From ANSA.it news:
Restoration gets far-out in Venice
Fair showcases technology's applications for culture world (ANSA) - Venice, December 3 - The more innovative and unusual side of the art restoration world is being showcased this weekend at Venice's annual culture trade fair.
The Salone dei Beni Culturali is an opportunity to compare notes for a wide range of institutions and professionals engaged in protecting and promoting Italy's cultural heritage.
Heaps of inventive new developments have already been presented at the ninth edition of the show, which kicked off Thursday at the port's 'Terminal Passeggeri' and runs until Sunday.
Among the most eye-catching was one that involves the use of microwave ovens to conserve historic books and documents.
A group of experts from the Italian State Archive said they discovered that most of the tiny insects and microbes which attack paper cannot stand temperatures above 51 degrees centigrade.
So to kill them off, they just pop the documents in a special microwave for a few minutes and the job is done without any need for chemicals, which can be damaging. The main thing to have emerged from the event is how the world of culture is quickly tailoring new techniques and technological developments designed for other fields to meet its needs.
Progress made by engineers with lasers, for example, is being exploited by restorers to clean up metal objects, while new infrared technologies are making it possible to find out about ancient ceramics without having to interfere with them in any way.
This year the fair is also placing great stress on ways to help local authorities and museums promote cultural tourism - both to finance conservation and boost the local economies - with a series of presentations and workshops.
The event, organized by the Culture Ministry, has also provided a platform to show off a range of conservation programmes in Italy and abroad.
One of the most significant is Irpp/Saah, a Council of Europe project that aims to promote cultural cooperation for the conservation of 160 historic sites in the Balkan region. It involves seven countries - Albania, Bosnia Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Romania, Serbia and Montenegro, Macedonia - several of which were recently at war with each other. "The work started in 2003 and entails cooperation between specialists and authorities from the countries taking part and international experts," explained Council of Europe Director General Gabriella Battaini Dragoni.
"In this sense it aims to make a tangible contribution to the development of democratic societies, with citizens participating regardless of ethnic or religious distinctions."