|■Tokyo National Research
Institute for Cultural Properties
||■Center for Conservation
|■Department of Art Research,
Archives and Information Systems
||■Japan Center for
International Cooperation in Conservation
|■Department of Intangible
This seminar has been conducted since 1984 in order to convey basic knowledge and techniques to curators working on the conservation of materials at the cultural property conservation facilities. For 2017, the two-week seminar starting from July 10 attracted 31 participants throughout Japan. The curriculum of this seminar consists of two major topics: management of the facility environment such as temperature and humidity, air quality, and prevention of pest damages; factors and manners of deterioration according to material types, as well as its prevention. Experts inside and outside the Institute gave lectures and practical training. For the “Case Study,” where the participants experienced the museum environment research on site, they visited Saitama Prefectural Museum of History and Folklore. After dividing into eight groups, they implemented research under the theme set by each group, and presented the outcomes at a later date. Under the current circumstances whereby many facilities are planning large-scale renovation and major movements related to the conservation of materials, such as shifting to LED lighting, are under way, we will scrutinize the curriculum further for smooth technical transfer of proper management.
Viewing of a video on research results
Under the project of “Study on the storage environment for cultural properties,” as one of the major topics, a research has been conducted regarding purification of air inside the display case with high concentration of pollutant gases, which might cause damages on the cultural properties. Conference on Conditions for Conservation of Cultural Properties was held on February 15th, 2016, under the subtitle of the “Evaluation of the Concentration Measurement and Air Cleaning Technology Using a Full-Size Display Case for Experimental Use.”
In this conference, based on the tentative plan for the outgas test method that was made for appropriate selection of interior materials and the results of data collection/analysis of outgas of the interior finishing materials, reports were presented on measurement of outgas concentration, visualization of airflow, the test for air cleaning function inside the full-size display case, as well as actual examples to address pollutant gases at museums.
The problem of generation and retention of gas inside the airtight case is being widely recognized and a total of 135 participants, including curators, attended the meeting from various parts of the country. At the Q&A session, many questions were raised concerning countermeasures, etc. that should be required for actual display cases. Although this issue will not be included in the next mid-to-long term project, we are planning to produce and publish a “pollutant gas management manual” within the next fiscal year for use of museums.
The training session in progress
This follow-up training session (the first for three years) was held on July 6, 2015, with the aim of helping to disseminate the latest knowledge in the field of materials conservation, aimed mainly at people who have already completed the “Training for Museum Curators in Charge of Conservation” training program; a total of 107 people attended the session.
With the coming into effect of the Minamata Convention on Mercury, under the terms of which restrictions will be imposed on the use of mercury and products containing mercury from 2020 onwards, production of certain types of fluorescent lamp will cease, and there will be a reduction in the quantity of incandescent light bulbs produced; as a result, switching over to the use of white LED lights for display lighting will no longer be optional and will in effect become “compulsory.” Following an overview of the Minamata Convention on Mercury (given by Chie Sano, Deputy Director of the Center for Conservation Science and Restoration Techniques), Naoto Yoshida outlined the current situation regarding the development of white LED lights. Kyoko Kubo of the Society for Preservation of Japanese Art Swords, Yusuke Kawase of the National Museum of Western Art, and Takako Yamaguchi of the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography were then invited to talk about the effectiveness of white LED lights as display lighting for Japanese swords, oil paintings and sculptures, and photographs, as well as the types of problems that have been experienced so far. Yamaguchi also discussed the impact that the Minamata Convention will have on daguerreotypes (a photographic technique that required the use of mercury).
There is still considerable uncertainty as to how things will develop in the future in regard to the production of the fluorescent lamps and halogen lamps that have been used up until the present to provide the extremely high color rendering performance needed for display lighting; more work needs to be done in this area in terms of the collection and presentation of relevant information. It was also made clear from the talks given at the training session that there is a real need for clarification, from a natural sciences perspective, of the reasons why objects look different when viewed under LED light (compared to how they appear when viewed under conventional lighting), despite the fact that, statistically speaking, LED lights should in theory possess adequate color rendering performance.
Cultural property pest identification hands-on training in progress
The “Training for Museum Curators in Charge of Conservation” training program has been held every year since 1984, with the aim of imparting basic know-how and skills to curators responsible for conservation work. This year’s training program was held over a two-week period starting on July 13, 2015, with 32 participants from all over Japan.
The curriculum for this year’s training program focused on two key areas: facility environmental management (including temperature and humidity, air circulation, and prevention of biological damage, etc.), and the factors behind, and forms taken by, deterioration of different types of materials. Experts from the Institute’s staff, as well as external experts, gave lectures and led practical, hands-on training sessions. The Museum of the Sakitama Ancient Burial Mounds (in Saitama Prefecture) kindly made available its facilities for the implementation of a hands-on museum environment survey case study, in which the training program participants were divided into teams of eight trainees each to undertake surveys focusing on different themes; the trainees subsequently gave presentations on the results obtained in these surveys.
This year marked the 32nd year that the “Training for Museum Curators in Charge of Conservation” training program had been held; a whole new generation of curators is now receiving training. Today, many of Japan’s public museums in particular have reached an age when they need to undergo renovation or renewal of their facilities; the Institute will be working to strengthen the provision of this type of training program in the future, with the aim of ensuring that know-how relating to both the theory and practical methods of materials conservation can be handed down to a new generation of curators.
Analyzing the colorants in “INO Maps”
Colorants in survey maps by INO Tadataka (1745–1811) in the University Library of the University of Tokushima (known as the “INO Maps”) were studied scientifically as part of the Project to Authenticate the “INO Maps” in the University Library of the University of Tokushima (Director: FUKUI Yoshihiro, Library Director). This Project seeks to conduct a full-fledged study of the “INO Maps,” and colorants in the maps were scientifically investigated at the Library over a 4-day period starting on November 25, 2014. The “INO Maps” are the first Japanese maps based on a precise scientific survey. The maps have features of an early modern painting since they graphically depict terrain, mountains and rivers, and buildings in color. The current study used X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy and visible reflectance spectroscopy, both of which are non-destructive methods of analysis. These techniques yielded data with which to identify the pigments and dyes used. These data are currently being analyzed.
The current study examined “Coastal Maps” (3 sheets), “Coastal Maps of Bungokuni” (3 sheets), and “The Draft Map of Japan’s Coasts” (4 sheets). All of these maps were created based on surveys conducted between 1800 and 1816, so they have scholarly value in their own right. Those maps also offer a precious glimpse into the process leading up to the final version of the “INO Maps” known as “The Complete Survey of Japan’s Coasts.” In addition to colorants analysis, this project examined the quality of paper used and the techniques used to produce survey maps. The results of these studies should yield important findings regarding the creation of the “INO Maps.”
Practice protecting materials from pests
Training for Museum Curators in Charge of Conservation has been conducted annually by the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo since 1984. The training is intended to teach a basic knowledge of conservation and conservation skills to individuals who are in charge of conserving cultural materials in museum. This year, the training was scheduled from 2 weeks starting on July 14, and the trainees were 31 curators in charge of conservation and administrators of cultural properties from throughout Japan.
During the 2 weeks, trainees learn about key conditions for conservation, such as temperature and humidity, climate control, and pest control, as well as causes of and steps to deal with degradation of different types of cultural materials by experts from the Institute and other institutions. The current training session also included lectures on dealing with water damage and radiological contamination of cultural properties in the event of a disaster. Trainees also practiced the techniques they were taught by those experts. Thanks to the Kiyose Historical Museum, trainees were able to experience a study of the conditions at a museum first-hand in a “case study” of the museum. Trainees divided into groups of 8 and studied specific topics, and they subsequently presented their findings.
Most of the trainees have extensive practical experience and they are aware of institutional and facility issues for conservation. This training emphasizes materials conservation from an academic standpoint. Many trainees are flustered by the gap between ideal conservation and the realities of that work, so they ask numerous questions and often solicit advice during every lecture. The intent is to have trainees recognize that gap between the ideal and reality and to think about what steps they should take, given that reality, to conserve materials. Conservation is, after all, the primary mission of a museum. Institute personnel seek to maintain close ties with trainees even after the training is finished and offer them advice and suggestions.
Announcement of and applications for the training are usually handled by a relevant department of the Board of Education of each prefecture. Plans are to send out notifications about the next training session starting in February 2015.
Training underway 1
Training underway 2
Guided tour of the systems to manage conservation conditions at Yamanashi Prefectural Museum
The 18th Local Training Course for Museum Conservation was conducted at Yamanashi Prefectural Museum to provide personnel involved in materials conservation at museums and archives in Yamanashi Prefecture with a basic knowledge of conservation. The training was done at December 11th and 12th and that was co-organized by the Institute and the Museum Kai Network. The training had 41 attendees from Yamanashi Prefecture.
As a general outline, a lecture entitled “An Introduction to Conservation Conditions” (SANO Chie, Head of the Conservation Science Section) covered basic principles of and recent trends in materials conservation. This was followed by lectures on “Temperature and Humidity,” “Light and Lighting” (YOSHIDA Naoto, Senior researcher), “Climate Control” (SANO Chie), “Pest Control” (SATO Yoshinori, researcher in the Biological Science Section), and “Practical Methods for Conservation of Folk Objects and Artifacts” (KITANO Nobuhiko, Head of the Technical Standards Section). Folk objects and artifacts are kept primarily by smaller museums, but these museums truly lack the facilities and systems to manage those objects. Training accounted for the fact that many of the attendees would be from smaller museums.
After the lectures, Yamanashi Prefectural Museum graciously permitted inspection of its facilities. Systems to manage conditions at the museum were explained in detail by curator Takahiko KUTSUNA. Mr. KUTSUNA provided great assistance with regard to the conduct of this training.
A survey after training yielded numerous comments that the training was productive as well as requests to learn more about specific steps to take in accordance with conditions at specific institutions. We at the Institute greatly value communication with attendees after training as a way to meet the needs of conservators.
Practice removing oxygen to control pests
Training for Museum and Art Museum Conservators was conducted for 2 weeks starting on July 8th and was attended by 30 curators and administrators from around the country. Training focused on gaining the basic knowledge and learning methodologies needed to conserve materials through lectures and practice. The curriculum consisted of 2 areas: (1) management of materials and conservation conditions grounded in basic natural sciences and (2) causes of the degradation of different types of cultural properties and steps to prevent that degradation.
“Case studies” that involved putting conservation conditions into effect in actual settings took place at the Shinjuku Historical Museum. Participants divided into 8 groups and conducted field studies and assessments of aspects such as temperature and humidity ranges, the effects of outside light, and pest control in galleries and repositories. The following day, they reported their results.
During the training session, a group discussion of the issue of reduced energy use at facilities handling cultural properties took place with the help of the Conservation Division of the Tokyo National Museum.
This session marks the 30th training session since training began in 1984. In total, over 700 individuals have attended the training. Individuals who underwent training early on and who have been at the forefront of materials conservation are beginning to give way to the next generation. As future generations carry on this conservation work, the Institute will determine what form this training should take in the future while remaining cognizant of the role the Institute needs to play in materials conservation.
Science for Conservation is a research bulletin published by the Center for Conservation Science and Restoration Techniques and the Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation. Every article in Science for Conservation since its first volume has been converted into PDF format, and these articles are now available via the Center for Conservation Science and Restoration Techniques’ website (http://www.tobunken.go.jp/~ccr/pub/cosery_s/consery_s.html). All 4 papers and 22 reports featured in vol. 52, the bulletin’s latest edition, have now been uploaded. A pamphlet and 3 posters on biodeterioration and pest control are also available online, so feel free to have a look. (http://www.tobunken.go.jp/~ccr/pub/publication.html#002).
Copies of many publications are distributed to relevant institutions. In order to provide useful information a larger number of personnel working to conserve cultural properties, however, plans are to actively make those publications available online.
Photo caption: A lecture on Pests by Researcher SATO Yoshinori
Through various seminars and workshops, the Center for Conservation Science and Restoration Techniques provides information on knowledge and skills to individuals working to conserve materials in museums, art museums, and archives. The Local Workshop on Materials Conservation is conducted once a year in a specific region. Scheduled for 1 day, this workshop is for conservation specialists in that region. This year, the workshop was held in conjunction with the Committee of Okayama Prefectural Museums at the Okayama Prefectural Museum of Art on October 16th. The workshop had 56 attendees. Lectures were given by SANO Chie (Head of the Conservation Science Section), SATO Yoshinori (Researcher in the Biology Laboratory), and YOSHIDA Naoto (Senior researcher) from the Center, and these lectures covered topics such as General Theories on Conservation Conditions, Temperature and Humidity, Climate Control, Light and Illumination, and Pests. The workshop was well-received even by individuals who were unable to attend the 2-week Training for Museum and Art Museum Conservators conducted by the Center each year in Tokyo. The lectures tended to discuss topics such as recommended conservation conditions and facilities, but the question “What if we don’t have such a facility?” was often raised. Clearly, individual museums and art museums have their own unique conditions, so offering a single answer to that question is difficult. With this in mind, Center personnel will strive to enhance their usual research and formulate answers in response to different situations.
Practice identifying insect pests that damage cultural properties
Training for Museum Curators in Charge of Conservation is intended to imbue curators with the knowledge and skills needed to conserve cultural properties. This year’s training was conducted over 2 weeks starting on July 9th, and participants consisted of 30 curators and administrators from around the country. The training curriculum primarily consisted of lectures and practice in 2 areas: (1) conservation conditions grounded in the natural sciences and (2) causes of the degradation of different types of cultural properties and steps to prevent that degradation.
“Case studies” that involved putting conservation conditions into effect in actual settings took place at the National Museum of Japanese History in Sakura city, Chiba prefecture. Participants divided into 8 groups and conducted field studies and assessments of set conditions such as temperature, humidity, and illuminance. The following day, they reported their results.
Training participants are anticipated to constitute a local nexus for conservation of cultural properties as they continue their work in museums. Application guidelines are distributed to individual facilities via municipal boards of education every February or so, so we look forward to your application.
Follow-up Training for Conservators is conducted annually to inform individuals who have completed the Training for Museum and Art Museum Conservators of the latest findings in conservation. With 80 participants in attendance, follow-up training of this year was held on July 25. As noted below, the first half of follow-up training covered efforts by the Committee to Rescue Cultural Properties Damaged by the Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami (Cultural Property Rescue Program) thus far. The second half covered approaches to dealing with conservation conditions by Institute personnel.
・Efforts to rescue cultural properties thus far (Ken OKADA, Head of the Center for Conservation Science and Restoration Techniques)
・Severe damage to facilities handing cultural properties and systems to protect those properties by large-scale disasters (Masayuki MORI, Senior researcher)
・Conservation conditions in the film repository (Chie SANO, Head of the Conservation Science Section)
・Surveys of conservation conditions, consulting, and recommendations by the Institute (Naoto YOSHIDA, Senior researcher)
Each year, at least 10% of all individuals who have completed the training for conservators attend to follow-up training. This reflects the Institute’s hopes for better approaches to conservation conditions. The Institute will continue its efforts to accurately ascertain conservation needs in order to meet its expectations.
Science for Conservation is the research bulletin of the Center for Conservation Science and Restoration Techniques and the Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation of the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo. The latest edition, Vol. 51, was published March 31, 2012. This edition features 7 papers and 20 reports on the study and restoration of various cultural properties by Institute personnel. Paper copies are distributed only to relevant organizations and persons, but PDF versions will be available on the Institute’s website (http://www.tobunken.go.jp/~hozon/pdf/51/MOKUZI51.html) , so feel free to have a look.
Workshop in progress
The 16th Local Workshop on Materials Conservation was held on Nov. 16th and 17th at the Contemporary Art Museum, Kumamoto The workshop had 68 attendees.
The workshop seeks to send Institute personnel into local communities to teach basic knowledge about materials conservation to curators and administrators of cultural heritage. Seminars are conducted on topics such as general theory, temperature and humidity, lighting, climate control, and pest control. In addition, this session of the workshop was the first to feature a lecture on materials conservation in a “contemporary art museum.” Contemporary art museums are often designed based on concepts unlike those used in facilities dealing with works prior to the modern era. That said, contemporary art museums sometimes handle classical works, including national treasures , so persons in charge of cultural properties need to be aware of the characteristics of their individual facilities in order to safely conserve and exhibit those pieces. Such persons also need to handle those pieces appropriately. In addition, such persons are aware that the time has come for them to seriously consider the conservation of contemporary artworks with potential historical and artistic value. The fact is that we as curators are lacking in experience with and study of both works of contemporary art and the facilities curating them. Thus, the Institute hopes to actively ascertain the needs of current curators and highlight those issues.
The case study in progress
Training Course for Museum Curators in Charge of Conservation was conducted from July 11 to 22 (27 participants), marking the 28th session of that course. Lectures and practics were conducted by instructors from the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo and other facilities to provide curators with knowledge and skill regarding conservation environment at facilities handling cultural properties and prevention of the degradation of different types of materials primarily from a scientific perspective. In addition, Yachiyo Folk History Museum provided a “case study” of a study of conservation conditions on-site. Participants divided into groups to examine set topics and announced their findings. An active discussion took place and questions were asked and answered.
The training session in question featured an agenda that included a lecture on preparations for serious disasters and practica and demonstrations regarding emergency measures to preserve water-damaged photos and paper materials. Unfortunately, none of the attendees were from the Tohoku region, which had been heavily damaged by the recent Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami, but participants from around the country were reminded of the affected region and the fact that they themselves could be victims of such a disaster. Seeing participants closely follow and observe lectures and practica so that they could prepare for a major disaster as might occur in the future was quite moving.
On June 27, a follow-up training course was conducted for individuals who had completed training for conservators. The course sought to instruct participants in the latest findings with regard to onservation environment. Under the subheading the Nature of Future Measures to Avoid Biodeterioration, the session included the following 3 lectures:
– Efforts in the event of biodeterioration (Sano Chie, Head, Conservation Science Section )
– Certification, from the Japan Institute of Insect Damage to Cultural Properties, for agents used in conservation (Miura Sadatoshi, Visiting Researcher, Director, Japan Institute of Insect Damage to Cultural Properties)
– The process of combatting biodeterioration via travelling exhibitions (Kigawa Rika, Head, Biological Science Section)
In light of the reality of the vast damage to cultural properties done by the tsunami that accompanied the Tohoku earthquake, Ms. Kigawa gave a lecture on the subject of Initial Efforts to Rescue Cultural Properties. Participants were then given a demonstration of the “Squelch Drying technique,” which was one of the initial efforts used to preserve water-damaged paper materials.
The training session had 88 participants. Attendees represented close to 15% of the individuals who had completed training for conservators over the last 30 years or so. The Center was pleased to see such good attendance, and this turnout impressed upon us at the Center the need to continue improving ourselves by offering even better sessions in the future.
Front and back cover of Science for Conservation, Vol. 1. The bulletin has faded somewhat after about 47 years, but its format has changed little.
Science for Conservation is a bulletin that reports the results of our study and research regarding conservation of cultural properties primarily from a scientific perspective. The bulletin has been published since it came out in 1964, and Vol. 50 came out at the end of March this year. The bulletin’s history certainly reflects the history of the conservation science in Japan. When Vol. 1 came out, the belief that conservation of cultural properties required scientific perspectives and techniques was little known for the most part. Thus, the term Conservation Science was almost unknown. The term is now widely known thanks to the unceasing efforts and struggles and the passion for conservation of cultural properties on the part of our predecessors. We continue their work, and Science for Conservation will continue to strive to encourage the recognition of this science as a beneficial and essential field of academia.
A limited number of copies of Science for Conservation are printed, so the bulletin is only distributed to relevant institutions. Thus, every article will be available on the Internet in PDF format, starting with Vol. 1. If you are interested, feel free to have a look (http://www.tobunken.go.jp/~hozon/hozon_pdf.html); we welcome your interest in our activities.
A lecture underway
Starting in 2012, Theories of Conservation of Museum Materials will be a required class as part of a university course to train curators. This class requires that students who wish to become curators have knowledge of the conservation of materials with a scientific basis. Although over 300 universities and junior colleges currently offer such a course, the reality is that a limited number of personnel have the expertise sufficient to teach the course. In order to prepare for the start of these classes, lectures on Approaches to Theories of Conservation of Museum Materials took place for 3 days starting on March 8. The lectures were intended for instructors who had been assigned to oversee the course and consisted of 15 lectures related particularly to preventive conservation. The lectures provided information instructors would need to know. The lectures were attended by 81 individuals from around the country, including university instructors and curators overseeing the class on an adjunct basis. Since this was the first time such lectures had taken place, participants praised the lectures but the lasting impression was that many were confused. In the past, involvement with such individuals has been severely limited, but in the future departments that study conservation conditions must play an active role in educating these individuals.
Lecture at the workshop
The purpose of the workshop shown in the above title is to give lectures to persons in charge of conserving cultural properties in local districts so that they learn fundamental knowledge of conservation on December 13, we held this 15th workshop at the Kochi Prefectural Museum of History, hosted by the Kochi Education Board and Tobunken. Although we usually cover each item of temperature/humidity and atmospheric environment in detail, we gave lectures focusing on measures against biotic damage on this occasion. The major reason for these lectures is that the problems of bugs and mold and countermeasures against them are serious concerns for the persons in charge of the conservation of cultural properties in Kochi. The following four persons conducted lectures using their areas of expertise and viewpoints: Mr. Asaga Hiroshi, the Cultural Property Conservation Instructor at the Arts and Culture Section of the Agency for Cultural Affairs; Mr. Okamoto Keisuke, the Art and Culture Section Manager of the Kochi Prefectural Museum of History; Mr. Miura Sadatoshi, the Director of the Japan Institute of Insect Damage to Cultural Properties (a honorary researcher of our Institute); and Ms. Sano Chie, the Head of the Conservation Science Section at the Tobunken Center for Conservation Science and Restoration Techniques.
A great many people participated in the workshop from the expanse Kochi prefectural area. Wee felt their high level of interest through the eagerness of their questions and discussions. We are holding this workshop session at the request of the local residents. Please do not hesitate to ask us if you have any requests.
We held the 27th training course during a period of two weeks starting July 12, and participants included 32 curators and the persons in charge of cultural properties administration nationwide. In these training sessions they focused on basic knowledge and technology concerning the conservation environment, deterioration, and restoration of various cultural properties. The course included lectures and practical training on conservation.
A practical museum environment training case study was carried out at the Sodegaura-city Folk Museum. Participants were divided into eight groups, each of which investigated the temperature, humidity, illumination, disaster prevention equipment, and conservation environment of cultural properties outdoors. They presented their results the following day, and questions and answers were provided.
The conservation of materials from the standpoint of natural science will be increasingly emphasized, which can be understood just by seeing that the “theory of museum material conservation” will be a mandatory subject in the curator programs of universities starting 2012. We will closely investigate the curriculum and content of this training course in order to enrich it while taking into consideration various signs of the times.