We had a satisfying project this week in the conservation lab. A large marble statue was quite dirty and needed to be cleaned before it could be put out on exhibit in the new Ancient Worlds galleries.
To clean this statue we used a steam cleaner. The steam cleaner used both water vapor and heated water to remove dirt and old discoloured coating material from the statue.
Cleaning started at the top and then continually moved downward so that the dirt removed from the surface always washed away from areas that were already clean. On this statue the dirt lifted fairly easily which left a markedly cleaner surface, something that does not always happen in conservation cleaning but which makes for a satisfying finish.
The steam cleaned statue