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Speaking of vacuuming…

Lisa vacuums a bison

Lisa vacuums a bison

A significant part of the conservator’s job is cleaning. At The Manitoba Museum, our numerous open dioramas require regular vacuuming. The larger dioramas require a team of staff including the Conservators, Diorama Artist, Exhibit Assistant and whichever Collections Assistants we can round up. We try to get to every diorama once a year.

Vacuuming through a screen in the Boreal Forest diorama

Vacuuming through a screen in the Boreal Forest diorama

The vacuuming must be done carefully, so parts are not pulled off. That’s why we use screens, and vacuums that are portable and have adjustable suction.

We use household vacuums for most things

We use household vacuums for most things

Brushing dust into the vacuum

Brushing dust into the vacuum

Sometimes, for vacuuming small and/or fragile artefacts or specimens, we put screening over the vacuum nozzle, or use microattachments made for cleaning computers and other electronic equipment.

a piece of window screen can prevent the loss of any parts

a piece of window screen can prevent the loss of any parts

Dirt and dust can be damaging. They may attract insect pests, can be aesthetically disfiguring or obscure important information, and can even cause physical harm by, for example, microscopically tearing fragile threads on an old textile.

The most important thing we remember is to remove as much dirt and dust as possible, without harming the object.

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