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Grant number like: PR-234564-16

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Indianapolis Museum of Art, Inc. (Indianapolis, IN 46208-4182)
Gregory D. Smith (Project Director: June 2015 to April 2018)
Rapid Pollution Off-Gassing Assessments of Museum Construction Materials by Gas Chromatographic Techniques

Development of a rapid analytical protocol for measuring volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in materials used for the display, storage, and exhibition of cultural heritage materials. The new protocol would replace the outdated and inefficient “Oddy Test,” which is currently the only way to evaluate these materials for safety in library, museum, and archival settings. A faster and more reliable approach to materials testing has been a goal of conservators and conservation scientists for more than a decade. With this request, the Indianapolis Museum of Art Conservation Science Lab will continue a year-long collaboration with Butler University to develop an alternative protocol based on evolved gas analysis (EGA) that appears to offer improvements in testing time, accuracy, and range of detectable compounds.

The Indianapolis Museum of Art (IMA) proposes to develop and optimize a gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) analysis protocol with a broadly applicable volatiles sampling strategy to provide rapid, quantitative, and molecularly specific assessments of the emissions from construction materials considered for use in museums. The IMA Conservation Science Lab has worked to develop an alternative sampling strategy based on evolved gas analysis (EGA) that offers several advantages over other methods. Proposed research activities include further refinement of the EGA approach, comparison with other currently-practiced methodologies, examination of correlations between detected pollutants and observed damage to artists' materials, and provision of quantitative data regarding pollution levels. The instrumental protocol and resulting data will be made freely available to institutions and will directly impact confidence in the materials used within museums, libraries, and archives.

[Grant products]

Project fields:
Arts, General; Arts, Other

Research and Development

Preservation and Access

$75,000 (approved)
$75,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2016 – 12/31/2017