International Symposium on the Testing of Materials for Storage and Display of Cultural Heritage

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Wednesday, 2 September, 2020
New York City

On Wednesday, November 6th, 2019, thanks to the generous support of the Institute for Museum and Library Services, The Met hosted the first Museum International Materials Testing Symposium. The symposium covers recent developments in materials selection methods in addition to both advanced and traditional materials testing tools. Many institutions continue to rely on the Oddy test, while others utilize advanced analytical methodologies such as gas and liquid chromatography to assess materials that are to be used in the display, storage or transportation of art and cultural heritage objects.

Highlights from the symposium include an in depth look at The Met's version of the Oddy test and how it compares to a paper version and the Photographic Activity Test (PAT) as well as GC/MS analysis using solid phase microextraction (SPME) and direct thermal desorption (DTD) techniques. The symposium also introduced rapid and inexpensive tests for sulfides or acids and techniques for active air sampling in pre-existing spaces and displays.

With eleven speakers and more than one hundred twenty attendees from a wide range of cultural heritage fields, the symposium garnered fruitful discussion about the needs in the field of preventive conservation to improve our ability to accurately evaluate a broad array of materials for those with and without advanced analytical capabilities.

For those not able to attend in person, the full symposium is available to view at these links: