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YCMI Staff visit Yale’s new IPCH

A field trip to Yale's Institute for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage
July 10, 2015
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Carol Snow and Kelly Hill examine the museum’s silver keyed bugle by E. G. Wright, Boston, 1853.

Last week, members of the Collection staff travelled to Yale’s West Campus to tour the brand new Institute for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage. Interns Katrin Endrikat and Kelly Hill, as well as student assistant Daniel Fears, met with Carol Snow, Deputy Chief Conservator and the Alan J. Dworsky Senior Conservator of Objects, to discuss strategies relating to the preservation of brass instruments in our collection.

 

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The IPCH Lab. Pictured here, one of our keyed bugles (copper and brass) and one of our ophicleides (badly tarnished), both from the 19th century.

Three examples of metal instruments accompanied us to the IPCH: a keyed bugle made of copper and brass, a keyed bugle made of silver, and an ophicleide so incredibly tarnished that its metallic medium is unknown. As Carol examined the instruments, she offered recommendations for preserving them, weighing the pros and cons of using lacquers, polishes, and tarnish-preventing cloths. With regard to the ophicleide, we learned that the Technical Studies Lab is equipped with the technology of x-ray fluorescence in which elemental analysis can determine the composition of the tarnished material.

At one point, we were joined by Ian McClure, the Susan Morse Hilles Chief Conservator, who is a violin maker by avocation. He kindly examined one of the baroque violin replicas from our circulating collection and offered advice on how to maintain the state of the instrument while it is being lent to students for use in Yale School of Music activities.

Having the opportunity to visit such impressive, state-of-the-art facilities was a treat, and we look forward to more shared experiences with the IPCH staff in future.

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