23 April 2014

Light-sensitivity in displays

So I have been passed on an interesting to link by my line manager about a blog post that focuses on the affects of light on artwork/ objects. Since working in illustrations on alternative Tuesdays as mentioned in my typical day as a library graduate trainee post, this is a really important issue in displaying old and rare special collections and especially illustrations. 

A lot of the items we have in the Archives and Illustrations are boxed in dark storage for the simple reason of reducing fire and possible water damage but also reducing light induced damage such as paper discolouration. Ink or watercolour artworks on vellum are another tricky item to display due to the material morphing under environmental temperature changes. Due to this, I have definitely been thinking about what items to select from the Library, Art & Archives collection for my commemorative exhibition project focusing on Kew’s involvement in plant science during the First World War. 

Thankfully, a lot of the items we will be using have either had a considerable rest period, are objet d’art part of the Economic Botany collection or just never come out of storage since their acquisition. In addition, all light sources around the display are at optimal levels above temperature controlled glass storage, thus ideal for a two-months exhibition period. Nonetheless, this post is definitely a must read for those doing their first exhibition.

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