Tech to hold back time: the ever-evolving world of heritage conservation

If you ever wondered what happens to artefacts before they head to the showcase, check out a melding of humankind and machines to conserve the past

Who says you can’t look cool while giving a piece of history a longer lease of life? Museum and gallery visitors gaze at artefacts and rarely see work that goes on backstage. It’s a world where people and science come together to immortalise tangible heritage. Such institutes have deployed a range of air purifiers, dehumidifiers, light intensity monitors, data-loggers and other high-tech equipment, stabilising the environment and protecting artefacts through three types of heritage conservation: restorative, curative and preventative, depending on the state of the artefacts on arrival and the environment of the museums.

Italy-based Light For Art is restoring the Patan Royal Palace in Lalitpur in Nepal, a project led by the Institute for Conservation of Vienna and the Kathmandu Valley Preservation Trust. First came analysis of the petrographic characteristics of the palace’s red stone of the north and south portals and the black layer of bitumen that covered them (laid intentionally decades ago for conservation purposes). After preliminary tests were carried out at Italian laser research company El.En, on samples taken from the Palace, the restorers proceeded with laser cleaning using the compact and portable EOS 1000 LQS which delivers laser through the optical fibre for precision, and Thunder Art, which uses infrared wavelengths to remove biological encrustations. Earlier, conservationists tried solvents, scalpels and sandblasting to clear the portals, to no avail. But after the laser ablation cleaned up, the results were stunning.....Read more


Source web page: The hindu


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