Collection Objects and Exhibits in Museums

Paintings

Thorough examination of the painting is crucial at the outset of any conservation project – whether for cleaning, restoration or authentication purposes. Stereo microscopes with their flexible arms and boom stands give the maneuverability required to negotiate even very large paintings comfortably and in situ. The naked eye may suffice for larger areas of damage or paint loss, but a stereo microscope with variable light sources is needed to see smaller details clearly in three dimensions and at low magnifications – for example, fine-lined craquelure, intricate painting techniques and brushwork, and hard-to-identify signatures. Polarization microscopes enable the detailed analysis of paint layers and pigments. Remove a tiny paint sample, place it on a slide and each crystal of pigment suddenly becomes visible, with whole layers of paint distinguishable from ground to surface.

Which layers are original and which have been added? Which colors are still in place and which need to be restored? A stereo microscope answers these questions.

For detailed structural and chemical analysis of paintings in cross-section, a scanning electron microscope (SEM) with energy dispersive X-ray spectrometer (EDX) is a must. This lets you bombard paint samples with electrons, studying the different energy characteristics of reflected x-rays, and revealing the chemical composition of the paint, thus enabling you to choose the best methods for restoration.

Further Information

Blog Article


White Paper: Fast Structural and Compositional Analysis of Cross-section Samples from an 18th Century Oil Painting with "Shuttle & Find"

"We present the cross–section sample analysis of an oil painting on canvas. Correlative Light and Electron Microscopy (CLEM) is used for analyzing the cross–section samples

pages: 6
file size: 1600 kB

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Recommended Microscope Systems for Paintings

ZEISS Stemi 305

When analyzing a painting for authentication, cleaning or restoration, begin your examination with a ZEISS Stemi 305. This versatile stereo microscope provides variable zoom positions, giving you an overview at low magnifications while enabling close analysis of the tiniest details. Variable light sources make these details visible in three dimensions – with a long working distance and great depth of field. Opt for the floor stand and your microscope can be positioned over the painting for maximum access and maneuverability.

ZEISS Stemi 305

ZEISS Axiolab 5 Polarization Microscope

Axiolab 5 helps you identify the crystalline materials found in most pigments. This polarization microscope simplifies analysis of the paint structure and allows accurate measurement of the thickness and uniformity of the layers. Tiny paint samples viewed at a magnification of 100x give precise readings that are accurate and reproducible. Tricky questions on refractive indices, cleavages, double refraction, extinction angles, optical path differences, and the number and angle of optical axes are answered quickly and reliably.

ZEISS Axiolab 5 pol

ZEISS EVO

This scanning electron microscope offers higher magnification capabilities and higher resolution when compared to light microscopes. Equip your EVO with SmartEDX, an embedded EDX solution to carry out elemental analyses of pigments and reveal the structure of your paint sample at an atomic level.

ZEISS EVO

Microscopy in Natural History Museums

The study of natural history has evolved over the centuries as naturalists developed and gradually improved methods for observing and better understanding the world’s plants and animals and the habitats in which they live. Natural history museums have played a vital role in this evolution, providing key settings for the development of new scientific disciplines and the emergence of specialist scientific professions. Nineteenth century botanists and zoologists were particularly active in the race to acquire previously undiscovered specimens, taxonomically classifying these finds in repositories at new and emerging institutions like the Natural History Museum in London. Extensive use was made of these collections as research resources and teaching tools for new generations of eager young students coming through in the wake of such stellar names as Charles Darwin, Alexander von Humboldt and Ernst Haeckel.

Today’s museums hold countless billions of natural artefacts gathered from all across the globe – with plant and animal species of every conceivable shape and color, from the dawn of time to the present day. These allow everybody from the dedicated scientist to the ordinary man, woman or child to better understand our world in all its dizzying complexity and splendor.

A place where learning happens. Naturally.
Scientific research – in the fields of paleontology, geology, zoology, herpetology, ichthyology, mammalogy, ornithology, entomology, climatology, anthropology and many others – has flourished at museums over the years.

And it is here where high-quality ZEISS instruments offer some of their most advanced contributions: in the study, analysis, digitization and long-term preservation of precious natural artefacts through the application of sensitive, non-destructive microscopic techniques. From the reconstruction of dinosaur skeletons to the DNA sequencing of samples from Darwin’s collections of natural history specimens, from the analysis of foraminifera to the close study of fossils in amber – detailed observation under the microscope helps museum professionals make the right decisions when it comes to the care and curation of collections.

But museums today are so much more than research institutions. Fun, informative and engaging public programing helps ensure that they have something to offer everybody in society, regardless of age or cultural and social background. Exhibitions, events, engagement activities and educational programs are designed to spark curiosity and develop our passion for the miracle of nature, thus encouraging better appreciation and more sustainable attitudes towards the environment in which we live.

There are microscopes to assist with every aspect of the modern museum’s work: from conservation to research to outreach and exhibitions. ZEISS systems provide solutions for everything from micro CT scanning microscopy and the 3D modeling of whole organisms to electron microscopic evaluation of surface morphology, with stereo and zoom microscopes enabling the close examination of irreplaceable artefacts and materials.

NHM London - Butterfly Collection
NHM London - Butterfly Collection
Blue whale sceleton at NHM London
Blue whale sceleton at NHM London
Bear jaw (120 mm X 200 mm) imaged with ZEISS Xradia
Bear jaw (120 mm X 200 mm) imaged with ZEISS Xradia
Fossil radiolarian, acquired with annular darkfield
Fossil radiolarian, acquired with annular darkfield

Further Information

Blog Article

Aufbau einer stereomikroskopischen Bilddatenbank

für Käfer (Coleoptera)

pages: 7
file size: 2298 kB

White Paper: ZEISS Axio Imager

Detailed imaging of exceptionally preserved microfossils to track events in early animal evolution

pages: 4
file size: 1558 kB

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Recommended Microscope Systems for Natural History

ZEISS Axio Zoom.V16

Axio Zoom.V16 offers flexibility and superb performance, assisting the preparation of small and fragile specimens in large fields with pristine three dimensional visibility. Delicate work with the scalpel or needle is made easier with stereo and zoom microscopes, and Axio Zoom.V16 enables conservators to work directly under the microscope while observing their work through the eyepiece.

ZEISS Axio Zoom.V16

 

ZEISS EVO

EVO is a scanning electron microscope (SEM) that provides high resolution images of surfaces—from tiny fragments to whole organisms. Consider the topography of a butterfly wing or a mineral crystal: working in higher or lower vacuum modes, the composition and morphology of your specimen will become clear and distinct.

ZEISS EVO

ZEISS Xradia Versa

Xradia Versa employs x-rays for non-invasive, high-resolution imaging of specimens. Use it to create astounding 3D models of internal and external features. Fossils and botanical and animal specimens of every description can now be imaged in cross-section, significantly benefiting the process of classification and digital documentation.

ZEISS Xradia Versa