AIM Pilgrim Trust – The Stained Glass Museum

The Stained Glass Museum – AIM Pilgrim Trust Collections Care Grant
Caring for our stained glass heritage   

Following a Collections Care Audit funded by AIM in 2022, this additional project has enabled us to build on recommendations and make a number of improvements to our collections care.   

The oldest stained glass panel in the museum’s collection, Bust of a King, c. 1210, was cleaned and reframed by specialist stained glass conservator Sarah Jarron ACR to improve its internal structural support. New environmental monitors were purchased to enhance existing environmental data collection, including a handheld monitor which measures lux, humidity, and temperature for spot-check monitoring and additional dataloggers for recording humidity and temperature at different points within our onsite store.  Further analysis was also undertaken into potentially damaging contamination from bats and mould.   

This project has developed our understanding of issues that are unique to the museum’s environment within a Grade-1 listed medieval cathedral building. Our visiting conservator investigated the impact of suspected bat urine and faeces from resident bats on some stained glass on display, and examined under a microscope and took samples from objects in store to find out more about surface deposits which had accrued on some of the stained glass windows. Laboratory tests have confirmed suspected mould growth is forming on layers of dirt on top of the glass of some panels in store which were removed from redundant churches in the 1970s and have never been cleaned.  

These findings are already helping us to make informed decisions on longer-term collections care. For example, we are currently developing modifications to our display cases in consultation with ecologists and heritage experts to try and reduce the impact of resident bats (which are a protected species) in our gallery. We are also planning to implement a rolling conservation cleaning programme to remove existing and prevent further mould growth.   

Jasmine Allen, Director & Curator