The Sound Exposure of Artworks During Transport

By Dr Kerstin Kracht 

When discussing stress impact on paintings caused by vibration and shock during transport, structure-borne noise is usually considered. However, only very few research projects pay attention to the effects of sound exposure on art and museum collections. 

The only means of protecting these objects from exposure to structure and airborne sound during transport is their immediate packaging and shipping crates. In the recent past, tools such as the TURTLE® T+ holding system have been successfully developed to disconnect paintings from the structure-borne sound of transport crates. However, here we focus on the excitation of paintings due to airborne sound during transport and the resulting risk of possible damage by considering the question, “How does airborne sound affect works of art?” 

The results of sound measurements in four different crates, following standard procedures for the measurement of sound insulation in buildings, are presented  HERE . Since the 1980s research investigating the effects of shock and vibrations on paintings and three-dimensional objects of museum collections has developed considerably, particularly taking off following innovations in measurement technology in the mid-2000s which enabled researchers to visualise the effects of vibrations on canvases with a high-resolution technique. This technique opened the door to exciting possibilities in the development of vibration-minimizing solutions for the transport, display, and storage of artworks. The research presented on the poster  shows case studies with experimental investigations and computational modelling in a bid to answer this question. 

Read this article in News in Conservation here

Dr Kerstin Kracht is a Vibration Technology and Continuum Mechanics Engineer and has been applying and sharing her expertise in vibration and shock prevention in the field of art and cultural heritage preservation for over fifteen years.  Kerstin studied Physical Engineering and completed her PhD at the Technische Universität Berlin in 2011 with an investigation into the vibration behaviour of oil paintings depending on their age. From 2020 to 2022 she held positions as guest professor for the Mechanics of Historical Artistic Artworks at the TU Berlin as well as at Bremen University, Germany. Here she lectured mixed groups of conservation and engineering students, whose aim was to develop solutions for the preservation of objects in museums together. In addition, Kerstin has been working since 2017 as a consultant on numerous high-profile projects in her capacity as one of the leading experts in designing vibration-reducing and shock-absorbing measures in a museum environment, including transport, display, and museum storage.
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