Incident preparedness at the National Gallery: Developing a grab bag for rapid response to a corrosive attack

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Publication Type:

Journal Article


Morwenna Blewett; Lynne Harrison; David Peggie;


Studies in Conservation, Volume 60, Number 5, p.306-320 (2015)


Being prepared to address an attack on a painting requires considerable input from both scientific and conservation personnel. When tailoring an appropriate and effective incident response, a well-developed knowledge of the collection, the museum layout, and staffing is also essential. This article discusses the nature of attacks on paintings and the materials and techniques used to mitigate the effects of malicious damage. Previous research into response procedures and the testing of attack substances is also summarized. The primary focus of the article traces the redevelopment of the National Gallery incident response grab bag that caters to various types of attack. Discussions center on developing the customized content of the new bag, material testing, and a practice run-through to establish a response procedure. Ultimately, the practicality and efficacy of the grab bag are demonstrated.