Society taking steps to combat dampness

The Strath Taieri Historical Society will outline steps to ensure preservation of artefacts affected by dampness in the Middlemarch Museum at a meeting on April 19.

A recent report by the Otago Museum found the Middlemarch Museum suffered from dampness, which affected the integrity of the museum's artefacts.

Society treasurer Anne Elliot said dampness had brought mould which had settled on interior glass cases. The dampness, coupled with fluctuating temperatures, posed problems the Middlemarch Museum was less able to respond to than better-resourced museums, she said.

‘‘We are not a museum that is able to provide climate control as used in large, well-funded museums.''

Society president Priscilla Porter said it was very important to ensure the museum maintained the integrity of its artefacts.

‘‘When you've got people's treasures, you want to ensure they are kept in perpetuity.''

Mrs Elliot said funding had recently been obtained to buy data loggers which would help assess the climatic conditions of the museum to inform decisions about how best to preserve the museum's artefacts.

‘‘The data loggers will give us the ability to know what is going on and what we will have to do to make the conditions as favourable as possible to keep our collections safe.''

●Six volunteers from the society are working towards completing the National Certificate in Museum Practice, an NZQA level four qualification provided by industry training organisation Service IQ.

Mrs Porter said the course was proving highly educational for the organisation's volunteers. The course, which was ongoing, included an upcoming workshop on preventive conservation in Gore.

The society will hold its next general meeting at 7pm on Tuesday next week at the Middlemarch Museum.

-By Joshua Riddiford 

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