A group of 14 museum scientists, conservators and curators met at the Yale Institute for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage on November 21-22, 2019 for the first project meeting for MoXI (Molecular Xylem Identification). This group aims to continue development of a novel thermal desorption - gas chromatography/ mass spectrometry (TD-GC/MS) methodology to differentiate tree species based on wood phytochemistry that can be used as a tool in cultural heritage research. Proof-of-concept of this technique was first demonstrated by the Getty Conservation Institute and J. Paul Getty Museum, working on tropical hardwood species found in 18th Century French furniture.
Among the topics discussed over the two days were curator and conservator involvement to prioritize wood species for identification in cultural heritage collections, sampling techniques, how to test and optimize the TD-GC/MS protocol, data processing, data sharing, and reference library construction.
The meeting included a tour of the new Leslie P. and George H. Hume American Furniture Study Center, and presentations by and discussions with Paul Messier, Director of the Lens Media Lab, Dr. Damon Crockett, Data Scientist Lens Media Lab, and Dr. Patrick Sweeney from the Yale University Herbarium.
In addition to herbaria, xylaria and commercial timber resources, the group seeks to learn of, and potentially partner with, owners of historic wood collections. Please contact the group at email@example.com if you are aware of a historic wood collection that may be available for this research.
Project Meeting Attendees