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Friday, June 1 • 3:30pm - 4:00pm
15. (Textiles) Frass-tacular!: Textile Conservation Techniques Adapted to the Stabilization of Moth-Damaged Aircraft Fabric

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Historic WWII bombers have not typically been the subject of innovative textile conservation treatments. However, a unique opportunity arose while the National Air and Space Museum (NASM) was evaluating 50 fabric panels used to insulate the Museum’s Martin B-26 Marauder, better known as Flak-Bait. This particular aircraft is most noteworthy for having flown over 200 successful missions during WWII and is one of the most authentic and historic aircraft in existence. The overall preservation goals for this aircraft are to stabilize as much original material as possible, reverse previous restoration efforts, and celebrate historic battle damage. The fabric panels that line the interior of Flak-Bait are only found in the front, or nose section of the aircraft. The majority of the panels are constructed from dyed fulled wool fabric, lined on the reverse with a thick layer of undyed cotton batting. This fabric structure is machine-sewn around a support border of perforated aluminum strips. Cadmium plated steel buttons are fed through the perforations in the aluminum boarder strips thereby securing the panels to the aircraft’s interior walls. The nose section of Flak Bait had been on display for forty years during which time the insulating fabric panels suffered a severe webbing clothes moth infestation, followed by a heavy-handed restoration to hide the moth damage. This earlier restoration effort utilized large adhesive-applied fabric patches to cover losses from moth damage that were then spray painted in-situ to match the surrounding fabric. Other condition issues affecting the textiles include embedded corrosion, light damage, accumulated frass, and areas of additional moth damage resulting in structural instability. This poster will serve as a case study of how textile conservation techniques were used to stabilize and aesthetically re-integrate original interior fabric panels that would otherwise have been completely replaced. The techniques employed include experimentation with rigid gels and C02 for adhesive reduction, needle- and wet-felted loss compensation, solvent cleaning for overpaint reduction and dry cleaning methods to remove frass. This poster will also discuss how the treatment decision-making process was influenced by a comprehensive understanding of these composite objects. The panels’ history, condition, range of materials and the proposed display environment influenced the treatment decisions.

avatar for Meghann Kozak

Meghann Kozak

Engen Preprogram Conservation Fellow, National Air and Space Museum (NASM)
Meghann Kozak has an individualized B.A. concentrating in Chemistry, Critical Art Theory, Studio Art, and Art History with a minor in French Language from New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study. Since receiving her degree, Kozak has been continuously gaining... Read More →

avatar for Lauren Horelick

Lauren Horelick

Object Conservator, National Air and Space Museum
Lauren Horelick has a BFA in Sculpture from the San Francisco Art Institute, a BA in art conservation and anthropology from the University of Delaware, and an MA in archaeological and ethnographic conservation from University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA)/Getty Conservation... Read More →

Friday June 1, 2018 3:30pm - 4:00pm MDT
Texas Ballroom (Foyer outside Ballrooms - Poster Session) Marriott Marquis Houston