Conservation in Australia, Past Present and Future: Preprints from the AICCM National Conference, 19 – 21 October 2011 Canberra


On two occasions over the last 18 months the National Library of Australia has asked Bruce Ford to carry out lightfastness testing of selected collection material that had been chosen for exhibition in the Library’s new Treasures Gallery. Due to the limited nature funds and available time, only material which was considered potentially high-risk was selected for testing. This included highly significant, mostly original, historic watercolors which had had little or no exhibition history, modern material with known problematic lightfastness such as highlighter pen, and some Priority 1 materials of unknown sensitivity which were desired for permanent exhibition.

Testing revealed that indeed some of the selected materials were highly susceptible to light damage, so much so that even just one iteration of 4 months under exhibition lighting conditions would have caused noticeable fading. Testing allowed the Library to make informed decisions about permissible exhibition length for individual high priority items, and also indirectly led to the formulation of an illumination policy that defined for the first time the period of time in which an objects is allowed to suffer on ‘Just Noticeable Fade’.

2011 AICCM National Conference, Canberra
Paper author:
Susanne Wullen