Preliminary research methodology of the historical firearms; conservation of the arquebus with wheellock (17th or 18th Ct.) from the collection of the National Museum in Cracow

KARSKA posterAuthor: Renata Karska
Mentor: Professor Grażyna Korpal

Jan Matejko Academy of Fine Arts, Cracow (Poland)
Study programme: Conservation and Restoration of Works of Art
Specialization: Metal (2nd year of PhD)


Conservation and restoration of the historical firearms are characterized by individual and comprehensive approach to the historical substance. This is due to the specific design of weapons, the technical complexity of the construction of mechanisms, production technology and the multitude of used materials. As a part of conservation work there was made an attempt to develop a preliminary research methodology of historical black powder guns. The issue was discussed on the example of historic preservation process of: Arquebus with wheellock from the collection of National Museum in Cracow done within the diploma thesis on Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow. The study included: documentary images in visible light, infrared light and UV luminescence, microscope examinations. Another study focused on the analysis of the metal elements. There were made attempts to determine the quantitative and qualitative carbon content. The metal element were also examined using X-ray fluorescence spectrometry. There was also conducted hardness tests, endoscope observation, X-rays photography and computed tomography scan. It was necessary also to perform microbiological tests of wood. Performed conservation and restoration procedures have restored weapons aesthetic and historic value.

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Short biography

RENATA KARSKA earned her master's degree in conservation of sculpture from the Faculty of Conservation and Restoration of Works of Art. She also received a gunsmithing certificate. Renata is currently a doctoral student at the Academy of Fine Arts in Cracow. Her main interest is in the maintenance of metal objects, historical firearms in particular. A part of her research work deals with the technological features of antique metal objects as a criterion for their identification.