Guideline 20.2

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Guideline 20.2: Exhibit design discourages the presence of pests

What exhibit design strategies discourage pests?

Use tightly sealed cases to block access by pests

  • Gaps measuring smaller than 0.3mm prevent the entry of almost all museum pests. Tightly sealed cases prevent or deter pest infestation.


Use furnishing designs that do not create harborage for pests

  • Eliminate undercuts and gaps in furniture that collect dust and make cleaning difficult.
  • Build a solid kick-plate along the bottom edge so that dust cannot accumulate below furnishings.


Avoid construction materials that harbor pests

  • Organic building materials such as wood boards, thatch, unfinished timbers and composite boards are a potential source of infestation. Flooring materials, including dirt, sand, pebbles and earth can also introduce pests.


Avoid using organic materials for props, or use only with caution. Animal products, wool, feathers, fur, vegetal matter, wood, and preserved foods may introduce pests or molds into the museum.

  • Use reproduction botanical models, such as silk or wax replicas, to avoid the problem. Original natural history specimens must be pre-treated before inclusion in exhibits.
  • Use freeze-dried vegetal materials where possible.
  • Inspect ALL materials for infestation before bringing them into the museum.
  • Fumigate or freeze organic material before introduction, if in doubt. This kills eggs and larvae. (Mobile truck freezers can be utilized on site.)


Use structural modifications to block pest access

  • Seal areas of entry such as cracks and gaps around doors and windows and cracks and crannies in walls to prevent infestation.
  • Install insect screens on windows or doors, if it is not possible to keep them closed.


Ensure the exhibit layout allows for adequate cleaning

  • Provide access behind and around exhibited objects, to ensure that exhibit areas can be adequately cleaned and inspected for pests (e.g., underneath and behind display areas).



[For more information on safe materials, props and visual effects see Standard *.]