Part of my work involves looking after the collections which are kept in the stores and aren’t on public display.
Currently I am very slowly working my way through the thousands of drawers of specimens in the entomology collection. The fats within the beetles have corroded the pins which hold them upright in the drawers, this green verdigris corrosion grows within the specimen and can eventually lead to them bursting apart.
We have found that the best method of removing the pins is to hold the insect in some very hot water for a few seconds which softens the insect and enables you to remove the pin and to insert a new one. It’s very slow work trying to avoid knocking off the legs and antenna of the insects.
I expect to spend a few years working through the collection, alongside exhibition and loan work.
The photo’s below show a drawer before and after conservation.
Beware they show close up’s of beetles!