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Behind Scenes in Conservation: Baby Bonnet

by Conservation

11/10/2016

behind the scenes , conservation , textile conservation , babybonnet , CAM

 

Behind the Scenes in textile conservation:  This pair of pictures shows a linen baby’s bonnet before and after wet-cleaning treatment.  The bonnet came from a box of linen items dating to around 1900 “to be considered” by the curator, who will make a decision if this piece should be added to Cincinnati Art Museum’s collection or passed on for another possible collector.  An item’s condition can be an important factor in the decision whether or not to add (or “accession”) it, but this bonnet arrived yellowed, stained and crushed (which you can see on the left).  Could it be improved enough that it would be a good addition to CAM’s collection?  To find out, it was washed in a shallow tray with conservation detergent and deionized water and underwent a gentle bleaching process before being reshaped, dried, and pressed with a heated spatula.  Washing and reshaping not only improve its visual appeal, but also its long-term stability by removing dirt and stains that can destroy fibers and unwanted creases that can become permanent or tear along point of stress.  Cleaned, the bonnet’s long-term stability and its chances of becoming a museum object are improved. 

Image Credit: Assorted Linen Nightcaps, Linen, Considered Item, 93/94.111:88a.