Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Freezers: Not just for freezing food anymore

The museum has a freezer. In fact, we're going to get a bigger and better freezer in our new facility, but this little freezer is doing okay for the time being.
Pest Freezing

Um, okay, so we have a freezer. That's kind of boring. But why does a museum have a freezer? For hoarding microwave dinners and popsicles? No! For Integrated Pest Management!

Some bugs eat the kinds of things we keep in museums: fur, leather, paper, glue, horn, pretty much anything. But spraying collections with chemicals can be bad for the objects, not to mention the staff, so most museums use an IPM approach. IPM tries to be environmentally friendly and use methods other than pesticides to control potential infestations. And one of those methods is freezing (.pdf).

Freezing an object once will kill many pests. Freezing an object twice will kill most larvae/eggs. And that's what I did recently - sent this mystery box through a freeze-thaw-freeze-thaw cycle.
Pest Freezing

The box is wrapped in two layers of plastic sheeting and masking tape. The barriers should prevent condensation from occurring on the object (which is Not Good) - condensation should instead occur on the outside of the barrier. And not all objects should be frozen either. Anything painted, metal, glass, and teeth are among the objects which should not be treated in this manner.

But what's in the box? Well, I'll get to that on Friday - I think this post is getting long enough.

PS: I've spruced up the sidebar with some new widgets. What do you think? If you know of some great widget (or better ones than I've found), let me know!

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