Storage commercial pieces of all kinds of leathers
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Metal could appear in your museum collections in any number of forms. Anything from medieval weapons to technological innovations could be made predominantly from metal. Whether your collections are numismatic, military or scientific, you probably have metal in your collection. It is essential to care appropriately for metals in your collections to protect them degradation and damage.
Metals may be more durable than textiles or other museum items, but displaying and storing them nevertheless comes with complications. Even the hardest metals can be physically damaged by inappropriate treatment. Metal can corrode when exposed to unfavourable conditions. How the item undergoes this deterioration depends on the type of metal or alloy or if any protective measures are in place.
Most common metals develop a coating of metal oxide called the patina. This starts as a transparent layer and can become more visible as it thickens. Don't remove this regularly as it protects the metal from corrosion. It can even increase the value of a metal depending on its appearance. Wear gloves when handling metals as finger marks can affect the shape and coverage of the patina. Corrosion processes are electrochemical. That means that electrical currents flowing through the metal cause chemical processes that cause deterioration.
Prevent these processes by stymieing currents through metal items in your collections. Moistures and salts stimulate corrosion, so keep metals in clean, dry conditions. Archaeological metals require extra levels of care as many arrive in collections having already experienced extensive corrosion. Burial in the soil exposes metals to salts and water over several centuries, causing significant deterioration. Humidity and pollutants are the two main threats to displaying metal - plan ahead to stop them from ever being an issue.
Control the environments of metal displays and choose your materials carefully to avoid corrosion and deterioration. Keep relative humidity low to prevent the build up moisture and, thus, corrosion in displays of metal items.
Either control the overall environment in a display room or use sealed display cases to create tightly controlled microclimates. It is often easier and more effective to control a small quantity of air such as the contents of a display case, especially if the case is sealed effectively.
Display cases also prevent unnecessary touching. Reduce the amount of pollutants that could affect your metals by choosing display materials carefully. Every part of your display, including carpets, paints, text labels and backing fabrics could be the source of polluting particles or gases. These are particularly dangerous when they come into contact with lead. Materials that are safe to use for display, which you can source from conservation suppliers, include:.
Avoid displaying metals with materials that give off harmful vapours or can damage metals through contact, such as:. Many fabrics contain dyes or finishes that could contain pollutants. Test any fabrics intended for long-term use before incorporating them into your displays or buy pre-tested fabrics for use in museums.
The British Museum offers a commercial testing service. Avoid paints if possible, as they routinely fail museum tests. When paint is necessary, leave a long time for harmful vapours to dissipate. Do not place organic and metal objects in the same display cases as deteriorating organic material can give off vapours that can damage metals. Some metals such as silver can be protected with lacquers or vapour-phase inhibitors to reduce corrosion.
This is not suitable for all silver objects, so consult a conservator before applying such materials. Storing with collections care in mind helps to preserve metal items for future generations and keeps your items in the best condition. Methods for handling, treating and maintaining metal items should be adjusted according to the specifications of each metal item. One universal rule is to use a box, tray or other container wherever possible when transporting items between rooms.
If necessary, complete a risk assessment and method statement to ensure that objects are transported safely and without risk to staff.
It is important that metal items are securely packed in well-padded containers. In many cases, the containers used for the storage of the items will be suitable for this.
Make sure that any container has appropriate handles and straps for safe carrying. If you need to use special transport containers, ensure that items do not stay in these for long as they are less like to be made to museum conservation standards.
Do not use them for storage without advice. To protect archaeological metal items from high humidity levels during transport, airtight containers with enclosed dry silica gel should be used. Occasionally metal items with working parts will require a little oil or grease applied with a clean, soft cloth. With all of these choices, the appropriateness of such treatment is entirely dependent on the object in discussion.
Whether you want to remove a patina or make something shinier, you should always consult a conservator before any treatment is carried out. Aluminium is highly chemically reactive, soft and silver-coloured.
It is protected by a thin coast of aluminium oxide, which is hard and unreactive. Do not polish aluminium too much to remove this protective layer. Aluminium and its alloys are generally corrosion-resistant, but problems can arise in very corrosive environments. High-strength aluminium and copper alloys, usually used in aircrafts, can corrode when exposed to saltwater.
This problem, which is characterised by the appearance of blue-green and white crystals, can be treated but laboratory facilities are required. The structure of the metal could be entirely compromised by the time it reaches your museum, or the surface obscured by corrosion and soil. Store archaeological iron with silica gel and airtight display cases.
Display archaeological iron in similar environments, using conservation grade display cases to seal out pollutants and control the relative humidity. Store the gel in drawers to make it easier to change. Consider using dehumidifying equipment for the display. Very fragile metal objects should be supported adequately with inert materials. If necessary, a special mount that can be used for both display and storage purposes should be made for the item and kept with it at all times.
In situations where it is not possible to use display cases perhaps because the items are too large, such as industrial machinery , it is important that other physical barriers are used to prevent the public from touching the items.
In these situations, the control of the ambient environmental conditions is very important for the preservation of the objects. Marine archaeological iron tends to contain even more salts and can corrode far more rapidly. Consult marine archaeology experts before storing and acquiring marine iron. Pure copper is characterised by the pinkish colour revealed upon scratching or polishing the surface.
It is more commonly seen with a brown patina caused by rapid oxidation. Copper patinas emerge after extended exposure to corrosive environments, such as in tombs or on rooftops. Typical copper corrosion does not spread evenly and can combine several colours. Copper reacts with oils and fats, which creates a distinctive green and waxy compound known as copper stearate. Archaeological copper gets damaged by chlorides, which cause 'bronze disease.
Gold is a soft metal, famed for its colour and value. It is often combined with silver to create a more durable alloy. Gold and gilding is generally stable, but can tarnish or discolour. Overlaying gold and silver causes the biggest risk of deterioration as it can expose gold to thin layers of tarnishing silver sulphide.
Iron is hard, durable and silver-coloured. Its high melting point meant that before the 19th century it was only ever smelted into wrought iron, a hard and ductile material.
Although newly made iron items are shiny and metallic, iron oxides soon cover the surface. A thin, transparent layer of iron oxide usually forms a protective layer over most iron and steel items. Keep these metals away from moisture and salts to maintain this protective layer.
Store iron in clean and dry places to keep it pollutant-free. Iron is susceptible to rust, a soft, reddish-brown corrosion product that weakens metal over time. Many museum items contain a thick layer of compact, hard rust, which occurs if the corrosion takes place slowly and evenly.
However, if the iron object is in a corrosive environment, with plenty of water and salts, the rust layer grows so quickly that it detaches from the surface, revealing bare metal that then corrodes again.
Wrought iron is particularly vulnerable to this because it contains small amounts of impurities that can act as channels through the metal. If flakes of rust are continuously detaching, cracking and weeping, the object is probably unstable. Lead is a very soft, bright silver-coloured metal that rapidly forms a dull grey surface layer of lead oxide in normal atmospheres. Lead is an important component of leaded bronze and is added to reduce the melting point and increase the pourability of the molten metal.
While metallic lead is safe to handle, lead corrosion products are toxic and should be handled and disposed of with care. Lead is stable in dry and unpolluted conditions, but is extremely vulnerable to the presence of volatile organic acids, especially acetic and formic acid. Do not store lead in wood or wood products, which often give off these pollutants.
Once started, active lead corrosion is progressive and can lead to the total destruction of the object, unless treatment takes place. Instead, use inert plastics such as polythene or polypropylene. Acid-free tissue and cardboard are also unlikely to affect lead objects. The metal also known as 'quicksilver' is the only one found in a liquid state.
The bright silver colour is very dense and receptive to changes in pressure, which is why it's used in thermometers.
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Metal could appear in your museum collections in any number of forms. Anything from medieval weapons to technological innovations could be made predominantly from metal. Whether your collections are numismatic, military or scientific, you probably have metal in your collection.
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United States. Port of entry at Cincinnati Ohio February 13 Obstructions to American commerce in the provincial and colonial possessions of Great Britain April 18 Discriminating duties February 3 Ships owned by citizens of the United States from which registers are withheld March 9 Survey of the coast March 16 Statistical accounts of commerce and navigation December 20
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Metal collections care
It has been suggested that Cr VI release from leather is not necessarily an intrinsic property of the leather, but is strongly dependent on environmental conditions. Cr VI release was dependent on previous dry storage or alkaline treatment, but not on duration or number of previous immersions. Cr III release decreased with time. Cr VI release is primarily determined by environmental factors RH prior to immersion, solution pH , and antioxidant content. Owing to the successful restriction on the use of Cr in cement, occupationally related Cr allergy in male construction workers has decreased 2. Since the s, leather products have attracted an increasing amount of attention as a cause of Cr allergy and dermatitis 2 , 3 , 4 , and have been found to be a major cause in several studies 3 , 4.
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Tanneries sell their products either directly to larger leather processing companies furniture industry , bag manufacturers , car manufacturers , etc. For leather dealers, holding a large variety of stock involves a significant capital investment but one which they need to make in order to serve their customers quickly. The leather traders are mostly specialized in certain types of leather , such as furniture leather , car leather , clothing leather , bag leather , exotic leather or parchment. Leather merchants present their range in sample catalogues and many offer the chance to buy leather directly or by visiting their customers. Leftover pieces of leather are mostly deemed to be scrap or waste as they can not be sold for a reasonable price. It is also impossible for leather dealers also to have a standardised set of natural markings that are acceptable for their customers on every piece of leather.
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