The Getty Conservation Institute (GCI) offered several courses in pest management and control in museums. The first course, held in 1994, examined eradication procedures and was designed for conservators, collection managers, and other museum personnel responsible for overseeing pest management policies and activities within their institutions. Course topics included integrated pest management as part of an overall preventive conservation strategy; identification of insect pests and the damage they cause; methods to prevent infestations; insect pest eradication by means of chemical fumigants, inert gases, and freezing; and options for combating infestations. The course reviewed techniques for pest management and control and presented information on the use of nitrogen as a non-toxic means of eradication -- a technique that had been the subject of extensive study by the scientific program of the GCI as part of its Nitrogen Anoxia Research.
In 1996, a similar course was organized by the GCI, in partnership with the Conservation Unit of the Museums and Galleries Commission of the United Kingdom (now called re:source, The Council for Museums, Archives and Libraries). This course included greater emphasis on preventing infestations, rather than on responding to infestations after they occur, when chemicals extremely toxic to humans and harmful to objects in museum collections are needed. The course considered nontoxic eradication methods such as thermal control and the use of inert gases. Practical exercises included a visit to a local museum where participants were able to carry out a practice inspection with the objective of developing an integrated pest management plan, and sessions in setting up and carrying out a mock inert-gas treatment of objects.
Related articles in Conservation, the GCI Newsletter
- Nitrogen Anoxia Research (Fall, 1995)