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September 12, 2013

Colonial Williamsburg to Receive Federal Grant to Study Effect of Fire Extinguishing Agents on Museum Collections

Colonial Williamsburg will receive a National Leadership Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to fund a three-year research study of the effect of fire extinguishing agents on collections in cultural heritage environments. Colonial Williamsburg will conduct the project in partnership with Hughes Associates (an engineering company with expertise in fire) and the Fire Protection Research Association.

The $213, 447 grant covers research to be conducted from Nov. 1, 2013 to Oct. 31, 2016. The effectiveness of fire extinguishing agents in combating fires is well known in the scientific community, but the potential hazards of deploying these agents on rare materials have not been thoroughly studied. Long-term effects of exposure to the extinguishing agents will be assessed, along with the ability to remove the extinguishing materials from the surfaces of cultural property.

“We are delighted to receive a National Leadership Grant from the IMLS,” said Colin Campbell, president and chief executive officer of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. “We look forward to sharing the critical knowledge we learn about the conservation and protection of rare cultural treasures with the museum community at large.”

IMLS director Susan Hildreth will present a workshop and ceremony on Capitol Hill Sept. 18 to recognize the 2013 museum winners and highlight successful applicants and awards. The event will showcase the many ways museums support learning experiences, serve as community anchors and are stewards of cultural and scientific heritage through the preservation of their collections.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation owns more than 70,000 antiques and works of art from 17th-, 18th- and 19th-century Britain and America, and approximately 15,000 architectural artifacts and 20 million archaeological artifacts.

Media Contact:
Barbara Brown