Care and Handling of Artwork at Museum of Glass: Protection from Fire, Water, and Pests

By Rebecca Engelhardt, Collections and Exhibitions Manager

As part of our ongoing series on the care of artwork at Museum of Glass (MOG), this post reviews the methods that we use to protect our collections from fire, water, and pests.

The Curatorial department at MOG works closely with our colleagues in the Security and Facilities departments to monitor for the threat of fire, water, and pests.

Fire

Insuring that our smoke detectors and fire extinguishers are properly installed, accessible, and inspected lowers the threat of fire.

Deborah Oropallo, Untitled (from the Under Fire series), 2002. Collection of Museum of Glass

Deborah Oropallo, Untitled (from the Under Fire series), 2002. Collection of Museum of Glass

Careful storage of flammable chemicals in specially designed cabinets, like this one, isolates them away from the artwork we have on display and in storage.

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Leaks and Floods

Much like your own home, damage from rising groundwater or from broken plumbing is a risk to our collection. Undetected or remedied leaks or floods will result in water damage of objects, and could lead to mold, another thread to the collection.

Martin Blank, Fluent Steps, 2008. Extra care is taken to monitor the effects of the climate on this outdoor sculpture at the Museum. Our Curatorial staff works with engineers and conservators who are specially trained in this material.

Martin Blank, Fluent Steps, 2008. Extra care is taken to monitor the effects of the climate on this outdoor sculpture at the Museum. Our Curatorial staff works with engineers and conservators, who are specially trained in this material.

We monitor the building for any leaks and keep a fully-stocked set of disaster response supplies at hand.

You can build your own emergency kit for flooding and leaks, or purchase vendor pre-made kit like this one from University Products - http://www.universityproducts.com/cart.php?m=product_list&c=166

You can build your own emergency kit for flooding and leaks or purchase vendor pre-made kit like this one from University Products – http://www.universityproducts.com/cart.php?m=product_list&c=166

Covered display vitrines and storage shelving adds a layer of protection from leaks.

Masters of Studio Glass: Richard Meitner - 2009

Masters of Studio Glass: Richard Meitner – 2009

Pests

Pests are another risk that museums try to avoid. At MOG, we do not allow food, drinks, or potted plants in our galleries or storage areas, as these things all attract pests. We also ask that our custodial team stays on top of their housekeeping to deter vermin and insects.

Although most of the artwork at the Museum is glass (and not so tasty to pests), many pieces at the Museum include materials such as paper and wood. These are the organic materials that are easily damaged by pests.

This piece, Vanity, by Joseph Gregory Rossano is an prime example of mixed-media artwork that contains not only glass, but wood and paper that are a food source for many pests. Photo by Duncan Price.

This piece, Vanity, by Joseph Gregory Rossano is an prime example of mixed-media artwork that contains not only glass, but wood and paper that are a food source for many pests. Photo by Duncan Price.

Watch out for pests who would like to dine on the materials in your artwork!

Stay tuned for more on caring for art at MOG!

For more from the Care and Handling of Artwork series, check out:

Rebecca Engelhardt is the Registrar/Collections Manager at Museum of Glass. Her background includes ten years at MOG, plus time at major museums such as Smithsonian Institution and The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art.

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