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Subject: Food products in museum collections

Food products in museum collections

From: Heather Dumka <hdumka<-a>
Date: Monday, June 2, 2008
Jackie Hoffman Chin <doublechin [at] earthlink__net> writes

>I am trying to find current guidelines used by other institutions
>for the storage of foodstuffs in museum collections. This is not a
>food or packaging museum so we do not have separate facilities for
>refrigeration of perishables. I am mostly interested in the
>guidelines that other museums may have developed for the
>retention/discarding of the perishable products within the
>containers they retain as artifacts.

While we have a similar problem at our museum, we have dealt with it
on a case by case basis.  Most of the foodstuffs are not
particularly unique and in discussion with the curator, they are
discarded (keeping the packaging as intact as possible).  A few food
items that are of potential interest in themselves (for exhibits or
research)are kept. These are generally sealed in plastic bags to
isolate them from the rest of the collection.  We also have some
cans of food from arctic expeditions and these are kept in the
freezers that we use for pest control.

Heather Dumka
Conservator - Objects
Glenbow Museum
130-9th Avenue SE
Calgary, AB T2G 0P3
Canada
403-268-4185
Fax: 403-265-9769


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