The MusÃ©e de la Femme Henriette Bathily in Senegal has been awarded $28,500 for the preservation of women's cultural heritage. The funds were provided by the U.S. Department of State through the Ambassador's Fund for Cultural Preservation. The preservation project will take place over one year, and will include the conservation of objects in the museum's collections, refurbishment of the museum buildings, and the production of a new catalogue and website.
Degraded manuscripts and scrolls can now be read without being opened, using X-rays that are 100 billion times brighter than a standard laboratory X-ray tube. A team from Cardiff University have used the UK's new Diamond synchrotron research facility to examine fire-damaged parchment rolls written with iron gall ink. Iron gall ink corrodes readily and is a major cause of damage to manuscripts, leaving many too brittle to handle.
Following a global campaign and an online vote by members of the public, the new seven wonders of the world were announced in Lisbon by the New7Wonders Foundation. They include the Great Wall of China, the Palace Tombs of Petra, the archaeological sites Machu Picchu and Chichen Itza and the Taj Mahal. However, UNESCO condemned the competition as a mediatised campaign, claiming that the shortlist was too limited to be useful. There are also concerns that publicity resulting from the competition could lead to a damaging increase in visitor numbers at vulnerable archaeological sites.
Ancient Olympia, the birthplace of the Olympic games, narrowly escaped destruction in the forest fires that swept Greece at the end of August. The fires destroyed swathes of forest surrounding the archaeological site but were halted before they reached the ruins of the ancient stadium and its adjoining museum, which houses many classical sculptures. However, some architectural fragments were damaged when a nearby storage area burnt down, and the site itself was affected by water and foam from the helicopters that put out the fires.
Scientists at the Ruder Boskovic Institute Laboratory for Radiation Chemistry and Dosimetry in Croatia have been presented with a Special Award for their by the Conservation Laboratory NucleArt, for their use of gamma irradiation in conservation processes. As yet, only French and Croatian scientists use this technique, and it has yet to meet with widespread approval for conservation. Laboratory NucleArt is a part of the Institute for Nuclear Research (CEA) in Grenoble and the leading institution for using nuclear methods in conservation.
A group of Portuguese scientists claim to have developed an environmentally-friendly method of cleaning textiles. Researchers from the New University of Lisbon used liquid and supercritical carbon dioxide (CO2) to clean the garments of an eighteenth-century sculpture. Compared with traditional solvents - many of which are highly toxic and damaging to the environment - CO2 is claimed to be relatively inert and non-toxic, and is said to remove dirt equally effectively without damaging the textile fibres.
Twenty-two new sites have been inscribed on UNESCO's World Heritage List this year. Sixteen of the new additions are cultural sites, bringing the number of inscribed cultural
The UK's MDA (formerly the Museum Documentation Association) has announced the launch of an online Condition Assessment Tool (CAT). The CAT was developed by the Scottish Museums Council (SMC) and was originally distributed only on a CD-ROM. The MDA have now made the CAT available through their Collections Link website, and hope that it will bring the software to a wider audience, including all types of people who work with collections.
Two new online conservation publications have been announced and will be launched this autumn.
e_conserv@tion is a "free online magazine, published bimonthly for all the professionals involved in the conservation-restoration of cultural heritage." The first issue will be published in September or October 2007, and will include peer-reviewed articles on a range of topics in conservation and preservation.
Researchers at an Italian conservation laboratory claim to have discovered the secrets of ancient Egyptian craftsmen - and that conservation treatments will be much improved as a result.