Furniture Conservation in Historic House Museums

Historic Preservation

Spring 2013

John Childs, instructor

This course explored the types of deterioration typically experienced by furniture in historic house museums, including light damage, structural damage caused by fluctuations in RH, insect and fungal damage and structural damage caused by misuse, over-use and accident. Preventive conservation methods, including light and climate modification, integrated pest management (IPM), and proper housekeeping and object handling were emphasized. Materials and techniques of furniture conservation treatment were covered, including: anoxia treatments of insect infestations; surface cleaning of both finished and unfinished wood; reintegration or restoration of light-bleached surfaces and damaged or degraded finishes; structural repair of damaged solid wood, plywood and veneer and replacement of loss. Emphasis was placed on reversible, minimally intrusive treatment techniques, and decision-making that was cognizant of the mission, interpretive goals and condition of the specific historic house setting.