Track 1: Effects of Climate Change in Warm Weather Coastal Regions
APT Student Scholar Abstract and Application
This study discusses paint analyses and finish investigations at vernacular wood structures located at the Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village (UCHV) in east-central Alberta, Canada. In an attempt to preserve some of the few remaining Ukrainian-Canadian buildings from 1895-1930, this research project aimed at collecting and interpreting finishing samples from the Hlus (Xата Глусів) and Hewko (Xата Гевків) houses to accurately depict these houses to a specific restoration date, while preserving original finish stratigraphies. Deterioration and alteration of the different finishing materials made it challenging to recognize the many numerous historical layers. Elemental mapping using scanning electron microscopy with energy-dispersive X-ray (SEM/EDS) spectroscopy in combination with micro-Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (micro-FTIR) were proven to be useful to characterize the finish stratigraphy.
It’s an integral aspect of this study to combine the analytical data with knowledge on the paint and surface treatment practices at the time and location, and how those materials changed over time in terms of their appearance and other functional properties. Reference materials (paints, varnishes, pigments, glues, binders, etc.) from the UCHV object collections were used to build an in-home FTIR database to facilitate the multicomponent analysis of FTIR spectra (for Hewko House in particular).
The two investigated buildings represent two major stages in the Ukrainian-Canadian settler history, which is reflected by their finish stratigraphy. For the Hlus House (built in 1915), the building materials were adapted to local and economical availabilities. Representative of later stages in farm development, the finish stratigraphy of the Hewko House (built in 1917) illustrates the shift to contemporary “Canadian” building materials, masking the traditional Ukrainian finishes beneath. Synthetic binder and pigment materials found increasing popularity due to new performance and appearance. Identification of these novel components in the different finishing layers is critical to refine the chronology of paint and finish application for Hewko House, as well as to estimate how the observed aging or deterioration has been affected by the change in material type and application. The next stage of this research will deal with the re-formulation of the building materials for restoration purposes.
Being the first in-depth characterization of this resource typology using a multitude of chemical analyses and evaluation on aging and deterioration, the findings from this study will not only help to accurately preserve these buildings but also improve their evolving understanding in the historical context.
The author would like to thank the Government of Alberta’s Heritage Division, in particular Heritage Conservation Technologist Evan Oxland, for the unique opportunity to learn and contribute to this important work, and my colleagues Konstantin von Gunten, Dr. Daniel Alessi and Dr. Thomas Stachel from the University of Alberta for the countless support in chemical analyses, data processing, and interpretation.