Guideline 20.1

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Guideline 20.1: Museum policies are instituted to eliminate pests

What policies can discourage the presence of pests?

It is essential to maintain a clean environment free of food and dust, which is attractive to egg-laying adult insects. Pests should also be deterred from entering the exhibit environment. Organic materials on which pests could hitch a ride should be thoroughly inspected before being brought into the exhibit building, and all gaps that could allow pests access into the building should be closed or sealed.
Policies that deter pests include:

  • Receptions that include food are not held in the galleries
  • Food is prohibited near galleries
  • Windows are kept closed
  • The museum avoids using organic construction and furnishing materials that could harbor pests (wool carpets, old wood)
  • All organic materials are inspected for infestation before they are brought into the museum
  • Structural repairs are carried out promptly; cracks in walls and gaps around windows and doors are sealed to prevent pests getting access to the museum.
  • Housekeeping maintains a clean environment and removes dust.
  • Landscaping surrounding the museum does not attract or harbor pests
  • Effective monitoring is conducted to identify a pest outbreak immediately
  • A pest control program, such as an Integrated Pest Management Program (IPM), is instituted and staff training provided
  • The museum budget includes funds for IPM program and maintenance.

Fumigants and pesticides should not be used for routine maintenance because of health concerns and the potential damage to objects, such as corrosion of metals, embrittlement of leathers, and alteration of dyes.

How is an IPM Program implemented?

There are several good web resources with information on implementing an IPM program in collection holding institutions

  • The Museumpests.net website created by the Integrated Pest Management Working Group contains information on the four main elements of an IPM program: prevention, monitoring, identification and remediation.
  • Collection Trust's What's Eating Your Collection? organizes its resources into two main sections: Identify & Solve and Pest Recording. The site also maintains an extensive bibliography.