This one-day workshop will provide an overview of environments and pests that can damage natural sciences collections. It will equip learners with practical solutions and skills to help them identify, prevent and control this at their own institutions. Current best practice will be explored through practical activities, case studies, tips and tools, with opportunities for questions and discussion.
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. It is accompanied by other sessions in the programme on handling, packing and storage of natural sciences collections; cleaning 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. 15 delegates
What will you learn?
By the end of the session you will be able to:
- Describe key environmental parameters that can cause damage to natural sciences collections
- Monitor these parameters at your institution and recognize when they are outside ideal range
- Take practical steps to prevent and control damage to collections
- Identify key common pests of UK natural sciences collections
- Develop and act on simple integrated pest management policy and procedure
- Recognise situations that may require specialist conservation intervention
How does this course support you to achieve and maintain Arts Council England’s Accreditation Standard?
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, fluid-preserved specimens, 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.
Matt Williams is the sole employee responsible for the collections at the Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution, which contains fossils, minerals, botanical and zoological specimens, as well as ethological and archaeological artefacts and an extensive historic library and archive. Matt works with a team of volunteers to ensure the BRLSI's highly significant natural sciences collection is well cared for. Over the past 13 years he has developed practical solutions to ensure it is protected from adverse environments and pests. Matt is an Associate of the Museums Association with an MSc in Palaeobiology and has recently guided the BRLSI through its Museum Accreditation application (currently recommended for full accreditation by their assessor and waiting the final panels review).
Claudia Hildebrandt is based at the University of Bristol where she is responsible for the care of over 100,000 fossils, rocks and minerals and a unique library of historical maps and correspondence. She works closely with academics and museum specialists to ensure the safe and appropriate use of any of the specimens in research, teaching and during public events. Claudia is a designated Radiation Protection Supervisor and has experience in handling geological asbestos specimens. She has spent the first 6 years of her career working in a regional museum where she was supported by an experienced team of conservators. Over the past 5 years she has developed strategies to implement best collection care practice in a research and teaching focused organisation without in-house conservation expertise.
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 or use the museum café.