As well as temperature and RH, the Conservator also conducts pest monitoring. At The Manitoba Museum, we mostly check for insects. Sticky traps in storage and laboratory areas are checked; if a large number of insects are seen, we investigate, looking in the surrounding area more thoroughly. We often find one or two insects on the trap; one or two doesn’t indicate a problem, but is considered a normal condition. And not every insect is one that will feed on our collections.
Museum pests can include mice and squirrels, as well as insects. Although we have had a few problems with mice in the past, our current pest monitoring program focuses on insects.
As part of their training, Conservators learn about different aspects of the museum environment – temperature, RH, light, atmospheric pollutants – and how these can interact with objects to cause damage and deterioration. Conservators also learn about museum pests, and must become familiar with the common pests they will encounter. We keep examples of insects found in the Museum, for reference and comparison.