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Behind the Scenes in Conservation: A Spooky Story from Textile Conservation

by Conservation

10/29/2020

CAMConservation , behind , Halloween , woman in haori , 20th century , japan , silk crepe , gofun , glass eyes , Gift of Mrs. Charles Fleischmann and Mrs. Julius Fleischmann

As we prepare for Halloween this week, here’s a scary story from textile conservation! Usually our Japanese dolls that have original wooden boxes are stored apart from the box because the box isn’t the safest environment for their long-term preservation: materials like wood acid and degrading paint can be harmful in close contact with delicate silk costumes and other materials.

Someone was looking for another object in storage last week and discovered this lady still in her box, swathed in some plastic sheeting, and alerted conservation. It’s enough to give a conservator shivers of horror. The Japanese doll (and her box) have come to conservation to be outfitted with a new, more chemically-sensitive storage environment. Both box and doll will be returned to storage after some improvements to help protect the doll.