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Bol. R. Soc. Esp. Hist. Nat. 2, 2015


Artículos de investigación

El Gabinete de Historia Natural Salvador: intervenciones de conservación preventiva y curativa e inventario preliminar


The Salvador Natural History Cabinet: preventive and curative conservation and preliminary inventory

Marta Pérez, Olga Muñoz, Natalia Hervás, Neus Ibáñez, Josep Aurell-Garrido y Eulàlia Garcia-Franquesa

Bol. R. Soc. Esp. Hist. Nat. 2: 87-99, 2015

Resumen

En el presente artículo se muestran los resultados de las intervenciones de conservación-restauración e inventariado, llevadas a cabo por un equipo interdisciplinar de técnicos del Museu de Ciències Naturals de Barcelona (MCNB) y el Institut Botànic de Barcelona (IBB) sobre las piezas del Gabinete de Historia Natural Salvador. El conjunto constituyó el primer Gabinete de Historia Natural de Barcelona. Su punto fuerte es el herbario, el más antiguo (s. XVII-XVIII) y mejor documentado de España, al que hay que añadir colecciones de Naturalia y Artificialia.

Las intervenciones de conservación preventiva y curativa consistieron en la substitución de los embalajes deteriorados, la adecuación de los sistemas de presentación y la restauración de algunas piezas. El inventario se centró principalmente en la colección de zoología, geología y paleontología, puesto que la mayoría de herbarios y la biblioteca ya se hallaban catalogados.

Los criterios y la metodología a seguir en los procesos de conservación preventiva, se ciñeron a los establecidos en los protocolos de trabajo del MCNB. Para los tratamientos de restauración, estos se tomaron directamente de las distintas organizaciones internacionales que regulan la disciplina. El inventario se llevó a cabo a partir de una guía de documentación específica para esta colección, de acuerdo con las pautas de documentación del MCNB y del IBB, y el registro se incorporó a una base de datos informatizada.

Los resultados de las intervenciones de conservación fueron óptimos, alcanzándose los objetivos marcados inicialmente: mejorar las condiciones de las piezas, facilitar su manipulación y aumentar su legibilidad. Por último, el inventario permitirá la correcta gestión de la colección.

Palabras clave: Conservación preventiva. Conservación curativa. Restauración, Ciencias naturales. Colecciones históricas. Embalaje permanente. Adecuación. Limpieza. Consolidación. Reintegración, Documentación. Inventario

Abstract

This article details the results of conservation and inventory interventions on pieces of the Salvador Natural History Cabinet exhibited at the Institut Botànic de Barcelona (IBB) (Figure 1). The work was carried out by an interdisciplinary team of conservators and curators from the Museu de Ciències Naturals de Barcelona Barcelona (MCNB) and the Institut Botànic de Barcelona (IBB). The cabinet, dated from the early 17th century, is considered to be the oldest collection of natural history in Catalonia and was the first museum open to the public in Barcelona. This collection of natural history curiosities is made up of an exceptional variety of pieces including documents, taxidermy specimens, shells, fossils, medicines, seeds, and glass jars containing various substances. These objects are made up of several materials that have deteriorated to varying degrees over time (Figs. 2 to 4).

One of the objectives of the work was to improve the conservation measures of the cabinet in order to guarantee the long-term preservation of the pieces. Both preventive and curative conservation interventions were carried out. These interventions consisted of replacing deteriorated packaging for storage and improving the suitability of systems used to display the pieces. Some of the pieces were also restored. Other objective was to do the inventory of the whole collection, in order to improve its management. The criteria and methodology used during the process of preventive conservation were established by the working protocols of the MCNB. The criteria can be summarized as follows: economization of space and materials, accessibility, homogeneity, insulation, visibility, compatibility, quality, durability, and safety. The process consisted of substituting and improving the systems used to display objects included in the cabinet as well as the packaging used to store them. (Figs. 5 to 9).

Regarding treatments used during the curative conservation, the criteria and methodology were taken directly from various international regulatory organizations (AIC, 1994; ECCO, 2002; ICOM, 1984; IPCE, 1996). The established criteria can be summarized by the following guidelines: minimal intervention, integrity of the original, reversibility, compatibility, quality and durability of the materials and techniques employed, and finally, the documentation and justification of the processes. Treatments included cleaning, fixing and consolidation, as well as chromatic and volumetric reintegration.

The inventory was conducted from a guide to specific documentation for this collection, in accordance with the guidelines and documentation MCNB and IBB policy, and entered in a computerized database. Optimal results were achieved after both types of conservation interventions and also in the inventory works. The deteriorated packaging (3.200 items or lots) was replaced. Custom packaging was performed for 931 objects and 51 pieces were restored. Examples demonstrating these results can be observed in Figs. 10 to 14. At present, herbarium represents 66% of the collection (4,850 registration units (ru)). The rest (3,200 r. u.) are mainly malacological specimens (54 %, 1,322 ru) (Fig. 15). The presence of handwritten labels in Salvador collection is noted, but not in all instances and not in the same proportions as the nature of the material. (Fig. 16).

All the interventions conducted by the MCNB and IBB achieved the initial aims: improve the conditions of conservation of the objects contained in the Salvador Natural History Cabinet and to upgrade its management. Furthermore, due to the conservation actions, objects can be manipulated and studied more easily and they are now more readable and accessible to the public. However, in order to guarantee the long-term conservation of the collections, environmental factors such as relative humidity, temperature, and illumination must be regulated (PAINE, C. 1992, 2004). Soon, the Cabinet Salvador and its history will be the focus of the temporary exhibition “Salvadoriana”, which will take place from 2014 to 2016 in the IBB. Also the content of the database will be published online and so accessible to the scientific community and the general public.

Keywords: Preventive conservation, Curative conservation. Old Natural History collections. Packing for storage. Cleaning. Consolidation. Reintegration. Documentation. Inventor





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(c) Real Sociedad Española de Historia Natural. Facultades de Biología y Geología. Universidad Complutense de Madrid. 28040-Madrid - e-mail: rsehno@bio.ucm.es