Blog

Artefact Conservators at work

By: Dr Lynda Kelly, Category: At The Museum, Date: 03 Jun 2011

What are our Conservation staff up to this week?

Crocodile case

 © Australian Museum

Conservators use a range of techniques to preserve our collection items for present and future generations. Our Conservators are hard at work carrying out specialised repairs and restorations on one of our oldest specimens’ on display.

Part of their work involves hands on repairs and restorations like these. They carefully inspect each object, recording the condition of the object and any work they carry out. They blend knowledge of chemistry, art, and craft skills to ensure our heritage items are well looked after.

The large Croc had some damage that needed to be repaired. This specimen is over 100 years old, so some damage is expected from general aging. Keep reading to find out what our Conservators found and how they dealt with the issues.

The Croc was of course a bit dusty!

  • Careful brushing of the specimen with fine brushes and special vacuum cleaners to stop the dust falling back onto the specimen

The tip of the tail had a small section missing, exposing the metal wire armature. All the stuffing in that area was missing as well.

  • A special tissue paper and paste was used to carefully remodel the missing area. This section will be painted to closely match the original skin

Some large scales along the bottom of the Crocs flanks were missing, leaving shallow rectangular gaps.

  • These were filled, again using layers of tissue paper and paste, and will be painted to match the skin.

The front left limb (closest to the wall) had broken fingers and claws

  • These will be repaired using injected glues and realigned.

There is a small chip on the nose of the Croc

  • This will be filled with putty and painted to match the rest of the head.

More soon!