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Ebrill 2014

WASHING PAPER??!!

Postiwyd gan Maria del Mar Mateo ar 25 Ebrill 2014

Hope all of you had a good Easter!

Now is time to show you one of the most interesting process in paper conservation, the washing treatment. But, can we wash a sheet of paper once it is already made?? Yes, we can. Before washing we have to keep in mind how the art work was made, such as the stability of the ink, damage to the paper, etc. I need to test EVERYTHING to make sure I don’t wash it all away!

We only do the washing if the paper need it. In the lithograph prints we found some dirt, tears, folds, creases, stains and foxing*. Washing them would remove the dirt, some stains and foxing and at the same time would re-forms the hydrogen bonds between the fibres, reinforcing the paper strength and improving the appearance too.

After this process, we deacidified the prints to neutralize the acidity in the paper with an alkaline solution. The alkali reserve will remain in the paper, ready to act against future acidification.

 

*Foxing: reddish-brown spots (the colour of a fox) over the surface of the paper which can be caused by a mold activity or a chemical reaction due to metal impurities in the paper.

Exploring biodiversity in the Amazon

Postiwyd gan Adrian Plant ar 15 Ebrill 2014

Adrian Plant continues his fieldwork in the Amazon in collaboration with Jose Albertino Rafael and Josenir Camara from INPA (Brazil’s national Amazon research organisation) in Manaus.

So far two field-trips to remote corners of the Amazon have been successfully completed. The first was to Sao Gabriel da Cachoeira high up the Rio Negra not far from Brazil’s borders with Colombia and Venezuela and the second to a major tributary of the Amazon along the border with Peru at Benjamin Constant.

The forests of the Amazon Basin are flood forests; they become seasonally inundated by the flooded river and the waters bring with them many of the nutrients essential to the forests great productivity throughout the region. This year the forest remains unusually wet for the time of year which has caused a few practical problems for field entomology.- it is an acquired pleasure to slosh around in deep mud and water searching for new and interesting insects under a constant plague of biting mosquitoes. Yet, to an entomologist this is more or less a definition of “fun”!

The biodiversity is amazing of course and many of the insects seen and collected are undoubtedly new to science but will require much study in more comfortable surroundings after returning from the field. Meanwhile, Adrian will shortly be setting out on a third fieldtrip, this time to a little known area  between the mouth of the Amazon river and French Guiana where many exciting discoveries will undeniably be made.

Llwch Llundain

Postiwyd gan Catalena Angele ar 14 Ebrill 2014

Y llwch yn Llundain bbc.co.uk

Beth am warchod y Ddaear drwy helpu i leihau llygredd aer

Mae nifer o'r gwyddonwyr gorau yn cytuno bod lefelau llygredd yn cyfrannu at gynhesu byd-eang

Os oeddech chi yn ymweld â Llundain yr wythnos diwethaf mae’n siŵr eich bod chi wedi sylwi bod yr awyr yn llawn llwch – fel edrych drwy gwmwl brwnt! Ond beth yw mwrllwch, a beth yw’r gwahaniaeth rhyngddo â niwl?

Beth yw niwl?

Cwmwl ar y llawr yw niwl! Llawer o ddiferion dŵr mân yn hofran yn yr awyr yw niwl ac mae’n rhan naturiol o’r tywydd. Mae niwl yn helpu i ddyfrio planhigion ac yn ddiogel i chi ei anadlu i mewn.

Beth yw mwrllwch?

Llygredd aer yw mwrllwch. Mae’n cael ei gynhyrchu wrth i niwl gymysgu â mwg a nwyon cemegol ceir a ffatrïoedd ac mae rhai o’r cemegau yma’n wenwynig! Mae’n niweidio planhigion ac anifeiliaid a gall fod yn beryglus ei anadlu i mewn.

Mae’r mwrllwch diweddar yn Llundain yn gymysgedd o niwl, llygredd a thrydydd cynhwysyn – tywod o’r Sahara! Anialwch anferth yn Affrica yw’r Sahara ac mae peth o’r tywod yno yn fân iawn, iawn fel llwch. Weithiau bydd stormydd gwynt yn codi’r llwch a’i chwythu filoedd o filltiroedd i’r DU. Dyna siwrnai hir!

Yn anffodus, mae’r gymysgedd o niwl, llygredd a llwch yr anialwch yn golygu bod mwrllwch Llundain yn niweidio’r ysgyfaint, ac mae wedi gwneud rhai pobl yn sâl. Mae mwrllwch yn un rheswm da iawn pam y dylen ni i gyd geisio lleihau llygredd aer!

Beth alla i ei wneud i leihau llygredd aer?

Meddyliwch am lygredd aer… beth sy’n ei achosi? Allwch chi feddwl am 3 pheth y gallech chi ei wneud i leihau llygredd aer? Trafodwch yn y dosbarth cyn gwirio eich atebion yma (gwefan Saesneg).

Dilynwch y ddolen hon i ddysgu mwy am fwrllwch. Dilynwch y ddolen hon.

Eich cwestiynau, fy atebion:

Glyncollen Primary School: Sorry we were late again. We had a busy week as we are going to Llangrannog. We have had great fun doing this investigation. We can't wait to find out who has won the competition. We are going to tell the year3 class about it as they will be doing it next year. Thank you Professor Plant. Yr. 4. Prof P: Hope you had fun at Llangrannog! I am so glad you have enjoyed the investigation Glyncollen. Thank you so much for taking part!

Ysgol Clocaenog: Pen wedi disgyn ffwrdd! Athro'r Ardd: Wedi colli ei ben!

Gladestry C.I.W. School: Although the flowers were open earlier in the week, they have closed up again at the drop in temperature. Prof P: I can tell that you have learnt a lot about your planrs Gladestry, well done!

Diolch yn fawr

Athro'r Ardd

16 weeks to go...

Postiwyd gan Maria del Mar Mateo ar 11 Ebrill 2014

Let me introduce myself, my name is Mar Mateo Belda, I’m a paper conservator and after working in different cultural institutions in Spain, Nicaragua, Cuba and the United States, I’ve got a traineeship at the National Museum of Wales.

The purpose of this traineeship is to carry out conservation of the 66 lithographs from the portfolio “Efforts and Ideals” in 1917 that will be exhibited at the beginning of August 2014 with the title “The Great War: Britain’s Efforts and Ideals”.

Let’s get the show on the road!

I’m sure that for most of you, paper conservation sounds like interesting and weird all at the same time and for that reason you need to watch this space to find out what it is and what I’m doing.

The first step we follow before carrying out the conservation treatments of the works is making a condition report to assess the conservation condition of each of them. The next step is to photograph them all to capture the initial condition of the prints.

Collecting Seaweeds in Ireland

Postiwyd gan Katie Mortimer-Jones ar 10 Ebrill 2014

By Kath Slade

The marine team are back from their fieldwork to West of Ireland with lots of specimens to sort through, including seaweeds. The timing of fieldwork was chosen to coincide with several very low tides, allowing us to sample species lower down the shore, which are less adapted to long periods out of water. We still had limited a time to sample around low water (approx. 2 hours).

The lower shore holds many of the red seaweeds, such as Sea Beech (Delesseria sanguinea), Fine-Veined Crinkle Weed (Cryptopleura ramosa) and Bonnemaison’s Hook Weed (Bonnemaisonia hamifera).

Immediately after collection, there was a fair amount of processing to do, as seaweeds don’t last long out of their natural habitat on the shore. Many were floated out in trays of seawater in order to spread all of the fronds (“leaves”) out, before being transferred and pressed onto conservation grade cotton paper. The specimens were stacked together, and between each layer we had blotting paper to soak up the water. The stacks of seaweed were then placed into large plant presses, just like those used for flower pressing. Each day the blotting paper was changed to remove as much water as possible. When we returned to the Museum, we placed the plant presses in drying machines to speed up the process and prevent the seaweeds from rotting.

Some seaweeds are difficult to identify from external characters alone. For these species, small portions were collected and placed into silica gel. This dries the seaweed much quicker than pressing so that the DNA is better preserved enabling molecular work to be carried out at a later date. Others were preserved in formalin, which removes the colour of the seaweed but preserves the cell details and the seaweed’s 3D structure. Further identification work, will now be carried out back at the Museum.

All this preparation allows us preserve the seaweeds for future scientific studies. The specimens go into the Welsh National Herbarium (plant collections) at the Museum, and each provides evidence of what seaweeds are present at a particular locality at a particular time. The pressing process is so effective that specimens keep for hundreds of years.

Collections Reviews in Wales

Postiwyd gan Christian Baars ar 10 Ebrill 2014

Collections reviews are a hot topic in museums these days, and for good reasons. Reviews form an integral part of collections management. Last October on this blog, I introduced a number of recent reviews of natural science collections. Now it’s time to talk about the Welsh Museums Federation’s approach.

Methodology

The dry bit first: we developed a methodology that reflects the constraints of the project. And they are pretty tight: we needed to undertake 20 reviews with an average time allocation of two curator days each. This means getting an overview of holdings, assessing their significance, and identifying any collections needs in a single day. We adapted UCL’s significance toolkit rather than using the more recently published CyMAL assessment. We felt that this better reflected the questions we were asking and the constraints of the project. If you want to know more about the methodology, please get in touch with the 'Linking Collections' project manager.

‘Linking Collections’ was conceived because natural science collections up and down the country are, generally speaking, relatively neglected and in need of TLC. We have found that this really is the case. In some cases, specimens were lovingly repackaged in acid free tissue in good boxes – and then not checked for ten years because of lack of specialist curatorial expertise, sometimes with spectacular results. If you work in a museum you know all about this; you are likely to have seen things no mortal eye should ever have to witness.

Process

Let’s focus on the review process itself. It’s quite simple really. A pre-review questionnaire sent to partner museums early last year collected information about scope and approximate size of collections. This then formed the basis for a decision on how many and which curators (reviewers) to send to each museum.  Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales very kindly provided ‘Linking Collections’ with expertise in the form of specialist curators; the National Museum is now the only museum in Wales with specialist natural science curators.

The project manager acts as the match maker and organises the (review) dates. At the museum, each reviewer is

paired up with a local member of staff or a volunteer – in either case somebody who either already is, or will be in future, working with the natural science collection. In this way, the reviewer benefits from local knowledge of physical access to the collection. At the same time, the local staff/volunteers get hands-on training in object handling and a deep insight into their collection from the reviewer. This way of working not only speeds up the process of working through a collection; it also forms an important part of the training element of ‘Linking Collections’, as one of the main aims of the project is to improve the local understanding of natural science collections.

While the reviewer assesses the objects, the assistant fills in the EXCEL data matrix on a laptop. The data matrix asks for a definition of a ‘review unit’ as well as its size (a unit can be a single specimen or an entire cupboard full of specimens); information about provenance, the collector, collection date. We then record any information about local relevance and historic notes, as well as a simple indication of conservation state, documentation, quality of packaging and any potential health and safety issues. Then there is a block of columns with significance assessments, on a traffic-light-scale, regarding different levels of importance (local to international) and value (scientific, historic, educational, …). Finally, the reviewer also records an initial recommendation for potential use of the review unit.

Results

The information we get from this assessment helps determine the potential of each collection. It will also enable to identify gaps in collections that could be addressed, in the future, through the museum’s collecting strategy. And because the approach is consistent between 20 museums it will be possible to compare these collections directly, and see how they complement each other, or whether there are similar problems affecting them. This last point is particularly important in the context of establishing the Distributed National Collection in Wales, which is what this project is all about.

Follow 'Linking Natural Science Collections in Wales' on Twitter @LinkinCollWales or Facebook.

 

Fieldwork in Co. Mayo - Update

Postiwyd gan Katie Mortimer-Jones ar 8 Ebrill 2014

The team are now back from the West Coast of Ireland and the trip has proven to be really successful. The team continued to sample around Corraun, near Achill Island, north Clew Bay for several days, although the weather did turn. They are now processing the samples collected back at National Museum Cardiff. The seaweed samples are carefully dried and pressed, bristleworm and shell specimens are removed from the formaldehyde fixative and then placed into alcohol, and the DNA samples are placed into the freezer. Once processed the specimens will become part of the Museum Collections, and will contribute greatly to the research of the Natural Sciences department.

The countdown has started

Postiwyd gan Emily O'Reilly ar 8 Ebrill 2014

A.S. Hartrick, Ar y Rheilffyrdd: Glanhawyr Peiriannau a Cherbydau
portfolio Gwaith Menywod, Y Rhyfel Mawr, Ysbrydoli'r Ymdrech, 1917
Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales

C.R.W. Nevinson, Bancio ar uchder o 4,000 o droedfeddi

Portffolio Adeiledd Awyrennau, Y Rhyfel Mawr, Ysbrydoli Ymgyrch Prydain, 1917

Welcome to our blog.  This is the first blog in our journey to opening the exhibition, Britain’s Efforts and Ideas: Prints of the First World War on 2 August 2014 at the National Museum Cardiff.  The countdown has started.   

The exhibition will bring together the works from the portfolio, The Great War: Britain’s Efforts and Ideals. commissioned by Wellington House, the propaganda Bureau that became the Ministry of Information.  The prospectus described the series as …’a first attempt by a number of British artists, working in unison, to put on record some aspects of the activities called forth by the Great war, and ideals by which those activities were inspired.’  Artists of the day including Frank Brangwyn, Augustus John, William Rothenstein, Eric Kennington and C.R.W. Nevinson all contributed prints to the series.  In 1919 the National Museum of Wales was donated a set by the government.  We will be exhibiting these works as a group for the first time. 

Over the next few months we plan to give you an insight into preparations for this show.  Working together, conservators and curators will research and prepare all 66 prints for display.  We will give you an insight into what happens to works when they go ‘to be conserved’, how we can investigate the fibres to identify the paper, what new research will reveal about the series and the public reaction when they went on display.

Mar Mateo, Beth McIntyre and Emily O’Reilly

10 Uchaf yr Adar

Postiwyd gan Catalena Angele ar 7 Ebrill 2014

Beth yw’r 10 aderyn mwyaf cyffredin yng ngerddi Prydain?

Cennin Pedr gyda da neu dri blodyn – rhyfedd iawn!

Blodau hyfryd yn Ysgol Gynradd SS Philip a James yr Eglwys yn Lloegr

Wnaeth pob blodyn ddim agor yn llawn – ys gwn i pam?

Shwmae gyfeillion y gwanwyn!

Canlyniadau Big Garden Birdwatch

Beth yw’r 10 aderyn mwyaf cyffredin yn eich gardd chi? Cyfrannodd bron i hanner miliwn o bobl at Big Garden Birdwatch 2014 yr RSPB (y Gymdeithas Frenhinol er Gwarchod Adar). Dyma nhw’n cyfri dros 7 miliwn o adar! Wnaethoch chi helpu? Os na, beth am ddechrau eleni er mwyn gallu helpu y flwyddyn nesaf? I weld y 10 aderyn mwyaf cyffredin, dilynwch y ddolen hon

Pa ysgolion sydd wedi gweld eu blodau cyntaf?

Mae Trellech Primary School yng Nghymru, ac Britannia Community Primary School yn Lloegr i gyd wedi anfon eu cofnodion blodau cyntaf. Da iawn a diolch yn fawr i’r ysgolion yma!

Dyma un o fy nghydweithwyr yng Nghaerdydd yn dangos y ffotograff yma i fi o gennin Pedr yn ei gardd. Allwch chi weld rhywbeth rhyfedd am y blodau? Mae’r llun ychydig yn aneglur ond wrth edrych yn ofalus gallwch chi weld bod gan rai o’r coesynnau ddau neu dri o flodau! Rhyfedd iawn. Ydych chi wedi gweld unrhyw blanhigion anarferol?

Diolch i Ysgol Gynradd SS Philip a James yr Eglwys yn Lloegr am anfon y ffotograff hwn o’u holl flodau hyfryd. Yn y trydydd ffotograff gallwch chi weld eu bod nhw hefyd wedi gweld blodau anarferol – wnaeth rhai o’r cennin Pedr ddim agor yn llawn. Mae hyn yn ddiddorol iawn, alwch chi feddwl am unrhyw reswm pam na fyddai’r blodau yn agor? Wnaeth hyn ddigwydd i’ch blodau chi?

Cot Cennin Pedr!

Ydych chi am weld llun doniol o ddyn yn gwisgo cennin Pedr? Dyma chi! James yw ei enw ac mae’n gwisgo siwt wedi’i gwneud o gennin Pedr i godi arian at elusen. Da iawn James!

Your comments, my answers:

Prof P: I had lots and lots of comments from Dallas Road Community Primary School so I thought I would put them all on the blog this week, thank-you all for sending me your messages! Congratulations to all of you, even if your flower did not grow, was stepped on, got broken or died, you are ALL Super Scientists! Prof P.

Dallas Road Community Primary School: 

I think it didn't open because the daffodil was hovering over it and so it didn't get enough sun and rain. :(

I think my daffodil was in the shade so it did not open.

Someone cut its head off

It didn't open because somebody stepped on it

It died

Someone broke the bud off

Mine did not open!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My Bulb disappeared

It was a bit floppy so we did not get chance to tie it up. But it is still open.

I am quiet sad my daffodils have not opened but they are growing so I will believe that soon they will and they are really tall.

My daffodil is growing very tall but it is a bit floppy.

My crocus is beautiful some of them are starting to die but still i'm happy because some are still growing and some have opened and some of them are fully beautiful i'm really happy about every crocus. My crocus's are quiet tall some are small as well

my crocus is really beautiful i have got another 3-4 crocuses opening i really enjoy seeing my plant grow.

My crocus has flowered well and is growing quite tall which is good and happy about it all.

I did not get a daffodil so it did not grow.

Daffodil has broke and I had to tie it up.

My plant head fell off. I haven't seen it since so I don't know if it has grown back.

My daffodil didnt open. I dont think mine had enough sunlight

Prof P: Culross Primary School sent me messages to tell me they had named their flowers, thanks Culross! Here are some of the names they gave their Daffodils and Crocuses: Danny, Dafty, Crocy, Abby, Croaky, Dave, Chris, Cassy, Ceeper, Bob, Jim.

Diolch yn fawr

Athro'r Ardd

 

On fieldwork in County Mayo

Postiwyd gan Jennifer Gallichan ar 2 Ebrill 2014

Six members of Natural Sciences staff are currently on fieldwork in Co. Mayo, Ireland. After attending the 2 day Porcupine Marine Natural History Conference at the Ryan Institute, National University of Ireland Galway they set off for Co. Mayo for 5 days of intertidal fieldwork. Their primary interests are in marine bristle worms (polychaetes), bivalve shells (molluscs) and seaweed.

After setting up a temporary laboratory the scientific team have spent the last two days visiting several shores in Clew Bay and Blacksod Bay — following in the footsteps of those who carried out the historic 'Clare Island Survey' in the early 1900s. Samples are being processed for both morphological and DNA work contributing to the Museum's collections and research programme. Many live animals and algae are being photographed. Today the team is setting off to Corraun, near Achill Island, north Clew Bay. They will be joined by Fiona Crouch of the Marine Biological Association UK, who has been extending her 'Shore Thing' community science programme to Ireland (as ShorTIE).

Further updates to come, but for up-to-date news follow us at https://twitter.com/CardiffCurator

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