Museum Monday Must-Haves: Dusting Brushes

Many objects are displayed in the open due to their size or preferred presentation. Occasional accumulation of dust is inevitable. So, how do you remove it?

The days of dust rags and feather dusters in museum settings *should* be over. For many art objects, low cost goat hair hake brushes from an art supplier are preferable. These brushes should be used in tandem with a HEPA (high efficiency particulate absorption) vacuum so that the dust is just not re-circulated back onto the object, or into your airways.

Every conservator has their favorite brush. Here are a few of my go-to brushes. Work with a conservator (find one at the American Institute for Conservation website) to establish an appropriate maintenance plan for collections on open display.

Hake brushes come in varying widths. Dickblick.com

A Yachiyo Japanese cosmetic brush has very soft bristles and is good for loosely attached pigmented surfaces. Hakuhodousa.com.

 

Different styles of brushes are used for different surfaces. The long fluffy bristles of these brushes and short handles are often good for difficult to reach surfaces.

Different styles of brushes are used for different surfaces. The long fluffy bristles of these brushes and short handles are often good for difficult to reach surfaces.

 

About Becky Fifield

Becky Fifield is a cultural heritage professional with 25 years experience in institutions large and small. She is currently Head of Collection Management for the Special Collections of the New York Public Library. An advocate for preventive conservation, Ms. Fifield is a Professional Associate of the American Institute for Conservation, Chair of the AIC Collection Care Network, and former Chair of Alliance for Response NYC. She is also a scholar of 18th century female unfree labor and dress. There's a bit of pun in the title The Still Room, delineating a quiet space brimming with the ingredients of memory, where consideration, analysis, and wordcraft can take place. Ms. Fifield’s interests include museum practice, dress history, historic preservation, transit, social and women’s history, food, current events, geneaology, roadtrips, and considerations on general sense of place. Becky and her husband, Dr. V, live in the Hudson Valley.