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Subject: Plant specimens

Plant specimens

From: Donna Jean Coates <d.coates>
Date: Tuesday, February 7, 1995
This messages is posted on behalf of Andrew J. Damico

    While working in the collection of a local Botanist, I came across
    approximately 4 Hollinger boxes of leaf, flower, and stem specimens.
    The collection dates from the 1870s and is in pretty good condition.
    The specimens are kept loose in paper that is folded, with the notes
    pertaining to each specimen written on the outside of the paper. In
    some cases, several specimens (of the same species) are together in
    the same folder and rub against each other. A few specimens have
    become stuck to the paper. These papers (with specimens inside) are
    kept in crude folders that are made of heavy paper nailed to wooden
    dowels. The first obvious step would be to remove the papers from
    these "folders" and place them in acid-free folders. My other
    questions are as follows:

        What damage, if any, can the paper cause to the specimen, and
        vice-versa? They have been stored together for approximately 120
        years and they are in pretty good condition. How long they will
        stay that way I don't know.

        What would be the best way to house the specimens so that no
        further damage occurs to them and both sides of the specimen
        could be seen?

        We already thought about using Japanese tissue to attach each
        specimen to a piece of permalife and in turn attaching the
        permalife to a piece of board. The entire piece would then be
        sealed in polyester. This would keep the specimen secure and
        would allow the notes to be placed in the same folder with the
        specimen. However, this does not allow the researcher to see
        both sides of the specimen. The situation is reversible if a
        patron *must* see a specimen.

        I do not have access to an ultrasonic welder, so that idea has
        gone by the wayside.

        What are the concerns of pest control? The collection is static
        and will not be leaving the building. There does not seem to be
        any insect or rodent damage to this collection, and the
        temperature and RH are kept fairly stable in this building.

    I have contacted everyone that I can think of here at the University
    of Texas. I would appreciate any recommendations or ideas that
    someone might have concerning this matter.

    Andrew J. Damico
    Center for American History
    University of Texas at Austin

Donna J. Coates
Photographs Archivist
The Center for American History
SRH 2.109
The University of Texas at Austin
Austin, Texas 78713-7330
Fax: 512-495-4542

                  Conservation DistList Instance 8:62
                 Distributed: Tuesday, February 7, 1995
                        Message Id: cdl-8-62-015
Received on Tuesday, 7 February, 1995

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