Conservation treatment of the Cyril Ruwald Collection
As part of the Total Asset Management project at the Powerhouse Museum the Cyril Ruwald Collection has undergone intensive conservation treatment in 2008. During the conservation of the Cyril Ruwald Collection a condition report was written on each item and the photographs were annotated to indicate areas of damage and deterioration. Drawings were treated for large tears, missing pieces, tackiness, staining from adhesive tape, and damage from having been stuck together.
The drawings on tracing paper had been the most fragile and damaged. They were carefully separated from each other and from any interleaving tissue between them. Tape, staining, tackiness, and fragments of paper from other drawings were removed by swabbing with a cotton bud soaked with petroleum spirits and lifted off with a scalpel. Fragments of paper were matched with holes and gaps in the drawings. Creases and folds were removed, one by one, by swabbing with a cotton bud dampened with di-ionised water, burnished with a bone folder over a piece of Mylar, and pressed under weights.
Tears were repaired and missing pieces of paper were re-attached. Tracing paper is a difficult material to work with because it cockles when it is wet, so two methods of sticking the paper together have been tested; dryish starch paste and Japanese tissue, or small strips of heat set tissue. The first method proved the most successful - it is stronger, despite the threat of cockling, and the heatset tissue did not stick as well to the tracing paper, so the first method will be used for future repairs on this collection.
Written by Rebecca Main
Conservator, May 2008.
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