Microfading – could it be a useful test for your light-sensitive collection?
Date: Thursday 4th February 2021
Time: will be announced from 12 January 2021
Tutor: Joyce Townsend *
Places: 25 Participants
Price: 30.- CHF
This small group seminar consists of a 55-minute presentation by Joyce Townsend, followed by 20 minutes of discussion and questions. The seminar will be held in English.
The idea of employing microfading as a non-destructive test method to measure the sensitivity of museum objects to light was first discussed and then published in the late 1990s by Paul Whitmore. Since that time, a number of museums and institutions have developed instruments for microfading, and many more have applied them to textiles, ethnographic material, works on paper, and other types of organic materials that may well be sensitive to light, with numerous publications now available.
This presentation covers the reasons why microfading may give useful information to collection managers, conservators, and curators, and how it can inform decisions about display and loan of suspected light-sensitive materials. It will briefly introduce how microfading works in practice but time will be devoted to examples of modern and contemporary art, and a smaller number of examples of traditional art, which illustrate microfading results for paper-based and textile-based art in particular.
Microfading is a technique that gives useful information, and which often challenges previous ideas about which colour might change the fastest. The implication of the results from microfading tests always require some critical thinking!
*Joyce Townsend is a consultant and also works as Senior Conservation Scientist at Tate, London