Fading

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Fading refers to the diminishing of color or tones on items such as fabric, photographs and negatives, and other works on paper and wood. The damage is usually caused by excessive exposure to light.

Comparison of undamaged and faded fabric

Related Terms

blanching, color shift, discoloration, light fastness

Synonyms in English

bleached, dim, vanish, washed out

Translation

English fading
French effacement
Spanish descoloramiento
Portuguese desvanecimento
Italian sbiadisc
German Verblassen
Russian увядать
Arabic ذبول

Discussion

Fading is a clear sign of damage to an object. It is not a uniform process; some dyes and materials fade faster than others. Factors such as exposure levels and time also affect the rate at which colors fade (Michalski 2016). Fading also has a cumulative affect, where once fading has occurred it can not be undone (Conn 2012). Thus, limiting the amount of light an object receives can help lessen the fading. The discussion in Conservation Concerns says that light in galleries should be kept at about 5-10 foot candles or 50-100 lux (for light-sensitive materials such as works of art on paper, fur, feathers and hair, skin and leather, dyed materials and natural fibers) and should be evenly distributed (Bachman 1992). Some museums are now using LEDs (light-emitting diodes) to minimize the damaging heat aspects of natural and artificial light. Other ways to minimize fading damage is to not display objects near windows and to limit the time an object is on display.

References

Bachman, K. ed. 1992. Conservation Concerns. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution.

Conn, Donia. Northeast Document Conservation Center. "2.4 Protection from Light Damage". Revised 2012. Retrieved from: http://nedcc.org/free-resources/preservation-leaflets/2.-the-environment/2.4-protection-from-light-damage

Michalski, Stefan. Canadian Conservation Institute. "Agent of Deterioration: Light, Ultraviolet and Infrared". Revised 2016. Retrieved from: http://canada.pch.gc.ca/eng/1444925073140 (accessed 7/21/2017)


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