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Subject: Freeze-drying herbarium specimens

Freeze-drying herbarium specimens

From: Jack C. Thompson <tcl>
Date: Thursday, April 18, 2002
W. Alexander Flinn <|alexflinn [at] hotmail__com> writes

>We are about to treat some water damaged herbarium specimens. The
>specimens are mounted in books and the assemblage has become wet.
>Has anyone freeze-dried any similar objects? and if so what problems
>were encountered? For instance, were the specimens friable after
>treatment? were the pages easy to separate after treatment, etc.?

Some years ago, speaking with Jack Magill, American Freeze Dry,
Audubon, NJ) he told me that he regularly freeze dried flowers and
such for florists, except for orchids, which could not be freeze
dried (something about a membrane) so I would expect that the
mounted specimens can be safely freeze dried.

However, any color in the specimens may have already migrated to the
pages of the books.  Also, the freeze dried pages/specimens will be
too dry after treatment and will require a day or two to come into
equilibrium with the environment before handling.

If the affected books were quickly frozen to buy time, there should
be little or no difficulty in opening them.

    **** Moderator's comments: I don't know if this is current, but
    according to NEDCC's Emergency Management Section 3, Leaflet 6,
    <URL:>, American
    Freeze-Dry, Inc. is at 39 Lindsey Avenue, Runnemede, NJ 08078,

Thompson Conservation Lab.
7549 N. Fenwick
Portland, Oregon USA
503-735-3942 (phone/fax)

                  Conservation DistList Instance 15:71
                  Distributed: Friday, April 19, 2002
                       Message Id: cdl-15-71-003
Received on Thursday, 18 April, 2002

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