VA7019 - Conservation Cleaning

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What will I learn on this module?

On this module you will learn the appropriate approaches to cleaning the types of materials commonly found in museums and galleries. You will learn to consider the characteristics of the materials, their condition as well as their vulnerability when selecting cleaning materials and techniques appropriate for conservation cleaning. You will learn about historic approaches to cleaning as well as modern cleaning products and their potential contribution to the cleaning process. In this module we consider what constitutes dirt as well as the other products that are found as surface deposits. In some instances it is a corrosion product, which is sometimes valued and retained, as with bronze and at other times not valued and removed, as with silver tarnish. You will learn about what you are removing and whether it should be removed or retained. Decisions regarding what to remove and what to retain can be linked to the function and value of the piece in the collection as well as an aesthetic sense of beauty, such as the patina of a wood or the gleam of pewter. Cleaning is a challenging subject not least because many people feel that they already know how to do it. Consequently in order to develop an appropriate approach we often need to un-learn as well as learn. This module presents cleaning in a very new light that requires you to re-consider what you think you know about cleaning and guides you to understand how it should be carried out in museum collections.

How will I learn on this module?

In keeping with the ethos of the programme you will learn through the completion of the assignments. Each week you will be provided with an audio visual demonstration of approaches that can be taken to cleaning a specific material such as paper, leather, wood and metal. Each week you are provided with an artefact made from the same type of material, for which you need to develop a cleaning strategy together with the rationale for your approach. This module further develops knowledge and learning from previous modules and you are expected to bring that learning into your recommended strategies. To make this easier we provide a link to the relevant sections. Further support and guidance can be found in the National Trust Manual of Housekeeping, which all students should consult whether through a library loan or by purchasing their own copy. You need to upload the cleaning strategy to your cleaning blog at the end of each week for which you will receive feedback. You are also required to contribute to the discussion boards, which provide an opportunity for the student group to discuss things just as you would were you on campus. The summative assignment requires you to conduct wider research into conservation cleaning by looking at the guidance provided by other institutions and individuals and then reflect on your original strategies. This means you need to consider whether you would alter any of your recommendations and if so how and why. As a result of this module you will not only have learnt a lot about the conservation cleaning of a range of materials you will also have started to become a good critical thinker and reflective practitioner. These attributes will be further developed in the workplaced learning module

How will I be supported academically on this module?

When you have uploaded a cleaning strategy to your cleaning blog you will receive formative feedback within a few days. This will provide guidance on additional aspects that might have been considered as well as any areas that might need to be re-considered. This will enable you to improve the subsequent strategies so that by the end of the semester you have a clear, strong understanding of what is required and why it is relevant. This combined with wider research enables you to reflect on the series of cleaning strategies that you have developed for the summative assignment and consider whether you would change any of your recommendations and provide a rationale for any changes. The development of reflective practice plays an important role in the life-long learning that is part of professional practice. Once you have uploaded the assignment to the e Learning Portal (elp) you will receive feedback within the timescale required by the university guidelines. All feedback is designed as a constructive evaluation of your performance aimed at developing your knowledge and understanding and contributing to subsequent modules as well as professional practice.

You are also required to continue the development of your area of personal research during this module using the personal development plan (PDP) set up in a blog in VA 7017. Whenever you upload an entry to your PDP you inform your tutor by e mail so that they can provide feedback and this allows you to develop your personal research as appropriate for you.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at: http://readinglists.northumbria.ac.uk
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team – http://library.northumbria.ac.uk/readinglists)

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding (K&U):
1. Understand the relevance of the history, materials, creation, deterioration, vulnerability as well as the physical and chemical characteristics of items/collections of movable cultural heritage to their care, preventive conservation and interpretation
2. Understand, develop and implement appropriate strategies, policies and procedures for the care and preventive conservation of items/collections of movable cultural heritage


Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
3. The ability to use critical thinking and reflective practice in an independent pro-active manner that draws upon and synthesises a wide range of knowledge and understanding in order to develop and implement appropriate strategies for the care and preventive conservation of items/collections of movable cultural heritage
4. Demonstrate the ability to take responsibility for your own learning by: selecting the knowledge required to complete assignments from resources available on the elp; identifying appropriate additional resources of knowledge; working on independent and group projects; considering the views of tutors and peers in the development or enhancement of your own work; making constructive use of feedback; determining the focus for the dissertation; shaping their assignments; securing the placement offer and assignment topic and identifying your own learning needs

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
5. Demonstrate enthusiasm, curiosity, integrity, ethical and professional awareness in all aspects of work, communication and engagement with others

How will I be assessed?

Formative feedback is provided weekly in response to your cleaning strategies. Additional formative feedback is provided via e mail in response to any queries that you might have.

An online blog is used to provide formative feedback on the development of your personal research as and when required by you during the semester.

The summative assignment requires you to reflect critically on the cleaning strategies that you developed and submitted each week and consider in the light of wider research whether you would do things differently together with the rational for any changes. The assignment should be written within a 5000 word count.

Electronic submission and swift high quality feedback is provided for both formative and summative assignments. According to the university guidelines

Module Learning Outcomes
K&U):1,2
(IPSA):1,2
(PVA):1

Pre-requisite(s)

VA0717or equivalent experience

Co-requisite(s)

none

Module abstract

This innovative module helps you develop appropriate approaches to the conservation cleaning of a range of materials found in collections. We provide you with a video of how materials can be cleaned and in consultation with the National Trust Manual for Housekeeping you must develop a cleaning strategy for an artefact on the elp. You will learn to consider the characteristics, condition, vulnerability and aesthetic of the artefact when selecting the materials and techniques appropriate for conservation cleaning. You will learn about historic approaches to cleaning as well as modern cleaning products and their appropriateness. In this module we consider what constitutes dirt as well as other products that are found as surface deposits. This module presents cleaning in a very new light that requires you to re-consider what you think you know about cleaning and guides you to understand how it should be carried out in museum collections.

What will I learn on this module?

On this module you will learn the appropriate approaches to cleaning the types of materials commonly found in museums and galleries. You will learn to consider the characteristics of the materials, their condition as well as their vulnerability when selecting cleaning materials and techniques appropriate for conservation cleaning. You will learn about historic approaches to cleaning as well as modern cleaning products and their potential contribution to the cleaning process. In this module we consider what constitutes dirt as well as the other products that are found as surface deposits. In some instances it is a corrosion product, which is sometimes valued and retained, as with bronze and at other times not valued and removed, as with silver tarnish. You will learn about what you are removing and whether it should be removed or retained. Decisions regarding what to remove and what to retain can be linked to the function and value of the piece in the collection as well as an aesthetic sense of beauty, such as the patina of a wood or the gleam of pewter. Cleaning is a challenging subject not least because many people feel that they already know how to do it. Consequently in order to develop an appropriate approach we often need to un-learn as well as learn. This module presents cleaning in a very new light that requires you to re-consider what you think you know about cleaning and guides you to understand how it should be carried out in museum collections.

Course info

Credits 30

Level of Study Postgraduate

Mode of Study 1 year full-time by distance learning
1 other options available

Department Arts

Location Burt Hall, Newcastle City Campus

City Newcastle

Start September 2019

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