Bust-A-Move: Cleaning Classic Plaster Casts overview image

Bust-A-Move: Cleaning Classic Plaster Casts

  • Post Date4/5/2017
  • AuthorJohn Holton
  • Reading Time2 minute read

The Museum recently acquired 13 plaster cast busts (1982.10.0001, 1982.10.0003, 2017.02.0001-0011) from the University’s Classics Library. Many of the busts, including those of Grecian physician Hippocrates and Roman statesman/general/architect Marcus Agrippa, are part of the University’s founding collection of plaster casts collected by President John Milton Gregory in 1874.

  • Upon arrival, all of the casts were cleaned by Collections staff members.
    Upon arrival, all of the casts were cleaned by Collections staff members.
  • all of the casts were cleaned by Collections staff members.
  • Student using a dry brush to remove any existing dust and debris from the bust
    Graduate Student Xuxa Rodriguez uses a dry brush to remove any existing dust and debris from the bust of Grecian tragic playwright Euripides (2017.02.0004).
  • removes flaking paint from the bust of a Young Greek Girl
    Collections Manager Christa Deacy-Quinn carefully removes flaking paint from the bust of a Young Greek Girl (2017.02.0010). All busts had been painted over the years and flaking has occurred due to environmental fluctuations such as temperature, humidity, and light levels. It is important to remove the paint flaking since it can create small pockets where dust can settle and stain the original plaster underneath.
  • intern using a moist sponge to clean any remaining dust/dirt from the surface of the bust
    Once the plaster is brushed, Graduate Intern Jon William Sweitzer-Lamme uses a moist sponge to gently clean any remaining dust/dirt from the surface of the bust of French Roman Catholic archbishop/writer Francois Fenelon (2017.02.0002).
  • before and after cleaning
    Cleaning only the left side of the bust of Augustus Caesar (2017.02.0009) shows a dramatic change in color once dirt is removed from the plaster surface.
  • Bust of young greek girl before and after cleaning
    The bust of Young Greek Girl (2017.02.0010) before and after cleaning.

Now fully cleaned, these plaster busts are ready for long-term preservation, future study and exhibition.