Private Space on Public View: Dust Monitoring for the Eduardo Paolozzi studio at the National Galleries of Scotland

As part of British Science Week 2017, the National Heritage Science Forum is once again featuring blog posts from heritage scientists from across its member organisations. This year’s theme is ‘sharing heritage science’ and the blogs over the rest of the week will give an insight into the many different forms that heritage science can takes, as well as some of the different ways of getting involved.

After yesterday’s post about the London shipwreck, today’s article looks at Arielle Juler’s dust monitoring project for the Eduardo Paolozzi studio at the National Galleries of Scotland…

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View into the Eduardo Paolozzi studio from the visitor barrier

Arielle Juler is currently undertaking a Preventive Conservation MA degree with Northumbria University. As part of her dissertation research, she is looking into the preventive conservation plans and methodology available for the preservation of artists’ studios on public display within gallery spaces. Using the methodology established by the National Trust for dust monitoring in historic houses, she’s conducting a low-technology dust monitoring project. The monitoring method uses slide mount frames and clear adhesive labels to trap dust as it falls on the slide. The rate of deposition is then measured against a graph paper and percentage coverage can be estimated. The percentage estimations can be compared and inform the rates of dust deposition and how/where dirt enters the studio space.  

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Dust trap in situ within the Eduardo Paolozzi studio
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Arielle Juler examines dust slide within the Eduardo Paolozzi studio

The dust monitoring project started in September 2016 and is ongoing through April 2017. The project will provide baseline information on the rates and levels of dust deposition on the objects within the studio space. Currently it is not known how quickly the studio becomes dusty or where the dirt is entering the studio space.

The National Galleries of Scotland will be able to use the data gathered from the monitoring project to establish a conservation plan and cleaning schedule for the studio space. This will in turn assist in the preservation of the artist’s materials and ephemera on public display.

Contact the Conservation department at the National Galleries of Scotland: conservation@nationalgalleries.org 

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