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Author Topic: Duxford war museum's Spitfire work 'preserving history'  (Read 7299 times)

Chris Johnson

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Duxford war museum's Spitfire work 'preserving history'
« on: February 16, 2013, 01:18:36 PM »

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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Duxford war museum's Spitfire work 'preserving history'
« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2013, 07:13:55 AM »

IWM's conservation work on the Mark I Spit deserves the highest praise.  They have resisted the temptation to restore rather than conserve.
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Tim Mellon

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Re: Duxford war museum's Spitfire work 'preserving history'
« Reply #2 on: March 01, 2013, 04:43:02 PM »

They have resisted the temptation to restore rather than conserve.
                             

Ric, would you be kind enough to explain the technical difference?

 :)
Tim
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« Last Edit: March 01, 2013, 04:46:26 PM by Tim Mellon »
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Duxford war museum's Spitfire work 'preserving history'
« Reply #3 on: March 01, 2013, 05:54:52 PM »

Ric, would you be kind enough to explain the technical difference?

With pleasure.

One of the greatest impediments to aviation historic preservation is the misuse of terminology. The meaning of words like original, replica, restoration, conservation, reproduction, and others, have long since been debated and agreed upon by historians and museum professionals in the traditional museum world but, in aviation, those conventions are largely ignored.  Every museum or collection makes up its own definition of the terms to maximize the apparent value of their aircraft.  Several years ago, as a service to the aviation historic preservation community, TIGHAR researched and published The TIGHAR Guide to Aviation Historic Preservation Terminology.  The Guide and TIGHAR's advocacy for its acceptance have helped change the way some museums - mostly in Europe and Great Britain - manage and represent the aircraft in their collections.

To answer your question:
Restoration means returning the existing fabric of an object to a known earlier state with minimal introduction of new material. (Note that "fabric" in this context means the aircraft structure whether it be wood, metal, textile, rubber, whatever.)
Conservation means all the processes of looking after an object so as to retain its culturally significant qualities, and minimize deterioration.

Technically, what the IWM is doing to the Spitfire is "restoration" but in aviation circles that word is usually used to describe what is actually "reconstruction" i.e. returning an object to a known earlier state by means of repair of the existing fabric and, to a substantial degree, its replacement with new materials. In many cases, what is called "restoration" is actually "conversion" i.e. an object that has been altered to effect a representation of or resemblance to another object (for example, an aircraft that never saw combat painted to look like the mount of a famous ace).

The TIGHAR Guide to Aviation Historic Preservation Terminology is on the TIGHAR website as a downloadable PDF.
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Tim Mellon

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Re: Duxford war museum's Spitfire work 'preserving history'
« Reply #4 on: March 01, 2013, 06:08:04 PM »

In many cases, what is called "restoration" is actually "conversion" i.e. an object that has been altered to effect a representation of or resemblance to another object (for example, an aircraft that never saw combat painted to look like the mount of a famous ace).


The Definitions in your guide are extremely helpful. Thanks, Ric.

So the L-10A at the New England Air Museum at Bradley would be a "conversion"?
Tim
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« Last Edit: March 01, 2013, 06:23:25 PM by Tim Mellon »
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Tim Mellon

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Re: Duxford war museum's Spitfire work 'preserving history'
« Reply #5 on: March 01, 2013, 06:15:49 PM »

Tim
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Duxford war museum's Spitfire work 'preserving history'
« Reply #6 on: March 01, 2013, 06:57:45 PM »

So the L-10A at the New England Air Museum at Bradley would be a "conversion"?

That's right. 
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