In early January, Special Collections Preservation Specialist Fleur van der Woude presented a webinar: "Where Does the Mold Go? A Conservator’s Decisions about Dry-cleaning" with the Conservation Center for Art & Historic Artifacts in their Conservator's Corner.
This program of the Conservation Center for Art & Historic Artifacts is provided with generous support from the National Endowment for the Humanities, with additional support from the William Penn Foundation and Independence Foundation.
Dry-cleaning is an instrumental step when a conservator is salvaging mold-infested collection items. One might initially detect old, powdery mold growth in a recent acquisition, or identify new active growth. After isolating the infested items, whichever treatment methods are chosen, removing fungal structures to limit the risks of future spread is critical. But what actually happens when a conservator uses dry-cleaning tools on mold-infested paper? What is removed, where do the fungal structures go, and what is left behind?
In the technical webinar, van der Woude detailed the behavior of mold on paper. Participants were presented with the morphology of fungal growth and the potential results of dry-cleaning techniques, illustrated with microscopy- and SEM-imaging. This microscopic perspective might influence how a person uses dry-cleaning strategies at large. Meant for conservators and staff with a basic understanding of treating mold on paper, the session included opportunity for questions and discussion.
Fleur van der Woude's speaker bio
"...a Preventive Conservator at University of Arizona Libraries Special Collections in Tucson, AZ, [Fleur] received her BA in Art History, and MA and Professional Doctorate in Conservation and Preservation of Cultural Heritage, with a specialization in Book and Paper, from the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands. Working in collaboration with the Royal Academy of Art and Sciences' Westerdijk Fungal Biodiversity Institute, the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands, and the Dutch National Archives and North-Holland Archives, her PD research project focused on dry cleaning of mold-infested paper surfaces.