San Diego Natural History Museum--Your Nature Connection[San Diego Natural History Museum: Collections Care & Conservation]
Preventive Conservation at the Museum--behind the scenes

What is it?
Who does it?
Where do we do it?

Caring for Collections

What is it?

Preventive conservation is a program to prolong or extend the existence of objects by taking actions to lessen deterioration and damage. The emphasis is on prevention, that is, trying to prevent or slow that which causes deterioration and damage.

Preventive conservation requires that we identify and evaluate current risks to specimens and collections, AND we must develop strategies to manage the risks. It's a type of risk management.

To identify and evaluate risks we must consider:

  • the initial preparation of the specimen from a sample;
  • the materials that comprise the specimen and its collection or exhibit environment;
  • appropriate physical support and handling of specimens; and
  • long-term protection from light radiation, inappropriate temperatures and relative humidity, physical forces, water, fire, pests, pollutants, theft, vandalism, and neglect.

Who does it?
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Collections | Caring for Collections | BRCC