A Meeting with Mould

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.

Mouldy hole punch

Mouldy book

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.

What’s this peeping out from inside a case?

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).

Claire moves the items carefully so that mould spores are not distributed to other parts of the building

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.

Unseen hazard of wearing masks and glasses – I could hardly see!

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.

Tables covered in mouldy – and not mouldy – objects from the museum room

Recording the findings

Hopefully we can prevent any more mouldy moments in the Museum Room at Nostell in the future!

Ellie

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2 thoughts on “A Meeting with Mould

  1. What a fabulous blog – I have just discovered it! Great that you are featuring these ‘behind the scenes’ stories, I think there is a big demand for that: real conservation by real people. My only comment would be to try to make the images bigger, but otherwise just keep going 🙂

    • Thanks Emile, what great comments! We’ll have a look at making some of the photos bigger in future. And you’re right – it’s often the ‘hidden’ aspects of conservation work which visitors like to see, so hopefully this blog will allow people to see some of what goes on!
      Nostell’s House Team

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