Anti-aging treatment for cultural assets with elastomer components

Funded through the KUR – Programme for the Conservation of Moveable Cultural Assets

Elastomers, such as rubber, have played an integral part in daily life, the art world, technology and other areas since the 19th century. They possess a diverse array of characteristics which make them useful in household goods, clothing, toys, technical and medical instruments and artworks. In fact, many technical innovations would have been inconceivable without rubber.
However, these elastomer-based materials represent a major problem for the preservation of artistic and cultural assets in museums and collections. Often they begin to deform or disintegrate in a relatively short time. As it is, conserving rubber is not easy, but in combination with other materials which chemically react with elastomers, it has proven especially difficult.
On the basis of scientific investigation and testing, this KUR project developed methods of treatment and conservation to safeguard a variety of culturally and technical-historically important objects with components of varying elastomer content for the long term. The conservation measures and treatment methods were initially applied to historic mining rescue apparatus from the collection at the German Mining Museum in Bochum as well as pieces in the collection at the Filmmuseum Potsdam. The project also included works of medical technology, everyday culture, modern art and outdoor displays from other museums.

Project administrator:
DMT-LB German Mining Museum, Bochum

Cooperative partners:
Filmmuseum Potsdam
University of Applied Sciences, Berlin
Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Dept. Of Medical Ethics and History of Medicine
German Historical Museum, Berlin
Museum of Work, Hamburg
State Capital of Düsseldorf, Conservation Centre
Rathgen Research Laboratory, Berlin State Museums, Stiftung Preussischer Kulturbesitz
German Museum of Technology, Berlin


Dr. Michael Ganzelewski

Deutsches Bergbau-Museum Bochum der DMT-LB

Am Bergbaumuseum 28

44791 Bochum

Tel.: +49 (0)234 5877129 (external link, opens in a new window)