destructive imaging techniques, and prevention of environmental degradation on collections. She received her Ph.D from Otago University, New Zealand. After lecturing at Otago, she was the research scientist for the Star-Spangled Banner project at NMAH. An international specialist on polymer aging and environmental deterioration to... Read More →
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Meghan Hill

Preservation Imaging Technician, Library of Congress
HK

Holly Krueger

Head of Paper Conservation, Library of Congress
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Matthew Kullman

Scanning Electron Microscopy Specialist
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Ha Young Park

Masters in Paper Conservation, Accademia di Bella Arti di Brera
avatar for Cindy Connelly Ryan

Cindy Connelly Ryan

Preservation Specialist, Library of Congress Preservation Research and Testing Division
Cindy Connelly Ryan is a specialist in historic artists' practices, with a background in physics (Carnegie-Mellon University), art history and art conservation (New York University). She held a Forbes Fellowship at the Freer/Sackler Galleries of the Smithsonian Institution, developing methods for plant gum binding media identification, before joining PRTD. Her research at LC has included accelerated aging methods, assessment of zeolites in... Read More →


Thursday May 30, 2013 9:25am - 9:50am
JW Marriott White River Ballroom E-F 10 S West St Indianapolis, IN 46204

Attendees (99)