Riverside Museum

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Conservation tools: the conservator

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Working as a conservator in a transport museum is not always glamorous. No-one mentioned a head for heights, the small spaces and gymnastic abilities at interview!

Not all our objects can be brought to a table and worked upon in a laboratory. Cleaning the firebox in the Highland Railway 103 “Jones Goods” locomotive is one example of having to squeeze into spaces you wouldn’t normally want to go.

All the soot, coal, dirt and debris needs to be removed from inside the firebox so that the condition of the interior can be inspected. Corrosion of the metal is the main thing we are looking for and seeking to stop. There’s no point having the loco bright and shiny on the outside if it’s corroding from the inside.

Working at heights is a must when it comes to the trams, buses and locos, but also some of the other objects heading for Riverside Museum. You can see examples of this in the slideshow below – conservator Gretal Evans has to use platform ladders to clean a photographic enlarger, Andi Howe uses a cherry picker to access the top of the tram.

Getting under, inside, on and around objects, and, having to sport the appropriate protective clothing when dealing with dust, dirt, grease, oil, chemicals and pesticides is all part of the job. And probably why we love it!

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From Scottish Glens to the South African Veldt.
Highland Railway locomotive 103 moved onto a lorry.

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Written by Rebecca Jackson

September 9, 2010 at 8:39 pm

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