This one-day workshop will help non-specialists assess natural science objects, determine if they need to be cleaned, choose which can and should be cleaned, and select from a range of simple methods and materials the most appropriate method to use. The day will focus on bones, shells, fossils and minerals as well as some taxidermy. The day will include talks, demonstrations and practical sessions to try out a range of materials and methods. The sessions will also consider recent case studies of cleaning natural science collections.
The workshop is part of the John Ellerman Foundation funded SWANS (South West Area Natural Sciences) collections project, supporting skills and networks for museums and heritage organisations who hold publicly available natural sciences collections in the South West region. It follows foundation workshop An Introduction to Working with Natural Sciences Collections delivered by the project team in April 2016 and is accompanied by other sessions in the programme on environment and pests; handling, packing and storage of natural sciences specimens; display of natural history collections and working with entomology collections.
Participating institutions which have signed the project's charter will receive a FREE take-home kit of materials and tools to support them to implement learning.
Who should attend?
Staff and volunteers who work with or manage natural sciences collections in the museum and heritage sector in the south west region. The session is suitable for those who have no or limited experience of working with these collections, or would like refresher training.
Max. 8 delegates
What will you learn?
By the end of the session you will be able to:
- Examine an object and determine if the surface is safe to clean
- Identify potential risks and hazards
- Be aware of the need to remove only loose surface dust and the risk of removing valuable information from the object
- Choose what to clean
- Choose suitable materials and methods to use
- Use the chosen method appropriately
- Record the procedure adequately
The course supports the following Requirements of the Accreditation Standard:
2.4 Care and Conservation Policy and 2.6 Care and Conservation Plan – your Policy must be based on a combination of preventive and remedial conservation, so it is essential to know how far to go when treating an object. The techniques you will learn will enable you to draw up a practical Care and Conservation Plan that sets out procedures and identifies actions to improve collections care in your museum.
Helena Jaeschke is an accredited conservator (PACR) who provides advice and support on collection care to the museums of the southwest as the SWMDP Conservation Development Officer. She has worked on a range of natural science specimens including geology, invertebrates, fossil and sub-fossil material, taxidermy, bone and shell, as well as associated scientific models and instruments. She has been providing training for museums since 2005. She is a Fellow of the International Institute of Conservation.
Deborah Hutchinson has been Geology Curator at Bristol Museum & Art Gallery since 2013, where she has devised and delivered a systematic cleaning programme for the four permanent geology galleries. This involved in-depth cleaning of geology display cases, specimen mounts and geological specimens along with the cleaning of major large geological specimens such as the Charmouth Ichthyosaur and a Giant Irish Elk. Deborah also trains and manages specialist geology volunteers who deliver a collections care programme on a project basis. She has a BSc in Geology, MSc in Palaeobiology and a PGCE specialising in Earth Sciences
Isla Gladstone SWANS project lead and Senior Curator for natural sciences at Bristol Museum & Art Gallery, and Roz Bonnet Museum Development Support Officer for SWMDP will also be on hand for the day.
Please note: refreshments will be provided, but attendees should bring lunch.