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Caring for Fiberglass


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    • #134254
      Jess Miller-Camp

      Hi all,
      I recently started working in a small museum and the biggest attraction in our displays is a partial proboscidean fossil mounted inside a fiberglass life reconstruction. The “flesh” is the type of fiberglass that’s a continuous, solid mass, while the “fur” is the fuzzy stuff that’s used for building insulation.
      It’s obviously something that I want to keep in good repair, but finding information on caring for fiberglass has proven to be difficult. I keep getting websites telling me how to make my boats shiny or to vacuum other collections objects through thin fiberglass sheets. I had some luck with general upkeep of store mannequins, but those guidelines aren’t made with longterm preservation in mind and don’t consider insulation-type fiberglass.
      If any of you have general information to give me, I would much appreciate it. I’m also specifically curious about the effects of light, as the display is very shadowy and I’d like to mount lights in there if they won’t be too damaging.

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    • #134269
      Sara Andrews

      Hi Jess,

      If you aren’t already on there I would highly suggest asking this question on the Conservation DistList – you can sign up here:

      Instructions for submitting something to this can be found here – but you must register first:

      I see many discussions there on preserving more unusual objects (human and and skin are one the more memorable recent items) – but also many other types of more unique museum items.

      If anyone does know – you can probably find them there.

      Sara Andrews
      Library Preservation Specialist
      Wisconsin Historical Society

    • #134279
      Maggie Wessling

      Hi Jess,
      Fiberglass is outside my area of conservation expertise, but I was able to ask my colleagues for some suggestions on the topic. I learned that fiberglass is a trade name and the generic term is “glass reinforced plastic” or “GRP”, which may change your general search results.

      You can read about the conservation of several outdoor GRP sculptures at the Getty here:

      Most of the research I found pertains to outdoor GRP, and I did not find anything relating to insulation material. I have a few more people to follow-up with, so hopefully I can get some more specific information for you. I would also recommend posting the Conservation Dist List.


    • #134342
      Jess Miller-Camp

      Thanks, both! I’ll follow up on the Dist List.

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