Demystifying Silica Gel for Effective Microclimates

Did you know that the internal surface area of a teaspoon of silica gel beads is equivalent to that of a football field? This amazing property makes silica gel a relatively low-cost method for protecting collections on display and in storage from inappropriate or fluctuating environments. But not all silica gel is created equal.

  • Are you curious as to why silica from preservation vendors is more expensive than other desiccants or gel from commercial vendors?
  • Have you found loose silica beads or cartridges and pondered why it no longer seems to be “working”?
  • Interested in guidance on how much to use for your application?

Whether it comes in sachets, cartridges or loose beads, the manner in which it is installed and cared for will greatly affect its efficacy. This webinar will focus on understanding the different types of gel, why it matters which you use, and how to calculate appropriate amounts for use in a vitrine or storage cabinet. The basics of appropriate preservation environments, creating a safe microclimate and how to monitor the environment within will be touched on.
Rachael Perkins Arenstein is a founding partner in A.M. Art Conservation, LLC a NY-based private practice with specializations in object conservation and preventive care. She has worked as a conservator at the Bible Lands Museum Jerusalem, Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, the American Museum of Natural History, and institutional and private clients both nationally and internationally where she has been responsible for the preservation of collections, exhibit conservation and environmental monitoring. She also worked for Art Preservation Services in NYC conditioning silica gel and calibrating equipment for use in microclimates. Rachael’s degree in art conservation is from the University of London. She is a Professional Associate in the American Institute for Conservation (AIC) and active in several professional organizations including positions as the E-editor for the AIC and the Chair of the Integrated Pest Management Working Group. She thinks tinkering with hygrometers is fun!

Recorded: Tuesday, January 22,2019
Duration: 1 Hour 28 minutes



Demystifying Silica Gel Power Point Slides


Demystifying Silica Gel Webinar Annotated PowerPoint


Demystifying Silica Gel Handout


Comparisons Performance and Cost of Silica Gels (2019)


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