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Subject: Sewage damage to mammal specimen

Sewage damage to mammal specimen

From: Jerry Shiner <jshiner>
Date: Wednesday, February 18, 2004
Peter Lundskow <plundskow [at] dnr__state__in__us> writes

>Yesterday at our Museum we had a leak from an over head sewage line
>in one of our collection storage areas.  This leak did not directly
>strike the item but leaked on the surrounding Ethafoam and caused
>saturation from below. The artifact is a mounted bison which is
>positioned in a resting position. We would appreciate any advice
>that can be offered in how to first reduce the moisture in a rapid
>but safe/controlled manner.  Second, how to deal with the microbes
>that may have gotten into the specimen and to reduce the
>accompanying smell. ...

I would suggest that the safest way to dry the poor animal (after
such an indignity) is with one or more fans. A properly directed
stream of air can be very effective for drying, no matter how high
the ambient humidity. A bank of 20 inch box fans can be easily set
up for the big fellow. Cardboard, coroplast, or sheeting can be used
to direct most of the air from the fans to their target.

The use of heating the stream of air, or using dry air should be
carefully considered. Bear in mind that if you place the buffalo in
a dry room, the entire animal will be dried out, not just the damp
portions! I would be cautious about modifying the humidity in the
room surrounding the beast.

A small hair dryer (set on low heat) might be a useful tool, but
only if used locally on the wettest areas until the area is damp,
not dry. That said, I would try just the fans overnight first.

You might consider cleaning the affected areas with a modification
of the method used by commercial carpet and drapery cleaners: A
stream of hot water is directed onto the fabric and then immediately
removed with a vacuum nozzle. You can do this yourself by masking
off sections and using a spray bottle and a "wetvac" with an
appropriately modified head. If you cannot remove the microbes and
their food before you dry the pelts, you may have to deal with clean
up and odor removal after the drying is done.

Keepsafe Systems
Microclimate Technologies International

                  Conservation DistList Instance 17:56
                 Distributed: Friday, February 20, 2004
                       Message Id: cdl-17-56-003
Received on Wednesday, 18 February, 2004

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