A couple of weeks ago, I went along to an IPM training day at the Platt Fields costume Gallery in Fallowfield, Manchester. IPM, or Integrated Pest Management is a system used in order to manage pests through monitoring and documenting in order to hopefully notice any potential problems before any damage has occurred to museum collections. This is achieved through 4 main elements; Detection, Identification, Prevention & Control.
The training was delivered by Jane Thompson Webb, a Collections Care Officer with Birmingham Museums. The presentation delivered went through the various pests that are potentially damaging within museum collections, and what to look out for when it came to different pests. For example, Anobium punctatum, the woodworm, causes damage to the sapwood of many hardwoods such as oak and ash, by creating small, 2mm-ish holes as the larvae bore into the wood.
Then, on Friday, I spent some time with Sarah Potter, the Preventative Conservator for the Museum. She showed me some of the traps she used, and gave me a brief idea of the processes she goes through when checking the traps.
Traps are checked quarterly for any signs of pest infestation and are located in the stores, on the gallery floors themselves and various other locations. Sarah had only checked the traps last month, so they aren’t due a full check until September but we still managed to go into some of the stores and check a couple of the traps, just to give me an idea of where they are generally located.
The above traps (one a pheromone moth trap, the other an adhesive trap) both show no signs of pest infestation.
It was good to spend time doing this, as it gave me more of an understanding of IPM and how important it is to control everything right down to the environments themselves. My plan is to help Sarah later on in the year, when the traps are next scheduled to be checked, in order to get more experience and knowledge of IPM.
In the meantime, I’ll definitely be keeping my eyes on some of the traps in the Herbarium, just incase!