It is also one of my favorite pieces in the exhibit! Each lady had a dance card and gentlemen would “sign up” for a specific dance with her by writing his name on her dance card.This way, the lady would have a list of gentlemen to dance with in a specific order over the course of the evening.Today, depictions of the latest and greatest technological advancements can be found everywhere, from screen printed T-shirts to modern works of art.Evidence of our continued fascination with new inventions and technologies is documented in artwork worldwide from the earliest artistic expressions, and the advent of ballooning in the 18 century was no exception.The box is made from thin wooden panels joined at the corners.The interior lips of the box are fitted with silver and were originally connected with a hinge, which has since broken.Although by today’s standards, balloons don’t seem like the latest and greatest technology, ballooning opened the skies to humankind and with this came artwork showing off the trendiest new technology--the balloon. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia, displays many early renditions of ballooning, including balloon-inspired dinnerware, decorative boxes, prints, fans, and other ephemera.One charming gem of the collection is a dance card box complete with an ivory card reading “Kiss me darling.” The wooden box was colorfully painted with two balloons over countryside landscapes.
Treatment To stabilize the paint layers, I needed to pick a suitable adhesive.
At the beginning of the treatment process, conservators typically have a discussion with the curator about the goals of the treatment and anything specific to the object that may impact the conservation process.
With this object, the curator wanted to preserve the appearance of age while reducing the visibility of the damages.
This adhesive works well with natural materials like the ones found on the dance card box.
Using a fine brush, I applied the adhesive to losses and cracks several times in order to stabilize the paint layers. Once the paint was consolidated and stabilized, I prepared for one of my favorite treatment steps, inpainting.
IR Photography An unexpected bonus to this project was performing infrared (IR) photography of the box.