After a routine inspection of the rooms, we have discovered mould lurking on some of the objects in the Museum Room at Nostell. This tells us that the atmospheric conditions in the room must be wrong, as too high humidity could lead to damp conditions and subsequent mould growth.
Our first task was to leave the cabinets open for a while to allow air to circulate in the room and try to dry out the mould. We opened all of the cases in the room, to be on the safe side and prevent further mouldy conditions occuring.
After consultation with our Regional Conservator, we then emptied the affected cabinets, transferring the objects to a different room in Nostell. This will allow the museum room cases to be fully cleaned, and the mould will hopefully dry out so that it can be removed. (Dry, inactive mould is easy to clean, but damp, active mould is more difficult and can lead to smearing and staining of the object the mould is attached to).
We had to wear special masks so that we didn’t breathe in the mould spores, and two types of gloves (a white cotton pair – really to keep our hands warm! – and a green latex pair so that we do not come into contact with the mould). It’s very important, because if you have asthma or allergies the mould can increase the problem and cause a reaction.
We laid all of the objects from the museum room cases on tables covered in acid free tissue paper. Hopefully when we return to the items the mould can be treated and removed – watch this space! We also recorded the condition of items so that in future, we know what happened, where they were moved to, and what treatment was given.
Hopefully we can prevent any more mouldy moments in the Museum Room at Nostell in the future!