Vila et al., 2014: PREVENTIVE CONSERVATION AT MCNB
INTRODUCTION
Replacement of permanent packaging
The first step was to remove the unsuitable or
Preventive conservation is a discipline that
damaged storage materials in order to proceed
aims to improve the conservation conditions of
with specimen dry cleaning. Subsequently a
museum collections before any damage or
system of permanent custom made packaging
deterioration occurs, and involves the related
was made for each specimen or specimen
activities to their surrounding space (ambient
group, using polyethylene boxes with a lid
climate
conditions,
illumination,
storage
(Standard Europe®) (Figure 1D). The interior
systems, etc). Its objectives are to prevent or
of such boxes was covered with polyethylene
minimize
deterioration
and
delay
aging
foam, which served as a basis and fixation for
processes. Actions taken for the dry oological
the specimen. The contact area between the
and arthropod collection of MCNB are described
foam
and
specimen
was
secured
with
herein.
polyethylene fabric (Tyvek®) (Figure 1B) and,
if necessary, special protections were applied
(Fuller et al. 1992; Kishinami 1992; Davidson
MCNB DRY OOLOGICAL COLLECTION
2012; Figure 1D).
The MCNB chordate collection consists of
34.500 specimens, of which 724 are bird eggs,
Results
corresponding to 632 registered units. This
group includes the oological collection which
The entire oological collection has been
arrived at the museum as a deposit from the
changed between December 2012 to March
Royal Academy of Sciences and Arts on the
2013 using all the criteria and methodology
22nd of October 1926, as well as specimens
that we mentioned before. Hence, long-term
from the collection of Barcelona´s Zoological
conservation
was
assured
due
to
the
Park, provided over the decades of the 70's and
improvement of storage materials and a minor
80's.
manipulation of specimens.
Actions taken
MCNB DRY ARTHROPOD COLLECTION
The majority of the storage materials in this
The MCNB arthropod collection consists of
collection were not of the highest quality, thus
nearly two million specimens, the oldest dating
not ensuring its long-term conservation or
back to the late 19th century. For the purposes
facilitating
its
handling
or
consultation.
of
this
action,
approximately
150,000
Therefore, it was decided that overall actions
specimens were selected, encased in 1,145
should be taken towards replacing all the
entomological boxes of different typology and
inadequate specimen packaging (Figures 1A,
arranged in 28 wooden cabinets.
1C).
In order to improve the collection´s packaging,
Actions taken
criteria such as compatibility, quality, durability
and harmlessness were taken into account,
The objective of this action was the removal of
seeking materials that are chemically neutral
any harmful elements, pest control and
and devoid of acids or other harmful
improvement of the storage systems. As in the
components.
previous case the employed criteria were based
on
compatibility,
quality,
durability
and
Attention was also paid to label and tag
harmlessness of the chosen materials, which
visibility. These should be readable without
should be chemically neutral and exempt from
having to remove specimens from their housing
acids or other harmful components. The applied
and packaging. Standardization of dimensions
methods were adapted to each specimen and
and type of container, wrapper and /or support,
container.
and uniformity of techniques and materials
used for each specimen group were also taken
Methodology
into account. This was all done having in mind
the saving of space and materials, facilitating
To improve the storage system, the damaged
access to the specimens and searching for
entomological
boxes
were
repaired
or
optimal
insulation
characteristics
from
substituted, non-standard outer labels were
temperature, relative humidity (Prieto and
replaced, the box exterior was cleaned with
Uribe 2009; Szczepanowska et al. 2013) and
cellulose paper and glass lid boxes treated with
vibration of the storage area.
a neutral detergent.
66
Journal of Paleontological Techniques