Big Stuff Webinars

The Big Stuff large technology conservation community webinars are intended to get us all talking. We will have a short talk to introduce the topic and get things started, and then the “floor” will be open for you to share your thoughts and experiences.

Presentation – Is historic working machinery up to 21st century sustainability demands or are we stuck in time?

In lieu of the webinar this September, we feature Rachel Rimmer’s talk from the Big Stuff 2022 conference in Lisbon.

This follows on from the September 2021 webinar, when Rachel first brought the Manchester Museum’s challenge to the Big Stuff community for discussion.


Previous Webinars

Previous webinars are listed below, with transcripts of discussions and other resources for you to delve into.

Webinar 3 – Changing Objects: Changing Futures

Conservation guidelines and practice in the twentieth century focused on preventing change. But Big Stuff – heritage machinery – is all about change: traditional practices in this area are centered on movement, maintenance, refits, updates and adaptation. These traditional practices will be essential to cope with twenty-first century changes, as we adjust to new fuels, new regulations and new audience expectations for our Big Stuff preservation and displays.

Heritage electric engine

Viewing objects through the lens of change opens the door to the development of a new field of conservation expertise, one focused on the challenges and opportunities presented by an object’s changeable qualities rather than by its original materials, mechanisms and field of use. But it is a new space, requiring new ideas, new ethical approaches and new alliances. Led by speakers Alison Wain and Kornelius Goetz, this webinar provided an opportunity to ask rebellious questions and go shopping for radical new options. Webinar was held on Monday 25th April at 22:00 AEST.

Webinar 2 – The pros and cons of wet steam lubrication

In 2021 the UK’s Science and Industry Museum, Manchester (part of the Science Museum Group) asked the Big Stuff community to help them work out an innovative plan for operating their steam engines in their new Power Hall. As well as creating a display that is exciting and informative, they wanted to create an environmentally friendly display. However, their steam engines use large quantities of water which get contaminated with lubricating oil and have to be jettisoned as waste. So they were looking for a solution that would keep the engines running AND make them more environmentally friendly AND keep maintenance costs under control. Would wet steam lubrication, often used in ship engines, do the trick? The answer that emerged was – it’s complicated! Check out the discussion from 27.09.2021 here.

Webinar 1 – Inhibited dewatering fluids for preventing crevice corrosion

The first webinar was held on 12 April 2021 on the topic of coatings for corrosion protection, starting with a presentation by Eva Wentland on her research into the potential of dewatering fluids with calcium sulphonate inhibitors for protecting areas of crevice corrosion. A summary of the discussion is available here.

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