Mind that artefact!

Case study .

Ever wonder how precious artefacts on display are kept
safe during an earthquake?

Museums and collectors around the world protect irreplaceable items a number of different ways. As a first line of defence against damage from seismic events, they use base isolation of building fabric, display plinths and statue bases. For individual objects though, it is important to mount and cushion them securely.

The team at Canterbury Museum wanted to find the best way to secure glass and ceramic objects during an earthquake. They decided to compare a highly tacky, pressure-sensitive adhesive (Rhoplex N-580 – widely used in New Zealand museums) against a commercially produced Quake Wax™, as well as traditional physical restraints.

After finding out Rhoplex N-580 was discontinued, they did extra research and added a water-soluble, acrylic adhesive (Lascaux 303HV) and Gudy Dot Tape to their testing list.

The team decided that shake table testing would produce the most reliable test data. They were familiar with Holmes Solutions from the pre-repair testing we did for the Scott Statue Project. They knew we had the facilities and knowledge to work with them on this delicate project.

They gave us a call and arranged to come to set up their tests on our full-scale shake table. It was an intricate set-up, well thought out, and thorough. The Canterbury Museum team did an amazing job. A bunch of our staff went out to watch the (fake) precious artefacts get shaken around!

“Initial queries to Holmes Solutions about this research project were met with helpful and supportive responses and a willingness to accommodate the needs of this research”.
– Emily Fryer, Canterbury Museum Conservator

Sarah’s team took the videos and results back to the office to analyse the performance of the different methods. They will present the findings to their peers knowing that they have real-life data to back it up.

We know research and computer simulations can only go so far; real-life data gives people confidence in their test results.


Please note: This testing was for specific items under specific conditions. We do not endorse the brands mentioned and suggest doing your own testing to find what works for you.

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