Christian Degrigny – Application of ENDLESS Metal analytical tools in the context of Polish Cultural institutions: National Museum, Second World War Museum and the National Maritime Museum, Gdansk



Host: National Museum Gdansk; 2nd WW museum Gdansk; National Maritime Museum Gdansk and Tczew, Poland

June 19 to 23, 2023

The STSM in Gdansk aimed to assess how the combination of the ENDLESS tools could help to respond to the needs of the different museums visited. The STSM time was organised as follows:

- 19 to 20.06 morning: testing at National Museum Gdansk

1. by Milan Charytoniuk - MCH, objects’ conservator, of Pleco on objects of the Silversmiths' gallery to detect the presence of copper in silver through Linear Sweep Voltammetry (LSV) plots. Among the four objects investigated, only one seems to contain more than 3%wt Cu, requiring then a pretreatment in a chelating agent if the cleaning of the tarnish is requested.

2. by Anna Baranowska-Fietkiewicz - ABF, metal collections’ curator, and MCH, of MiCorr to quickly identify the families of a selection of artefacts from the National Museum collections. Seven out of 10 objects could be easily identified. The three others, artificially patinated or coated with tin (?), are supposed to be zinc-based alloys.

- 20.06 afternoon to 21.06: Testing at 2nd World War Museum, Gdansk, by Mateusz Rutkowski – MRU, objects’ conservator

1. of Pleco on a tarnished Ag-Cu cup to define the concentration of copper in the alloy. It seems that the cup contains more than 3%wt Cu.

2. of DiscoveryMat to define the composition of a copper-based fragment of a Soviet missile or bomb fuse and an aluminium-based used box with salt from World War II found in Westerplatte, Poland. The missile or bomb fuse seems to be a quaternary alloy (Cu-Zn-Sn-Pb), while the box is made in a relatively pure aluminium sheet.

- 22 to 23.06 morning: Testing

1. at Shipwreck conservation centre of National Maritime Museum, Tczew, by Dagmara Bojar - DBO, objects’ conservator, Piotr Felkier - PFE, objects’ conservator, Piotr Dziewanoski - PDZ, objects’ conservator and Artur Fonżychowski - AFO, curator in the marine ethnology department, of DiscoveryMat to define the composition of an aluminium-based plate. Again, the metal is a relatively pure aluminium embossed sheet.

2. at Maritime Culture Centre of NMM, Gdansk, by AFO of MiCorr, to quickly identify the families of a corpus of 19 objects. Most of the artefacts could be identified easily based on their physical properties (magnetism, colour, weight). Others required the use of MiCorr combined with observation using Dinolite microscope.

The STSM showed that Pleco, DiscoveryMat and MiCorr can easily be transferred to conservation staff, knowledgeable or not in metal conservation. All analytical tools were used successfully in the three institutions visited. If data collection does not raise many problems, their interpretation remains complicated and requires the support of an expert, at least at the beginning. The user needs to practise, and only through this process he/she will build his/her expertise. The combination of the three tools allows to complete the diagnosis of metal artefacts. Additional instrumentations might be used (multimeter and Dinolite microscope). Finally, the collaboration between different communities (curators, conservators, and conservation scientists), favoured by ENDLESS Metal analytical tools, remains essential in speeding up the diagnostic process.

Full report

Illustration of STSM tasks




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