Posts Tagged ‘museum’

 We have many hazardous objects within our collections, The Botany department had asked me to have a look at a small bowl earthenware bowl which contained Curare, and to pack it for safe storage.

Curare is the poison used on the tips of poison arrows, and is found in Peru and Ecuador.  It is derived from plants, and is a resinous dark brown to black mass with a sticky to hard consistency, it can also include snake, scorpion, frog and centipede venom. Preparations are often found in earthenware pots, such as this one, but also in gourds and bamboo. The poison has a very long life and can kill it ingested or enters the bloodstream, so caution needed to be taken. I worked within a fume cupboard wearing a mask, gloves and lab coat, these were disposed of after.










The bowl was currently stored within a glass jar, which offered it no protection.

I decided to use Plastazote, an inert foam to help support the bowl within the jar and to help prevent it from moving around.











You can see the palm leaf on the top of the jar which was originally used to seal it.










Finally I added some Hazard tape to seal the lid, to prevent it being opened accidentally, and added a Safety Data Sheet to be stored with the object in order to let any member of staff or volunteers know what is within the jar.

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Many of the wrapped animals and birds have now made their progress through the gallery to be frozen on the next stage on their journey, looking like very badly disguised Christmas presents in their plastic wrappings.

The freezing will hopefully destroy any pests lurking in the their fur or feathers and they will then be safe to bring into the lab and storage areas for any conservation treatment they need.


Packed and wrapped for progress



Polar bear in Egypt; not an image that most people would ever dream of!


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