JAIC 1996, Volume 35, Number 1, Article 3 (pp. 23 to 43)
JAIC online
Journal of the American Institute for Conservation
JAIC 1996, Volume 35, Number 1, Article 3 (pp. 23 to 43)

A HISTORY OF PEST CONTROL MEASURES IN THE ANTHROPOLOGY COLLECTIONS, NATIONAL MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY, SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION

LISA GOLDBERG



4 EFFECTS OF PESTICIDE & FUMIGANT TREATMENTS ON COLLECTIONS

Little is known about the potential changes that can occur to objects treated with individual or multiple pesticide or fumigant treatments. Much of the available research concerns the effects of these chemicals on individual materials under relatively short-term conditions. More recent research on the effects of pesticides and fumigants on museum collections has indicated that these chemicals can cause a wide variety of changes in metals, waxes, resins, oils, pigments, dyes, cellulosic, and protein-based materials (Dawson 1988; Baker et al. 1990).

The anthropological collections under consideration here were treated over a long period of time. They are often constructed from diverse or multiple materials. For these collections, observed changes resulting from pesticide and fumigant treatments are often not immediately visible due to visual evidence of wear, use, or manufacture and previous conservation efforts. Many items exhibit stains, tide lines, or areas of white, crystalline bloom, and a determination of their source must be considered on an individual basis.

Many of these collections exhibit relatively little evidence of serious pest damage, indicating that past pest management techniques were successful. Any changes in the materials themselves must be counterbalanced by the recognition that past pesticide and fumigant treatments have resulted in the preservation of these collections for future generations.


Copyright 1996 American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works