Take the Feather Conservation Survey!

Please consider participating in a conservation community survey on methods and materials used to preserve and care for feathers: Take the Survey! This community survey will guide our research plan. If you are a conservator or preservation professional who works (or has worked) with feather materials, please consider being a contributor. Some important points: The…

Continuing Conservation Research Challenges: Impacts of Cleaning, Pesticides, and Restoration of Color in Feathers

In September of 2018, The American Museum of Natural History (AMNH), in partnership with the Yale Institute for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage (IPCH) and UCLA/Getty Master’s Program in the Conservation of Archaeological and Ethnographic Materials (UCLA/Getty), received a grant from the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to fund conservation research over a…

Dyed Fur Samples: Part 2

Fur-Mounting System We next needed a method of mounting the deer and fox furs so that they could be dyed and exposed in the test chamber. [See Part 1 of this series for an explanation on why we chose deer and fox furs.] Acquiring a series of meaningful color measurements from dyed fur demands a sample…

Dyed Fur Samples: Part 1

The first phase of our lightfastness testing aimed to establish the lightfastness of the Orasol® and similar Sorasolve metal-complex solvent dyes in isolation‒ that is, in the absence of a binder, and without a chemically active substrate that could potentially influence the behavior of the dyes or interfere with the measurement of color change. (See…

Surveying Historic Taxidermy Part 3: Results

Our condition survey of historic mammalian taxidermy in the American Museum of Natural History’s Department of Mammalogy (see previous post), supplied an understanding of the most common condition issues affecting them, and clearly displayed their probable causes. Cracks, Splits, and Dust: Responses to Environment It is not unusual to find cracks and splits in historic…

Surveying Historic Taxidermy Part 2: Fun Finds

At its outset, execution of our inventory and condition survey of taxidermy mounts in storage in the American Museum of Natural History’s Department of Mammalogy (see previous post) required clarification of what exactly can and cannot be considered “taxidermy.” What exactly is taxidermy? The word taxidermy is derived from the Greek words “taxis” meaning arrangement,…