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Re: [BKARTS] Fungicide

I had the opportunity to ask the conservators at the British Library how they dealt with fungi. Their system seems to be quite perfect: first all of the materials in the huge archive are in controlled atmospheres, with not enough moisture for even the most mean spirited spore to germinate.  The amazing bit however was their reception procedure for new (that might be very old) materials coming into the collection.  Apparently all incoming artifacts: paper, parchment, wood, whatever goes into quarantine, and initially is not allowed to even enter the Library. In the quarantine section the temperature is dropped quickly to some ridiculously cold temperature:  I think I heard -45 or -50 centigrade. It is held there for several days; this kills all actively growing
 fungi, but may leave spores viable.   Next the artifacts are warmed up in an atmosphere with some humidity, and kept thus to allow/encourage every remaining spore to germinate, and then the freezing process is repeated. Neat. It is only after this procedure is complete that new materials are allowed into the archive, and if the material is ancient it then gets a good clean up in the studio before acquisition procedures.  Shame that my freezer at home struggles to get down to -18 or 20 centigrade. If anyone is in London on a Thursday afternoon, do take the (free) guided tour through the brand new conservation section of the BL.  I just drool at the facilities and expertise on show.  Regards,  David Lloyd,  

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