Eton College NHM: Butterfly Conservation
Steadier hands (needed) in large.
I spent the day in the museum with the conservators: they were assessing and repairing butterfly specimens as part of the ongoing conservation work required to maintain the extensive natural history collections. It was fascinating to see their delicate work, assessing and documenting the condition of the specimens, identifying damaged or unstable specimens, removing and matching up damaged parts (inc. replacing and reattaching lost abdomens and wings...). Pins were used both to mount the specimens (using polystyrene cups as supports) and to make little scaffolds to support the wings and abdomens while the clear glue sets. We even talked about making substitute parts when the (say) abdomen has gone missing; I'll see that tomorrow, as well as working on some plant specimens. The conservators also work on the taxidermy mammals and birds, and on keeping all of the exhibits and (various) collections free of pests, dust, and detritus.
I took loads of photos of the intricate work, partly because they work under photographic halogen light, the continuous light from which made for interesting photographic opportunities. They can all be seen on Flickr (right from here).
- Nikon D800