Museums are institutions that acquire, build and preserve collections, and help provide a better understanding of our world. Each museum plays a special role in terms of collecting, preservation, education and dissemination of knowledge.
Museums are institutions that acquire, build and preserve collections, and help provide a better understanding of our world. Each museum plays a special role in terms of collecting, preservation, education and dissemination of knowledge.

© 2010, Musée de la nature et des sciences inc. All Rights Reserved.

All museums assemble collections, that is, groupings of objects having a defined set of characteristics, chosen in relation to criteria that vary from museum to museum.
Collection-building, therefore, has a fundamental importance for museums, which set acquisition criteria to meet their respective missions. A natural sciences museum will develop collections of flora and fauna; a museum of fine arts will preserve the canvases and sculptures by the well-known artists in that region, while a historical museum will be more interested in objects of a particular era.

All museums assemble collections, that is, groupings of objects having a defined set of characteristics, chosen in relation to criteria that vary from museum to museum.
Collection-building, therefore, has a fundamental importance for museums, which set acquisition criteria to meet their respective missions. A natural sciences museum will develop collections of flora and fauna; a museum of fine arts will preserve the canvases and sculptures by the well-known artists in that region, while a historical museum will be more interested in objects of a particular era.

© 2010, Musée de la nature et des sciences inc. All Rights Reserved.

Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)

Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)

Musée de la nature et des sciences de Sherbrooke

© 2010, Musée de la nature et des sciences inc. All Rights Reserved.


Arrowhead

Arrowhead

Musée de la nature et des sciences de Sherbrooke

© 2010, Musée de la nature et des sciences inc. All Rights Reserved.


Conservation, the work carried out by the curator and those who work in the museum, involves maintaining the objects in the collections in good condition and keeping them safe from alteration. The appropriate conditions must be maintained in various rooms of the museum to preserve the objects from wear caused by the passage of time.

The preparation of the object will have an impact on its preservation. In the natural sciences, there are many methods of preserving specimens. Taxidermy is well suited to the needs of bird and mammal collections, while drying is ideal to preserve insects and plants. Soft-bodied animals such as caterpillars and molluscs are often preserved in liquids, such as formol or ethanol, while other methods such as lyophilization are also used.

Lyophilization is carried out in several steps. It requires the specimens to be frozen and water to be removed by a process of sublimation, in which the ice crystals pass directly from the solid state to the gaseous state, without passing through the liquid state. Another name for this process is freeze-drying. In museology, this technique is recognized for restoring objects that have rested in wat Read More
Conservation, the work carried out by the curator and those who work in the museum, involves maintaining the objects in the collections in good condition and keeping them safe from alteration. The appropriate conditions must be maintained in various rooms of the museum to preserve the objects from wear caused by the passage of time.

The preparation of the object will have an impact on its preservation. In the natural sciences, there are many methods of preserving specimens. Taxidermy is well suited to the needs of bird and mammal collections, while drying is ideal to preserve insects and plants. Soft-bodied animals such as caterpillars and molluscs are often preserved in liquids, such as formol or ethanol, while other methods such as lyophilization are also used.

Lyophilization is carried out in several steps. It requires the specimens to be frozen and water to be removed by a process of sublimation, in which the ice crystals pass directly from the solid state to the gaseous state, without passing through the liquid state. Another name for this process is freeze-drying. In museology, this technique is recognized for restoring objects that have rested in water or which have been water-damaged.

In the natural sciences, lyophilization makes it possible to preserve an entire specimen, while keeping its shape and in many cases, its colours. As this method does not require chemical products, it is the most ecological choice. It also offers a major advantage when manipulating specimens and presenting them in exhibits. Preservation in the long-term remains, however, a problem, depending on the type of specimen.

© 2010, Musée de la nature et des sciences inc. All Rights Reserved.

Lactarius sp

Lactarius sp

Musée de la nature et des sciences de Sherbrooke

© 2010, Musée de la nature et des sciences inc. All Rights Reserved.


Freeze-dried Spotted Salamander (Ambystoma maculatum)

Freeze-dried Spotted Salamander (Ambystoma maculatum)

Musée de la nature et des sciences de Sherbrooke

© 2010, Musée de la nature et des sciences inc. All Rights Reserved.


In museums, one usually finds a place specially arranged for storing collections. A large percentage of these specimens are not exhibited but are stored in the Museum’s collection storage facilities. Thus, visitors to exhibits at the museum have only a small view of what is preserved in museums.
In museums, one usually finds a place specially arranged for storing collections. A large percentage of these specimens are not exhibited but are stored in the Museum’s collection storage facilities. Thus, visitors to exhibits at the museum have only a small view of what is preserved in museums.

© 2010, Musée de la nature et des sciences inc. All Rights Reserved.

Collection storage facilities at the Musée de la nature et des sciences de Sherbrooke

Collection storage facilities at the Musée de la nature et des sciences de Sherbrooke

Musée de la nature et des sciences de Sherbrooke

© 2010, Musée de la nature et des sciences inc. All Rights Reserved.


In addition to providing the appropriate ambient conditions, the conservation of objects sometimes requires very special care. This is provided by the curator and the staff in the conservation department. Treatment will depend on the type of object and the condition in which it was received. It may require only a superficial cleaning or the creation of a support to stabilize it.
In addition to providing the appropriate ambient conditions, the conservation of objects sometimes requires very special care. This is provided by the curator and the staff in the conservation department. Treatment will depend on the type of object and the condition in which it was received. It may require only a superficial cleaning or the creation of a support to stabilize it.

© 2010, Musée de la nature et des sciences inc. All Rights Reserved.

Curator working in the collection storage facilities

Curator working in the collection storage facilities

Musée de la nature et des sciences de Sherbrooke

© 2010, Musée de la nature et des sciences inc. All Rights Reserved.


Example of a support for the jawbone of a whale

Example of a support for the jawbone of a whale

Musée de la nature et des sciences de Sherbrooke

© 2010, Musée de la nature et des sciences inc. All Rights Reserved.


Among the many roles attributed to a museum by society, education is one of the most important. Museums become a natural extension of the school. It is not surprising that many students visit the exhibits at the museum and participate in activities that help them to discover many aspects of the world around them.
Among the many roles attributed to a museum by society, education is one of the most important. Museums become a natural extension of the school. It is not surprising that many students visit the exhibits at the museum and participate in activities that help them to discover many aspects of the world around them.

© 2010, Musée de la nature et des sciences inc. All Rights Reserved.

Animation at the Musée de la nature et des sciences de Sherbrooke

Animation at the Musée de la nature et des sciences de Sherbrooke

Musée de la nature et des sciences de Sherbrooke

© 2010, Musée de la nature et des sciences inc. All Rights Reserved.


Outreach involves making accessible the collections and the knowledge they represent. The permanent and travelling exhibits, articles, catalogues and, more than ever today, the electronic media, are also means of outreach for museums.
Outreach involves making accessible the collections and the knowledge they represent. The permanent and travelling exhibits, articles, catalogues and, more than ever today, the electronic media, are also means of outreach for museums.

© 2010, Musée de la nature et des sciences inc. All Rights Reserved.

Exhibit at the Musée de la nature et des sciences de Sherbrooke

Exhibit at the Musée de la nature et des sciences de Sherbrooke

Musée de la nature et des sciences de Sherbrooke

© 2010, Musée de la nature et des sciences inc. All Rights Reserved.


Working with the conservator and the museologists, the curator is one of the key actors in museums. He is deeply involved in acquisitions, preservation and promoting the collections. His main tasks are to acquire, document and classify the objects in the collection.
Working with the conservator and the museologists, the curator is one of the key actors in museums. He is deeply involved in acquisitions, preservation and promoting the collections. His main tasks are to acquire, document and classify the objects in the collection.

© 2010, Musée de la nature et des sciences inc. All Rights Reserved.

In summary, the curator is the collection builder. In fact, like any collector, he decides which objects are missing from the collection, and he researches them in order to acquire them. Purchase, collection and donation are all ways of enriching the collections.
In summary, the curator is the collection builder. In fact, like any collector, he decides which objects are missing from the collection, and he researches them in order to acquire them. Purchase, collection and donation are all ways of enriching the collections.

© 2010, Musée de la nature et des sciences inc. All Rights Reserved.

A well documented collection is made up of objects with their own data and information. The name of the donor, the author or the collector, its provenance, history, use and anecdotes about it are all useful information that makes the object unique.


A well documented collection is made up of objects with their own data and information. The name of the donor, the author or the collector, its provenance, history, use and anecdotes about it are all useful information that makes the object unique.


© 2010, Musée de la nature et des sciences inc. All Rights Reserved.

Storage collections at the Musée de la nature et des sciences de Sherbrooke

Storage collections at the Musée de la nature et des sciences de Sherbrooke

Musée de la nature et des sciences de Sherbrooke

© 2010, Musée de la nature et des sciences inc. All Rights Reserved.


Classification consists of organizing the objects in a collection into different categories. Similar objects or those that share common characteristics may be grouped together. For example, in a collection of birds, the ducks would be grouped together in one place, and in another, the woodpeckers. In another type of museum, classification of music instruments by their period is one possible perspective. The goal of classification is to facilitate the study of the collections and, as well, the retrieval of objects held in the collection storage facilities.
Classification consists of organizing the objects in a collection into different categories. Similar objects or those that share common characteristics may be grouped together. For example, in a collection of birds, the ducks would be grouped together in one place, and in another, the woodpeckers. In another type of museum, classification of music instruments by their period is one possible perspective. The goal of classification is to facilitate the study of the collections and, as well, the retrieval of objects held in the collection storage facilities.

© 2010, Musée de la nature et des sciences inc. All Rights Reserved.

Ducks in the storage collections of the Musée de la nature et des sciences de Sherbrooke

Ducks in the storage collections of the Musée de la nature et des sciences de Sherbrooke

Musée de la nature et des sciences de Sherbrooke

© 2010, Musée de la nature et des sciences inc. All Rights Reserved.


Woodpeckers in the storage collections of the  Musée de la nature et des sciences de Sherbrooke

Woodpeckers in the storage collections of the Musée de la nature et des sciences de Sherbrooke

Musée de la nature et des sciences de Sherbrooke

© 2010, Musée de la nature et des sciences inc. All Rights Reserved.


Learning Objectives

• Define what is meant by preservation;

• Describe the steps in preservation;

• Analyze the sequence of conservation;

• Highlight tools, objects and procedure in the science and technology;

• communicate in the language used in science and technology.


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