“Old and new methods of paper conservation”

On November 11, 2019, the Pushkin State Museum hosted a seminar “Old and new methods of conservation of graphics”, which was conducted by Ekaterina Pasnak, the chemist researcher, and paper conservator of the Special Collection of the Library of the University of Bergen (Norway).

The purpose of the seminar was to familiarize Russian specialists with the methods that were widely used in Western conservation (the use of gels, chelates and reducing bleaches when washing), and to explain the chemistry of the processes and the schemes of multi-stage water treatment.

Water processing of graphic works is one of the main stages in improving the aesthetic appearance and stabilizing the base of the object. This is a complex and risky operation that requires knowledge of various techniques, a certain skill and expensive materials. A serious analysis of the paper and the paint layer should be conducted before applying any restoration method to eliminate the risk of damage and preserve the authenticity of the material.

The workshop consisted of theoretical and practical parts. The lecture interested not only conservators of museum collections, but also specialists working with archival and library collections, as well as students. The lecture was attended by approximately 70 people.

The workshop allowed the participants to put the new methods into practice. For 4 days the seminar participants tested paper samples, based on them developed a washing program, prepared solutions and gels, and applied various methods of washing prototypes. Experts from the Pushkin Museum, the State Tretyakov Gallery, the State Historical Museum, the State Hermitage Museum, the Russian State Library, the National Library of Russia and the Moscow Archive took part in the practical exercises.

The seminar was prepared and successfully conducted thanks to the support of the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts’ partner, the company Art Technics