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?

Cartoon of pest eating book, copyright 1993 VMNH

© 1993 VMNH

Caring for Collections

Where do we do it?

Everywhere in the museum.

Obviously preventive conservation techniques are more critical in areas where the specimens are stored, exhibited, and used for programs and research. However, actions in one part of the building can affect another. For example, we have to be aware of how food is handled everywhere in the museum--food invites pests which love to eat specimens! So we are careful with the food used at receptions, not just during the reception but with careful housekeeping afterwards. And we ask staff to keep lunches and snacks in refrigerators or sealed containers--even the small packets of ketchup are attractive to some pests!

And it's a balancing act! We acquire the specimens to use them. But the way we use them sometimes causes them to deteriorate and be damaged. On the other hand, some of the conservation techniques might keep us from using the specimens as we originally intended.

So we have to evaluate the risks and make decisions.

Preventive Conservation at your home or work
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