Amanita muscaria (fly agaric)
Image credit: Michael Maggs
Our damp English autumn is a time for fungi foragers, for mushrooms, for spectacular toadstools like this, and of course for mould. Yesterday I remembered too late that I’d left my smart new gardening gloves in the potting shed at the end of the summer. When I went to rescue them they’d changed colour from yellow to soft powdery grey. It was a simple matter to brush off the mildew, taking care not to inhale the dust, for more than 100,000 types of mould exist and many of them are extremely harmful to humans.
Fairlynch is lucky enough to have its own expert in such matters in the person of volunteer Trevor Waddington OBE who joined the Museum as a Trustee earlier this year. A retired Royal Navy engineer officer, he ran an antique clocks conservation-restoration business in Wiltshire before moving to Budleigh Salterton in 2012. Conservation in museums is a complex issue, he says. “A satisfactory temperature for humans is not the same for exhibits.”
The newly installed dehumidifier in Fairlynch Museum's Exhibition Room is a Mitsubishi MJ E14EG E1. This particular model was chosen on the recommendation of Helena Jaeschke, Conservation Development Officer at Exeter's Royal Albert Memorial Museum
Above: The logo of the Skinners' Company Lady Neville Charity
Using dehumidifiers to prevent high relative humidity is one of the most important ways of preserving artefacts for future generations and Fairlynch now has three of these useful gadgets located in different parts of the Museum thanks to a grant of £950 from the Lady Neville Charity administered by the Skinners’ Company.
For more information about the Skinners' Company click on http://www.skinnershall.co.uk/