Archive for the ‘nonprofit arts organizations’ Category

The Douglas Fairbanks Museum will be closed from Nov. 21-27 for the Thanksgiving holiday.

We will close on Dec. 19, 2011 for the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, and reopen to the public on Jan. 2, 2012.

Thanks for all your support this year and happy holidays!



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By Dr. Laura Murray, museum volunteer

Despite of the national economic recession, a mold infestation in the museum’s former building, and a burglary that resulted in the loss of hundreds of rare artifacts last year, the Douglas Fairbanks Museum is finally back open again.

On what would have been the 128th birthday of the great silent film star, the museum held a Grand Reopening celebration and once again welcomed visitors into the museum’s new home.

“This is such a happy day,” museum curator Keri Leigh told the assembled group of volunteers, supporters and guests. “We’ve had more than our share of challenges over the past few years, and sometimes we wondered if this moment would ever come. Thanks to your support and the hard work of our dedicated volunteers, we are open to the public again.”

Overcome by emotion, at one point Leigh broke down in tears while describing the holiday 2010 burglary that resulted in the loss of hundreds of rare photographs, three-dimensional artifacts, and a sizable portion of the museum’s film and periodicals collections.

“Several of these items were more than 100 years old; many were one of a kind and simply cannot be replaced,” she said. “We’re trying our best to re-build the archives, but it will take many years to ever get back to where we were before the burglary.

“Funding needed to acquire new artifacts just isn’t there.” Leigh explained. “Since the economic downturn of 2008, the gifts and endowments that used to sustain us have dropped dramatically. This is true for museums and libraries everywhere, but it hit us especially hard in light of all these tragedies. Insurance only covers the fair market value, not the historic value of collectibles such as these. In many respects, we will never be made whole again because there’s just no way to replace many of the items that were stolen. They were the only ones known to exist in the world.”

Although the museum offered a cash reward and a 90-day amnesty period for return of the stolen artifacts, no one ever came forward. To date, these hundreds of rare photographs, periodicals, films, and three-dimensional items have not been located. The thieves remain at large. Private investigators are working pro bono hoping to crack the case.

“I’m just grateful for what we still have.” She said. “By the grace of God, we are here today to share what’s left of our collection with you all. We’ve been here since 1998 and we have always triumphed over tragedy. We’re not going away as long as I still have breath in me. We’re not going to let a recession, mold, or thieves get the better of us. We believe that is in keeping with the message of Douglas Fairbanks; to never give up, to fight on in the face of adversity and injustice.”

Leigh’s remarks brought wild applause and a standing ovation from the assembled group. She pointed to a poster of Douglas Fairbanks in a typically bold swashbuckling pose, ready to take on the bad guys with his rapier: “See that fellow right there? He’s our inspiration. He’s the reason we carry on.”

Fairbanks in "The Black Pirate," 1926.


Visitors traveled from as far away as Dallas, Oklahoma, Colorado and California to attend the reopening. Leigh also read aloud cards, letters and emails of congratulations and well-wishes from museum supporters who could not attend in person. Among them was an email she recently received from one of Fairbanks’ great-great-grandsons in England, who just penned a school term paper about his great-grandfather.

“I’m just thrilled to see kids taking an interest in Douglas Fairbanks again,” Leigh said. “It made me beam with pride when I read young Fairbanks’ final report about his great-grandfather’s vast contributions to the Allied war effort in WWII. He should be proud of his family’s legacy.”

The Campisi family traveled from California to attend the reopening celebration. While browsing through a “look book”  documenting the stolen artifacts, Mr. Campisi tried to help his 7 year old son understand why the items were not available for him to see and touch. “This makes me so sad,” Mrs. Campisi said solemnly, “but it also makes me angry. What kind of people steal a child’s education? A thief’s greed denied my son and future generations the opportunity to learn about a great pioneer of the film industry.”

Mr. Campisi added, “if the thieves should ever meet up with the ghost of Douglas Fairbanks one dark night, they had better watch out! I’m pretty sure old Doug wouldn’t be very happy about what they’ve done. That’s all I can say.”

A rare 1920s photo of Fairbanks' "Rancho Zorro," stolen in the burglary.


Visitors enjoyed refreshments, guided tours of the museum’s new exhibit and library space, and a screening of Fairbanks’ 1921 classic, “The Three Musketeers.” As a show of solidarity at the end of the movie, guests, staff, and museum volunteers raised a toast and exclaimed a hearty, “All for one, and one for all!”

A homemade birthday cake was served and every museum visitor was presented with a gift bag containing a complimentary copy of the book Douglas Fairbanks: In His Own Words, a museum button, coffee mug, and a commemorative postcard to remember the occasion by. Kids got a D’Artagnan-style hat complete with feathered plume so that they could play the hero in a Three Musketeers game.

As the sun was setting and the last guest departed, the remaining staff and volunteers began cleaning up. Before locking up for the night, we took a moment to survey the new gallery space one more time. Someone said all the hard work to rebuild had been well worth it. We all just stopped in our tracks and nodded an “amen!” We saved the candles from Doug’s birthday cake and each volunteer took one as a special souvenir to remind us all of this very special day. We will never forget it.


Stage 1: Moving the boxes in

Stage 2: Cleanup and preparation

Stage 3: Planning and design of gallery spaces

Stage 4: Unpacking and setting up audio/visual systems

Stage 6: Starting to fill the bookshelves

Stage 7: Hanging the posters

Stage 8: Building exhibits

Stage 9: First exhibit ready to go!

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Our sincere appreciation and thanks to the Cinefamily for featuring an entire month of Douglas Fairbanks’ classic films at the Silent Movie Theatre, a Los Angeles landmark.(611 N. Fairfax Ave.)

All throughout the month of February, Fairbanks films will be playing every Wednesday night in this vintage Art Deco  movie house. All screenings are open to the public. For more information on this special series, show times, and ticket prices, see below or visit Cinefamily’s website.

Douglas Fairbanks / Silent Wednesdays in February


In this age of constant celebrity culture bombardment, we forget that once upon a time, there were only a handful of superstars that could truly galvanize the entire world — and that list was headed by silent film legend Douglas Fairbanks. His universal appeal lied in his astounding ability to be almost all things to all people: a man’s man, a ladies’ man, a lithe acrobat, a charming rogue, a ceaseless adventurer and a jaunty comedian. Within just a few years of his movie debut in 1915, Fairbanks rocketed to becoming the highest-paid Hollywood actor next to Chaplin, and is still known today as one of the greatest swashbucklers and stunt masters ever filmed. Join us in some of Fairbanks’ most stirring leaps into fantasy, which, over the course of almost an entire century, haven’t lost a speck of their ability to whisk us away to far-off lands.

2/2 @ 8:00pm / Series: Douglas Fairbanks
His Majesty The American

Co-presented by The Silent Treatment

Silent superstar Douglas Fairbanks’ greatest asset was his boundless energy, his ability to bounce off the walls with an unlimited supply of daring-do — and the frothy 1919 romantic comedy/actioner His Majesty The American is one of the greatest showcases of this charismatic gift! Setting the stage for his slate of famous swashbuckling pictures to come in the ‘20s, His Majesty finds Fairbanks as an independently wealthy and bored young man in Manhattan; after putting in time as an amateur firefighter for kicks and heading off to Mexico to upstage Pancho Villa(!), he travels to a fictional European kingdom with an amazingly manic exuberance to single-handedly restore order to a riot-ridden landscape. The first feature produced under the United Artists banner (a company jointly formed by titans Fairbanks, Chaplin, Pickford and Griffith), His Majesty is one of the most rip-roaring romps ever created for our beloved “fire-eating, speed-loving, space- annihilating, excitement-hunting thrillhound!” Showing before the feature is Fairbanks’ notorious 1916 drug comedy/detective spoof The Mystery Of The Leaping Fish — and author/historian Jeffrey Vance will provide opening remarks on Fairbanks’ wild ‘n woolly career!
His Majesty The American Dir. Joseph Henabery, 1919, 16mm. (Archival 16mm print courtesy of The Douris Corporation)
Mystery of the Leaping Fish Dirs. Christy Cabanne & John Emerson, 1916, 35mm, 25 min. (Archival 35mm print courtesy of The Douris Corporation)

Tickets – $12/free for members


2/9 @ 8:00pm / Series: Douglas Fairbanks
The Three Musketeers

“When Alexandre Dumas…said to himself ‘Well, I guess I might as well write a book called The Three Musketeers, he doubtless had one object in view: to provide a suitable story for Douglas Fairbanks to act in the movies.” – LIFE Magazine

1920’s The Mark Of Zorro established Douglas Fairbanks as the biggest action star of his day, and truly set the tone for the rest of his career — but it was in The Three Musketeers that he pulled off, with consummate ease, possibly his most fantastic stuntwork. Even though he was 38 years old at the time, Douglas Fairbanks makes for all-time the role of D’Artagnan (the hot-headed young turk who joins the titular troika of rapier-wielding 17th-century soldiers), and employs a tongue-in-cheek style that has remained a constant in the swashbuckling genre, all the way up through today’s Pirates of the Carribbean. Watch for one of the most stunning stunts in early film, as Fairbanks does a one-handed handspring while reaching for a sword!
Dir. Fred Niblo, 1921, 16mm, 120 min.

Tickets – $10


2/16 @ 8:00pm / Series: Douglas Fairbanks
Robin Hood

After the successive successes of the spectacular The Mark of Zorro and The Three Musketeers, Fairbanks’ ambition became as bottomless as his physical prowess — and so naturally, the production of 1922’s Robin Hood was destined to become a staggeringly opulent action extravaganza! Rather than covering the usual time-honored origin story touchstones, Fairbanks’ version instead gives us an opening act where he plays the chivalrous Earl of Huntington, who is a participant in the sword-heavy Crusades. Only upon returning back to England does he find that Prince John has turned a once-idyllic empire into a Dante-esque sty of corruption. Executed on a herculean scale, the film’s sets were erected by an army of five hundred carpenters and towered ninety feet in the air, covering ten acres of land — historically accurate to the smallest detail. Add to that Fairbanks’ trademark gravity-defying stuntwork, and you’ve got one of the most joyous tellings of the beloved Robin Hood myth!
Dir. Allan Dwan, 1922, 35mm, 127 min.

Tickets – $10


2/19 @ 6:30pm / Series: Douglas Fairbanks
The Thief of Bagdad
(“re-imagined” by Shadoe Stevens, w/ score feat. the music of ELO, world premiere!)

One of the most rousing, lavish and extraordinary film adventures of the 1920s comes to the Cinefamily in a version never before heard! Over the past 30 years, broadcasting legend Shadoe Stevens (the Federated Group’s “Fred Rated”; television shows like “Hollywood Squares and “Dave’s World”; the voice of “The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson” and so much more) has been obsessed with Douglas Fairbanks’s masterful fantasy The Thief Of Bagdad — and throughout the years, has been privately perfecting the ultimate lush, dreamlike soundtrack to accompany this favored silent. Tonight, we proudly present the world premiere of Shadoe’s “re-imagined” Thief of Bagdad, scored entirely to the legendary music of the Electric Light Orchestra, which inexplicably complements and enhances the action! It’s an exceptional experience, as if the music was written for the movie.

This eye-popping odyssey features Fairbanks as a street thief who, in order to prove his worth to a princess paramour, transforms himself and is whisked away through a variety of storybook scenarios. Leapfrogging from undersea kingdoms to cloud cities and lunar outposts. With a winged horse, magic crystals and flying carpets, it’s a film of breathtaking innovation and magic. Gorgeous art deco larger-than-life setpieces, thousands of extras, the best SFX of its era and Fairbanks’s physical mastery all meld with the timeless music of Jeff Lynne and the Electric Light Orchestra to produce a once-in-a-lifetime viewing experience!
Dir. Raoul Walsh, 1924, digital presentation, 140 min.

Tickets – free for members (first-come, first serve)

NOTE: you must have a current Cinefamily 3-month, 6-month or yearly membership to gain admission to this show — and we’ll have staff on-hand at the box office for you to re-up your lapsed membership, or sign up for a new one (hint-hint!)


2/23 @ 8:00pm / Series: Douglas Fairbanks
The Black Pirate

Photographed in early two-strip Technicolor, The Black Pirate is, by design, nothing but pure entertainment, as it’s crammed to the gills with swordfights, gallivanting about, pretty maidens, underwater chases and sweet revenge! Fairbanks had been itching to do a pirate picture for years, after being beaten to the punch by the big smashes of both The Sea Hawk and Captain Blood — and this film tops them both with its tale of a shipwrecked young man who finds that the pirate enemies who killed his father are also on the same island, burying the treasure which they stole from him. Going undercover, Doug infiltrates their ranks, in an attempt to explode them from within! With exteriors shot on location at sea, this is one of Fairbanks’ most satisfying efforts, blending whimsical comedy, startling nautical realism, romance and violence into a rollicking ball that will leave you grinnin’ from ear to ear, arrrrrgh!
Dir. Albert Parker, 1926, 35mm, 94 min.

Tickets – $10


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January 10, 2011



(830) 444-0523


Original 1926 photo from "The Black Pirate," stolen in Dec. 2010 burglary.



Items dating back to the early 1900s and valued at more than $10,000 (USD) were stolen from the museum’s collections during a late night burglary over the New Year’s holiday.

Original one-of-a-kind photographic prints, negatives and slides, autographs, promotional materials for Fairbanks’ films, the star’s handwritten correspondence, vintage newspapers and magazines, and other rare silent film memorabilia were stolen from the archives.

Fortunately intruders did not gain access to the museum’s most valuable artifacts, which are housed separately in a secure storage facility off-site. However, the crooks did manage to make off with a goodly portion of the museum’s photo, video, and periodicals collections. These are the items most frequently requested by the public, media, filmmakers, other libraries, museums and galleries for reproductions, research and exhibition loans.

Items stolen include five archival binder boxes containing photographic prints, negatives and slides; two large archival albums containing film posters, playbills, programs, vintage theater tickets and other rare film memorabilia; two archival boxes containing newspapers, magazines and film periodicals nearly a century old, as well as copies of films by Fairbanks and other silent cinema stars on VHS tape and DVD from the museum’s circulation library.

The most valuable artifact the burglars got away with was (ironically) an original brass urn dating to approximately 1923, a set piece for the film The Thief of Bagdad. This urn has been a centerpiece of exhibits since the museum acquired it from a Los Angeles movie prop house in 2005. The object stands appx. 2 feet tall and features ornate lifting handles in the shape of two cobra snakes on each side. The rare prop urn was in the process of having a broken handle repaired at the time of the burglary; normally it would have been stored offsite.

1924 prop urn used in "The Thief of Bagdad"


The burglary took place at the domicile of museum curator Keri Leigh, who was out of town over the holidays. Leigh co-founded the small private museum in 1998 and for many years housed the collections inside her family residence. A lifelong silent film enthusiast, Leigh always enjoyed sharing her rare film memorabilia collection with other Fairbanks fans, filmmakers, researchers, students, and historians, welcoming visitors from all around the globe.

“We never really worried too terribly much about break-ins or petty theft because as a private museum, we’re not readily accessible to the general public. Our tours are by appointment only. We don’t have a location that people can just walk into off the street. ” Leigh explains. “So we avoided a lot of would-be thieves casing the place for valuables with that added layer of security.”

While the museum’s policy limits admittance and access to the collections only to those with a bona fide research or scholarly need, curator Leigh says “actually, we’ve never denied admittance to anyone over the years,” a decision she does not regret even in light of the burglary. “The whole point is to share the collections with people.”

“Silent film fans respect the historical value of these artifacts,” she stresses. “They would never want to deprive future generations of the chance to see and learn about Douglas Fairbanks. They’ve always treated the museum and the home with great care when they come to visit us. They are as upset as we are about this theft, because these collections rightfully belong to the people – to Doug’s fans; to history.”

The most distressing aspect of the theft, according to Leigh, is that “the people who stole these artifacts were probably unaware of their cultural value and importance. They probably just thought they were robbing a well-stocked private residence, maybe looking to make a quick buck by selling the contents. They likely had no idea they had stolen property belonging to a museum.” Leigh shook her head in sad disbelief. “It would not surprise me at all if they didn’t even know who Douglas Fairbanks was.”

Such a burglary is not at all uncommon: according to the Art Loss Register, 54 percent of art thefts occur in domestic dwellings. However, the next three highest areas of theft occur in museums and galleries (12 percent each) and in churches (10 percent.) For this reason, institutions housing valuables have set up organizations to combat and prevent art thefts. These include the Univeristy of Cambridge’s Illicit Antiquities Research Centre, which monitors and reports on the international trade of stolen antiquities, and MuseumSecurity.Org, which has a mailing list that provides regular reports on stolen museum items.

Other major law enforcement agencies have their own databases of stolen artwork, including the Interpol database of stolen art. The U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs is also devoted to International Cultural Property Protection.

The problem has become so prevalent that in 1991 the art and insurance communities jointly began the Art Loss Register in an attempt to fight art thefts around the globe. The register allows major auctioneers, collectors and art buyers to check their catalogues to determine whether a valuable piece is stolen property. The ALR lists about 1,200 new items each month and has a total of more than 120,000 stolen paintings, sculptures, furnishings and other valuable artifacts on file.

A rare image of Fairbanks with his custom Cadillac, circa 1928. This photograph, along with hundreds of others, was stolen in the Dec. 2010 burglary.


In the early morning hours of December 30th, museum curator Leigh was awakened in her hotel room miles away by a phone call from her neighbors. They had witnessed the bandits driving away in the middle of the night and alerted police.

When a panicked Leigh returned home, she discovered that the front door lock had been cracked. Her home surveillance cameras were of no use, either — electrical lines to the house were cut before the looters entered. Inside, she found a ransacked mess of her personal possessions strewn about the floor; all drawers, closets, and cabinets were picked through by the criminals. Everything of value in the home had been taken.

Leigh (who is also a renowned musician, recording artist, writer, and radio personality) lost an invaluable collection of rare tapes, photographs, concert posters and music memorabilia documenting her 25 year music career in the heist. Leigh has previously authored biographies of Douglas Fairbanks and blues guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan, her late friend and musical mentor.

Items taken from the home include Leigh’s original onstage costumes; many were handmade custom designs given to her by fans and friends through the years. She also lost master tapes for her band’s studio albums, a treasured 1940s Stella acoustic guitar, as well as her collection of her band’s live recordings, radio interviews and broadcasts, demo tapes, notes, song lyrics, notes, research and chapters for a book she was writing at the time of the break-in. While the actual cash or replacement value for these items exceeds $20,000, Leigh says their practical and sentimental value is incalculable: “You just can’t put a price tag on things like that.”

“”They took the deepest part of me – my music.” She says. “Songs I wrote, recorded, mixed and produced. They took my demo tapes and a 20-year archive of recorded performances of the band in concert, in the studio and on the radio. That’s a lifetime of work – my whole heart and soul – was in there. And they took it all. I could write an album’s worth of blues songs about how I feel right now, but don’t even have a guitar left to write them on.”

Hundreds of CDs, DVDs, 45 and 78 rpm records were stolen from Leigh’s sizable music collection. Designer clothing items were also pilfered; medicines and nutritional supplements nicked from her kitchen pantry. (“Seriously — what kind of burglars steal your vitamins?” Leigh mused.) The peckish prowlers also helped themselves to food items in her pantry. To make matters worse for Leigh personally, the burglars found her spare sets of keys and copped two cars. Until the stolen property is recovered and returned, Leigh is without even the basic necessities of daily life. “They totally cleaned me out,” she says.

“About the only thing they didn’t take were my books,” Leigh sighed. “I guess they weren’t very literary burglars.”

So far, no arrests have been made in the case.


Leigh’s friends, family, fans, and Fairbanks museum supporters have organized an online community watch effort to catch the crooks. They scour web auction and classified sites such as Craigslist looking out for her stage clothing, guitars, master tapes, personal effects, and museum artifacts to emerge. (Many of Leigh’s stolen stage costumes can be seen in the photo galleries of her band’s Official MySpace and in her music videos on YouTube.)

Music and film memorabilia dealers, auctioneers, other museums, and the general public are being urged to keep their eyes peeled for these items and to report any suspected stolen property to their local police or the FBI. Leigh has also retained a private investigator to help track down her stolen property and locate the thieves.

“These things nearly always wind up on eBay sooner or later.” Leigh says. “Art thieves routinely approach museums, galleries and memorabilia dealers trying to sell stolen goods. With the eyes of the public watching them, they are far less likely to succeed. Most art thieves are caught by one person who recognizes a piece of cultural property offered for sale as stolen and reports back to the rightful owner.”

Perhaps the only consolation for Leigh is that most of the items stolen from her home are unique and one-of-a-kind, and thus easily identifiable. “For the most part, these are not the typical sorts of items that can be sold off to pawn shops, such as TVs, computers, stereo equipment and electronics.” She explained. “It would take a very sophisticated fence operation that deals in stolen art and cultural property to handle them on the black market. I rather doubt these thieves are that clever or that connected.”

The museum is offering a 90-day “no questions asked” amnesty period for the safe return of the property. Should the burglars — or anyone currently in possession of the stolen items — return them to the museum, the band’s management, or to Leigh personally before March 30, 2011, they will not face criminal prosecution.

“The most important thing is getting the items returned promptly,” Leigh says. “The museum is scheduled to re-open in May 2011, and I can only pray we will have this substantial part of our collections back in time for that. Otherwise, our ability to present exhibits and fulfill research requests will be greatly diminished. To say the least.”

An alert and vigilant public will play a crucial role in recovering both Leigh’s own musical treasures and the Fairbanks Museum artifacts taken from her home.”Working together, I hope and pray that we can catch the thieves and get these rare items returned to the museum, so that the public may continue to have access to them for hundreds of years to come.” Leigh says. “This collection was intended to survive well past my earthly lifetime. I built it for the education, enjoyment and cultural enrichment of future generations. To think that all that time, effort and expense was in vain absolutely breaks my heart.”

Signed Fairbanks photographic print, circa 1920. Stolen.


Anyone with information about the burglary or reports of artifacts from the museum’s collections being offered for sale is encouraged to contact the museum immediately via email or phone at (830) 444-0523. Tips leading to an arrest and/or return of museum property may also qualify for a cash reward.

As the inventory of stolen property contains hundreds of items and is too extensive to include here, 100 images and descriptions of artifacts taken in the Dec. 30th burglary are sampled below. Please take a few moments to familiarize yourself with them.

Many more of the stolen photographs, posters, and museum artifacts can be seen in the 2005 documentary film Douglas Fairbanks: The Great Swashbuckler. You can watch this film on the museum’s official YouTube Channel.

If you spot the same or similar item(s) being offered for sale and suspect these may be museum property, please contact the museum to confirm provenance via catalog/accession numbers and identifying tags/marks on the object(s) right away. Time is of the essence in reclaiming these historic museum artifacts before they are lost forever.

Samples of property/objects stolen from the museum’s collections:

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The Douglas Fairbanks Museum recently provided research materials to the History Channel for an upcoming  documentary about the use of language in film.

Vintage news articles from the museum’s newspaper and magazine archives were requested by the network specifically pertaining to the 1916 Douglas Fairbanks comedy, The Habit of Happiness – reportedly the first Hollywood film to contain a curse word. And this was in the silent days before spoken dialogue!

Although there are no swear words in the printed title cards, Fairbanks reportedly swore up a blue streak in one particular scene, sparking a nationwide lip-reading movie controversy.



From the 1917 book "Laugh and Live" by Douglas Fairbanks. Original in the museum's library.



Fairbanks fans may already be familiar with the story of Sunny Wiggins, the film’s central character. He’s convinced that laughter can cure any ailment and to prove his point, he conducts an experiment: find the saddest, sickest characters on earth and heal them with happiness. He decides to test his theory on a group of street-hardened “bums” at the local homeless shelter.

Douglas Fairbanks (always a stickler for authenticity) decided to make the scene as realistic as possible, hiring actual direlects from skid row instead of professional actors.

Things didn’t quite work out as planned, however; despite Doug’s many attempts to crack them up with his best gags, the men weren’t at all amused. At wits’ end, Fairbanks thus began to tell some extremely ribald and off-color stories – only this got the sad sacks to elicit a genuine chuckle before finally erupting into all-out belly laughs.

When the film was initially released by Triangle Pictures in 1916, complaints from deaf lip-readers who could grasp the flurry of Fairbanks’ profanities caused the offending scenes to be re-shot and distributed anew to theatres.

“It’s a hilarious story,” museum curator Keri Leigh says, “and I always enjoy telling it to our visitors. Although I still maintain that no one could tell the story better than Doug himself.”

Fairbanks did write his own version of the now-infamous event in an article called “Combining Play With Work,” which originally appeared in the American Magazine for July 1917.

A complete reprint of the 1917 article appears in the book Douglas Fairbanks: In His Own Words, a literary collection of Fairbanks’ writings published by the museum in 2006.


Leigh says that consulting with the producers on this documentary film was “a wonderful opportunity for the museum to further our mission of educating a younger generation about who Douglas Fairbanks was. We want kids especially to learn of his importance to the history and development of the cinematic arts.”

The educational documentary, which is geared towards school-age children, will be broadcast in early 2011. Stay tuned to the museum’s blog for further announcements as the air date nears.

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Mold: The Whole Picture
Pt. 3, A Neglected Public Health Problem

by Ellen McCrady
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:Ellen Ruth McCrady, publisher of Abbey Publications and editor of the Abbey Newsletter, Alkaline Paper Advocate, and The Mold Reporter passed away on March 5, 2008.

There have been so many stories in the news media lately about mold-infested schools and residences that I decided to skip the installments on remediation, buildings, and preventive measures for the time being, and go right to the personal narratives of people whose lives or health had been affected. In the next issue I will try to suggest ways to recognize the danger and describe some of the options available to victims. -Ed.

The first story appeared in the January 2000 issue of the WAAC Newsletter, in the Health and Safety column:

My name is Kim Harper. Seven years ago, I was exposed to mold. I worked in a small historical museum where I managed the archival collection and, later, the operations of a twelve-building museum village.

I absolutely loved my job working with artifacts and researching family history. Much of the archival collection was housed in a 100-year-old school house. For several months I sorted through water-damaged ledgers and artifacts. Many were covered with a black soot-like dust. After a few months, I noticed I was losing my balance, my short-term memory was failing, and I began dropping things. Sometimes, it almost felt like I had been drinking. These symptoms led doctors to believe I had multiple sclerosis. My health was deteriorating rapidly.

My asthma, which was previously mild, began to bother me daily. I was taking up to 14 doses of Ventolin a day at work. My asthma became so bad that after ten months of working at the Museum, my doctor ordered a lung function test. This test showed my lung function had dropped almost 20%.

I went on to develop intense joint pain and fatigue. At first, I thought I was just coming down with the flu, but it never went away … never. This unusual flu-like illness caused confusion, extreme fatigue, and joint pain. I recall asking my board members to write down any requests because I would forget what they wanted by the time they left the building.

Slowly, I was forced to cut back extra volunteer work at the Museum. I left my Trustee position with the School Board and eventually had to leave my part-time job, and finally my work at the Museum. I went on sick leave for two months. My asthma and cognitive symptoms improved almost 90%. But this all changed when I returned to work.

After two weeks back to work in the archives, my breathing, fatigue and joint pain began to worsen. I was asked to clean a damp, 100-year-old furnace room that had chronic water problems and mold. Within two months, my lung function had dropped another 20%. I was taking several pain medications to get through the work day and up to 20 puffs of Ventolin. After two severe asthma attacks where I could not breathe, I was forced to leave work permanently. I realize now, I should never have returned to work after my sick leave. Since starting work at the Museum three years earlier, my lung function had dropped a total of 36%. My lungs were working at only 44% capacity.

After leaving work, my asthma did not get better as it did with the first sick leave. Over the next year away from work, I spent many days in hospital to help my breathing. In order to stay out of the hospital, I was forced to take large doses of medication to manage even the simplest of tasks. Doctors prescribed 38 puffs of medication a day along with Prednisone.

I have never been well enough to return to work. You see, we realized too late that work was causing my health problems. I now know that I should never have cleaned the old furnace room without proper protection.

My health has improved slightly since leaving the Museum. But without medication, my lungs are still bad. Since 1992 I have never been pain free. I have trouble managing daily activities and was forced to move from my two-story home to a home with fewer stairs.

Mold is everywhere, but if you have to work with it, take a few extra minutes to learn about it and make educated choices to protect yourself. If workers are having problems, they should stop working in the contaminated environment immediately. I would encourage them to go to an occupational health specialist experienced in the effects of mold. By knowing exactly what is making them sick, they can take the necessary protective steps. You should know that some workers will never be able to work in a contaminated environment once they have been sensitized. I only hope that everyone will understand a little protection and knowledge goes a long way.

We know many of us would never want to stop working in our exciting field. There is no need to panic, we just need to take a practical approach and take the time to get informed and protect ourselves. This way we can continue to work with the artifacts that we love so very much. Someone has to preserve our history.

If anyone would like to learn more, or would like to share their experience, they can contact the Harper Archives at mkharper@netcom.ca.

Regards, Kim Harper
Whitby, Ontario, Canada

[On March 16, Ms. Harper sent an e-mail message saying, in part, “I am happy to learn you are getting the word out to others…. We have spent years learning how to remove and protect our artifacts from the ravages of mold. I’m glad it’s time for us to spend some time on protecting staff. Every week I see an increased concern in dealing with the toxic effects of mold.”

[She recommended that interested people contact her at mkharper@netcom.ca, where she can provide feedback, suggest websites and literature, and discuss how to approach your employer or Health and Safety Committee. She also suggested looking into the following sites:

  • http://www.envirocenter.com/ENYOHPto review research by well-known expert in this field: Dr. Eckardt Johanning of the Eastern New York Occupational and Environmental Health Center in Albany, New York. He has helped museum workers exposed to Stachybotrys in Soho, New York. This site includes several resources to help identify and remediate molds. Early in March he discussed the health hazards of mold on the television program “48 Hours.”
  • http://www.radio.cbc.ca/programs/quirks/archives/98-99to listen to a 20-minute broadcast on “Librarian’s Lung.” The show interviews a few archivists and museum workers who share their experiences with mold and how it affected their health. You can also contact the radio station staff by e-mail at <<>quirks@toronto.cbs.ca>. Maybe they will do a follow-up.

[In the absence of clear guidelines from the government, she recommended that workers should understand how important it is to identify the suspect mold as soon as possible. “It can be as simple as taking a scotch tape sample,” she said, “and mailing it to a mycologist familiar with Stachybotrys and Aspergillus for identification. This way staff will know if they are dealing with a mycotoxin that needs more careful consideration. A photograph of the area also helps.”]

See also the Aspergillus Web Site

“This site is designed to provide information on pathogenic Aspergilli for clinicians and scientific researchers. The site includes DNA sequence data, a comprehensive bibliographic database, laboratory protocols, treatment information and discussion groups. The Aspergillus Web Site is sponsored by Alza Corporation and Ortho Biotech Inc. and the sponsors have access to the Web Site address book–as do all other Aspergillus Web Site users. The European Science Foundation has also made a contribution to the maintenance of the site.”

Robert J. Milevski, Preservation Librarian at Princeton University Libraries, related a personal experience with mold in 1994 on the Conservation DistList.


Part 1, Mold: The Whole Picture
Part 2, Assessment of Mold Problems
Part 3, A Neglected Public Health Problem
Part 4: Effect of Mold on Schools, Homes, & Human Beings


Ellen Ruth McCrady, publisher of Abbey Publications and editor of the Abbey Newsletter, Alkaline Paper Advocate, and The Mold Reporter passed away on March 5, 2008.

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Mold: The Whole Picture
Pt. 2, Assessment of Mold Problems

by Ellen McCrady
Ellen Ruth McCrady, publisher of Abbey Publications and editor of the Abbey Newsletter, Alkaline Paper Advocate, and The Mold Reporter passed away on March 5, 2008.

Part 1 (v.23 #4) emphasized the preservation community’s need for better contact with fields that carry out research and generate information about mold. These fields include medicine, public health, agriculture, indoor air quality, building construction, and historic preservation, in addition to mycology. The history and nature of mold were discussed, and several websites and publications were cited.

The plan for this series does not include a review of preservation literature or procedures on mold, because the scope is so broad already. -Ed.

Defining the Problem

The first signs of a mold problem are often deceptive: a moldy smell in part of a building, tired employees who are said to be suffering from colds or allergies, or visible mold growths on walls or books in certain locations. They are easy to ignore and hard to interpret, so health and building problems may not be investigated right away, although affected items may be cleaned or fumigated. (Note: Mold problems from fire or water disasters are not considered here, because they usually cause explosive mold growth, rather than typically chronic or recurring growth.)

In minor cases, formal inspections are of course not called for. The 1994 edition of the Guidelines on Assessment and Remediation of Stachybotrys Atra [Chartarum] in Indoor Environments says,

“The criteria for conducting an initial inspection include:

  1. presence of visible mold;
  2. evidence of water damage;
  3. symptoms which are consistent with an allergic or toxic response to Stachybotrys atra (e.g., respiratory illness, rashes and chronic fatique) and are severe enough as judged by medical documentation to result in lost work days.”

A new edition of this guide, which will apply to more species, is in preparation.

If the smell or visible mold growths are seen as indicators of a health problem, institutions and businesses may call in indoor air quality specialists, who will look for evidence of bacteria, viruses and other microorganisms in addition to mold. They will check for deficiencies in the HVAC (heating, ventilating and air conditioning) system that may be bringing polluted air into the building, or spreading the mold to uninfected areas.

However, indoor air quality people, industrial hygienists and environmental health professionals may not get the whole picture because they are trained mostly to monitor conformity to government standards for work-related exposures, and there are no standards for mold exposure.

Teamwork Recommended

It takes a number of specialists from different fields to do an adequate assessment of a mold problem in a building. The assessment should be thorough enough to justify an expensive remediation, if that is called for (cleaning, restoring, and rebuilding); and the findings have to be credible, if they are intended for possible use in a lawsuit.

Unfortunately, many architects, builders and building engineers do not understand how they are contributing to the modern problem of illness among residents or staff and the decay of building materials. The “tight houses” first built during the oil shortage of the early 1970s do conserve fuel, but they also create ideal homes for mold.

It is no coincidence that the 1993 Workshop on Control of Humidity for Health, Artifacts, and Buildings gave the title “Bugs, Mold and Rot” to both the workshop and the proceedings. The workshop following that one was held last summer during the same week as the 1999 AIC conference. Those proceedings will be available, probably in 2000, from the National Institute of Building Sciences (202/289-7800, fax 202/289-1092).

Almost every writer on this subject recommends a team approach. A health specialist has to be involved, because the effects of exposure to mold are so variable, and reactions to other microorganisms and non-biological agents are also possible. Biological agents often encountered in such investigations include fungi, bacteria, amebae, and viruses; allergens from plants, microorganisms and animals; toxins from bacteria and fungi; and microbial volatile organic compounds (MVOCs). There should be a specialist who knows how to find and identify them, estimate the risk they pose, and do the necessary lab work. Finally, the investigators should include, or be in touch with, someone who knows about building structure and systems, especially of the building in question.

An investigation strategy is outlined on p. 2-3 (ch. 2, p. 3) in Bioaerosols: Assessment and Control, the manual published in 1999 by the ACGIH (American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists). First comes the health assessment of people in the building, then the bioaerosol assessment, and the building assessment. Then hypotheses are formulated about what could be going on, because many factors have to be identified, at least provisionally, before the data can be gathered efficiently. The sampling methods, health precautions, places to look, possible causes, and conditions to correct are all determined or at least influenced by the species of organisms involved.

Next the hypotheses are tested by gathering data about the environment, bioaerosols present, and medical aspects, and by consulting experts as needed. If all the data checks out, the investigators are ready to make recommendations on moisture control, cleaning, repair and so on. If it does not check out, then the investigators have to go back to Square One.

A Detective Story

Sometimes the search for the cause of complaints is not easy. One such case was reported at the 1998 Bioaerosols Conference in Saratoga Springs by Joseph Fedoruk, Steven Uhlman and Dean B. Baker (“Microbial Contamination of a Ventilation System Detected by Microbial Volatile Organic Compound [MVOC] Analysis”). A six-story building constructed in 1970 was given an award in 1997 by ASHRAE for its healthy environment; however, in 1995 the HVAC system had been re-engineered to increase the supply of fresh air. By 1997, the year of its award, it was already a sick building. People in one end of the building were feeling ill and complaining periodically of chemical odor.

Fedoruk’s company was asked to look at the building, but it appeared to have no problems: they found consistently low counts of viable molds, total spores and atmospheric bacteria, and good temperature and relative humidity. They took samples indoors, outdoors, and in both the complaint areas and non-complaint areas. There was no visible mold growth anywhere, although MVOC concentrations were much higher in the complaint area. In order to get to the bottom of it, Fedoruk (who is a medical doctor) saw the people as a clinician. Perhaps this inspired him to follow the trail of MVOCs upstream to see where they were coming from; he doesn’t say so in the abstract of his paper, the source of this story.

Then they inspected the HVAC system and found something that had been overlooked in previous building investigations: mist from a chiller tower that was being drawn into a principal air intake duct only 30′ away, along with mist from a condensate pan beneath the chiller tower. The intake duct was damp; still, no mold growth was visible from the outside.

When they opened up the ducts, however, they found mold, yeast and bacteria colonies inside—not on the duct surface, but on the joint adhesive. That was enough to explain the contaminated air inside. (One is reminded of the original incidence of legionnaires’ disease, where the hotel’s air intake was also located close to the cooling tower. The airborne bacteria from the condensate pan there were also sucked up by the air intake and delivered to the hotel guests inside.)

Fedoruk concludes that MVOC analysis provides a way to detect ventilation system contamination when neither visible mold growth nor measurable bioaerosols (spores, etc.) are present to help the investigator.

Sometimes, if there is no other way to tell where the main source of the mold is, then parts of the walls, ceiling or floors have to be removed to inspect hidden parts of the structure. This is, of course, destructive but sometimes necessary. In England and Denmark, trained dogs called “rothounds” are used to find actively growing dry rot in a nondestructive way. These dogs can detect a certain MVOC that is produced by Serpula lacrymans, the dry rot fungus, from several meters away; they can cover 20-50 rooms an hour and also search small areas inaccessible to humans.

David Miller says the surface area of visible mold is the best measure of exposure, though it is hard to determine accurately. Colony-forming units from airborne samples alone have no value. In order to determine the existence of hidden fungal growth in buildings, the method of taking air samples described in the American Industrial Hygiene Association’s Field Guide for the Determination of Biological Contaminants (1996) is valuable, because it provides a comparison of fungal species inside versus species outside. Other tools are being developed to measure individual exposures to fungi for research studies. Aside from the AIHA manual, a recent review of the methods for assessing fungal exposures can be found in: Dillon, H.K., J.D. Miller, W.G. Sorenson, J. Douwes and R.J. Jacobs (1999). “A review of methods applicable to the assessment of mold exposure to children,” Environmental Health Perspectives 107 (s.3): 473-480.


Before sampling is done, a plan has to be drawn up specifying which microorganisms will be looked for, where they might be found, likely sources, how the organisms will be located and quantified, and when and where samples will be collected.

There are many kinds of volumetric air samplers, among which the Andersen sampler is frequently mentioned. They draw in air from the room and discharge it with the bioaerosols onto a filter or sticky surfaces or agar plates.

Air samples can be used to get a count of “colony-forming units” (cfu, which are bacteria and fungi that start growing on the culture media) per cubic meter of air. If the colonies are easy to identify, the counts can be related to individual species. The cfu of mixed species may also be used as a broad index of microbial growth. When species are mixed, however, one or more species may be suppressed on the culture plate by competitors.

A well-known but unreliable way of taking a sample of bioaerosols in an area is to set out culture plates and let the spores and other bioaerosols settle on them. This method is rarely used today, because some organisms do not send out many spores, or have spores that are too light to settle out, or that die soon after they leave the colony.

The mold count can be increased hundreds or thousands of times by “aggressive sampling”—that is, by stirring up the air with a fan, or pounding on the wall. Higher counts are also had when there is traffic through a room, such as a schoolroom at the beginning or end of the day. So a great many facts and observations have to be recorded, and samples have to be taken by several different methods, in order to get reliable data.

There are no standard methods for getting information on airborne microorganisms, according to Brian Flannigan (in his paper,” Guidelines for Evaluation of Airborne Microbial Contamination of Buildings,” given at the 1994 Saratoga Springs conference). Assessment of only viable microorganisms may reveal as little as 1% of the total microbial airborne load, he says.

Samples of moldy materials (bulk samples) can be taken and pressed directly onto an agar plate, then cultured. Results are counted as colony-forming units per gram of material.

Samples of surface growth can be taken with sticky tape or a sterile swab, then transferred to a plate. This is a useful method for hard surfaces like the inside of an air duct.

An open and multidisciplinary approach is needed to make a complete, fast and efficient diagnosis of hidden mold problems in buildings. … [In the case of a Stachybotrys chartarum contaminated building], many critically important steps … are required to make your diagnosis a success story.

First, trust the occupants: if there is a complaint, there is a cause, even if it’s not obvious. Find it! Second, a thorough inspection of the premises and their ventilation is mandatory. Keep in mind that mold needs water and porous organic materials that can be hidden in the structures and not directly visible. Almost any building material can harbor fungal growth, if the available water activity is sufficient. Use the proper tools to find it. Third, if sampling is needed, be versatile: no sampling method is perfect. Adapt the sampling strategy to the situation and use an accredited mycology lab to count and identify fungi in your samples. Bear in mind that you are dealing with toxigenic mold and, depending on the extent of the contaminated surface, take proper action to keep occupants away from it and protect their health. Finally, after putting together all the data gathered in the field, always communicate it in a simple, straightforward way, with affordable step-by-step remedial: don’t forget that people want to get rid of their problem, not make their lives more complicated.

Claude Mainville, Sr. P. Eng.
President, Natur’air – Kiwatin Inc.
Montreal, QC H2L 1M1, Canada

[Reprinted with the author’s permission from the abstract of his paper, “Learning from Stachybotrys chartarum: How to Find Hidden Mold in Buildings,”given at the 1998 Bioaerosols Conference in Saratoga Springs, NY.]

Media and Methods

Opinions differ about which culture media work best.

A common medium used for fungi is malt extract agar. Xerophilic fungi like Aspergillus penicillioides grow better on a medium with a water activity (Aw) reduced by addition of salt, sugar or glycerol. The incubation temperature has to be within a certain range (18°C to 25°C for most fungi and as high as 55°C [99°F] for thermophilic species).

Sometimes, when time is short, polymerase chain reaction (PCR) will be used instead of culturing, because results can be had in hours rather than days or weeks, and identifications are certain and specific. PCR is especially good for identifying hard-to-grow, slow-growing and nonculturable organisms.

Even after samples are taken and cultures are grown, the findings have to be interpreted before remediation can begin, even for a small area or building. Interpretation may only consist of an individual’s weighing the evidence mentally, or consulting the relevant literature just to be sure. For a large building, however, all possible alternatives to each finding must be considered. There is a whole chapter on it by Harriet Burge et al. in the ACGIH book, Bioaerosols: Assessment and Control, but we will not go into that step here, except to warn that sometimes other microorganisms or even inorganic materials or sources outside the building can be at least partly responsible for symptoms of occupants. And toxins released by mold may greatly increase the effect of toxins from other sources.

Which Mold Species are Most Common? Most Toxic?

Opinion as to the most common species varies. A chapter on indoor mycology in North America (Building Mycology, ch. 11) says the most common fungal genera found in houses (present in 10 to 100% of samples) are Cladosporium, Penicillium, Alternaria, Streptomyces and Epicoccum. Brian Flannigan, who gave a paper, “Guidelines for Evaluation of Airborne Microbial Contamination of Buildings,” at the 1994 Saratoga Springs conference, says that the most common indoor molds are likely to be species of Cladosporium, Penicillium, Aspergillus and Eurotium. Fausta Gallo has identified Aspergillus and Penicillium as the most common species in libraries (1986, ICCROM).

Nominations for most toxic species also vary. Aspergillus fumigatus and Stachybotrys are two examples that Flannigan offers of moisture-loving toxic molds that can flourish indoors. He cites a Canadian guide on office buildings, which says that “Pathogenic fungi such as Aspergillus fumigatus, Histoplasma and Cryptococcus should not be present in significant numbers. The persistence of toxigenic molds such as Stachybotrys atra and Aspergillus versicolor in significant numbers requires investigation/action.”

Jeffrey Cooper and J. Michael Phillips listed the following five species as most toxic in a recent paper: Aspergillus flavus, A. fumigatus, A. versicolor, Fusarium moniliforme, and Stachybotrys chartarum. They say, “The detection of any toxigenic fungi indoors is considered unacceptable from a human health risk perspective. The confirmed presence of [any of these five species] requires urgent risk management decisions by building owners.” (“Assessment and Remediation of Toxigenic Fungal Contamination in Indoor Environments,” First NSF International Conference on Indoor Air Health, May 3-5, 1999, Denver, CO)

Several authors have pointed out that each type of building (homes, schools, office buildings) tends to have its own set of typical mold species. This is probably because each building type typically has its own characteristic “amplifiers” or sources and conditions, such as mattress dust and humid bathrooms in homes, leaky roofs and defective plumbing in schools, and poorly maintained HVAC systems in office buildings.

The mold counts found on the weather page of many newspapers have little to do with the indoor exposure to toxic mold spores. Outdoor molds are not normally a threat to human health. Many of them live on plant leaves or in forest litter, and are not found in great concentration except in ooutdoor manmade facilities like compost areas, dumps, and sawmills.

Sources of Information

the Aspergillus Web Site
“This site is designed to provide information on pathogenic Aspergilli for clinicians and scientific researchers. The site includes DNA sequence data, a comprehensive bibliographic database, laboratory protocols, treatment information and discussion groups. The Aspergillus Web Site is sponsored by Alza Corporation and Ortho Biotech Inc. and the sponsors have access to the Web Site address book–as do all other Aspergillus Web Site users. The European Science Foundation has also made a contribution to the maintenance of the site.”

Short Courses and Symposia

The Mid-Atlantic Environmental Health Resource Center has planned three courses this spring and summer in Pennsylvania, mainly for representatives of disaster response companies that deal with mold and moisture-related problems. They will be held April 10-11 (“Controlling Chronic Moisture and Microbial Problems in Buildings and Mechanical Systems”); April 12-13, “Damage Mitigation and Building Restoration for a Health Indoor Environment”; and 3 days in July (“Mold Remediation Worker/Supervisor”). MEHRC is at 3624 Market St., First Floor East, Philadelphia, PA 19104 (tel. 215/387-4096; fax 215/387-6321; http://www.mehrc.org).

The US EPA Region 8 and the University of Tulsa’s Center for Environmental Research and Technology (CERT) will be giving a short course in Denver, Mar. 8-9, 2000, entitled “Indoor Air Quality: Asthma and Allergen Control.” It will cover indoor air basics, public health issues, cleaning, remediation and indoor air solutions; the emphasis will not be on mold. Registration for people from the public sector is $190. Contact the University of Tulsa, Chemical Engineering Department, Attn: Indoor Air Program, 600 S. College Ave., Tulsa, OK 74104-3189 (918/631-3290; fax 918/631-3289 or 631-3268; http://www.utulsa.edu/IAQprogram).

The University of Tulsa will also give a longer course with a broader scope, for doctors and the medical community, in Dallas May 11-13. Announcements have not been sent out yet.


Fungi and Bacteria in Indoor Air Environments: Health Effects, Detection and Remediation. (Proceedings of the International Conference, Saratoga Springs, NY, Oct. 6-7, 1994). Editors: Eckardt Johanning and Chin S. Yang. Eastern New York Occupational Health Program, 1 CHP Plaza, Latham, NY 12110. 1995. 228 pp. This is the volume that includes the 7-page “Guidelines on Assessment and Remediation of Stachybotrys Atra in Indoor Environments.” It also includes “Legal Aspects of Indoor Air Quality,” by Guy Keith Vann.

Bioaerosols, Fungi and Mycotoxins: Health Effects, Assessment, Prevention and Control. Eckardt Johanning, ed. (Proceedings of the Third International Conference on Fungi, Mycotoxins and Bioaerosols, 1998, Saratoga Springs, NY) 638 pp. Available for $25.00 to participants (and $45 or 45 Euros to others, + $6 shipping). U.S. and Canada: order from Boyd Printing, 49 Sheridan Ave., Albany, NY 12210 (fax 518/436-7433). The last six papers, which are in a “Special Section” at the end, contain some material on assessment. “Learning from Stachybotrys Chartarum: How to Find Hidden Mold in Buildings,” by Claude Mainville et al. (see sidebar above), is an eminently readable narrative concerning a Montreal office building that had suffered water intrusion during the January 1998 ice storm. (He says, by the way, that the way to find hidden mold is to open up the structure.)

Bioaerosols: Assessment and Control. Janet Macher, ed. American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists, 1999. [Full reference on p. 60 of the last issue.]

Building Mycology: Management of Decay and Health in Buildings, by Jagjit Singh. 326 pp. E & F Spon, An Imprint of Chapman & Hall, 1994. About $122. Most of the text has to do with mold problems in England, but there is one chapter that describes North American problems. Well illustrated with color photographs and photomicrographs, drawings of building structure, graphs, and ordinary photographs of buildings—and of “rothounds” searching for dry rot. Cost: about $122, from Preservation Resource Group in Rockville, MD (301/309-2222; fax 301/279-7885).

The Preservation Resource Group book catalog lists 10 books under the heading “Building Pathology,” including Building Mycology, Dampness in Buildings, and The Growing Fungus. The company also sells borate based wood preservatives to treat decayed wood. It serves the needs of the historic preservation community, and also of homeowners who want to decontaminate and rebuild moldy parts of their houses.

“A Search for Moisture Sources,” by Jeffrey E. Christian, p. 71-81 in Bugs, Mold & Rot II: Workshop Proceedings, Nov. 16-17, 1993. William B. Rose and Anton TenWolde, eds. Building Environment and Thermal Envelope Council of the National Institute of Building Sciences, Washington, DC. 1993. Every conceivable source of water in a house is identified and its output quantified. Example: In a typical new house, a concrete basement will release 6.4 liters of moisture per day.

Proceedings of the First NSF International Conference on Indoor Air Health: Impacts, Issues and Solutions. May 3-5, 1999, Denver. ISSN # 1523-6080. NSF International, 789 Dixboro Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48105.

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