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ERIC Number: EJ1077401
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Jun
Pages: 11
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1449-6313
The Application of Chemistry to Conserve Cultural Heritage
MacLeod, Ian D.
Teaching Science, v61 n2 p52-62 Jun 2015
During the past 50 years the amount of chemistry applied to the preservation of all sorts of materials, from wood, to ceramics, glass and metallic objects has increased dramatically as materials conservation laboratories became established around the world. In Australia, the finding of a series of historic shipwrecks of ships from the Dutch Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie (VOC) that operated in the 17th and 18th centuries catalysed activities in the Western Australian Museum. Since many of the forms of decay were peculiar to the well oxygenated, warm sub-tropical waters of Western Australia, new methods had to be developed to successfully stabilise these historic objects. Having developed research skills in producing new methods to stabilise shipwreck materials, the museum work program was extended to include Aboriginal rock art sites and historical objects of value to the WA community. Part of the success of the WA Museum in managing these and related issues is summarised in the three case histories highlighted in this article which reflect the diversity of cultural experiences found in this state. Dr Ian D MacLeod is an electrochemist who has pioneered in-situ conservation and corrosion studies on historic shipwrecks off the Western Australian coast. In this article, he provides an overview of his fascinating work in preserving some of Australia's rich cultural heritage through applied chemistry.
Australian Science Teachers Association. P.O. Box 334, Deakin West, ACT 2600, Australia. Tel: +61-02-6282-9377; Fax: +61-02-6282-9477; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A