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Subject: Environment for preparing taxidermy

Environment for preparing taxidermy

From: John E. Simmons <jsimmons>
Date: Monday, November 29, 2004
I am posting this for our Director of Exhibits, Bruce Scherting
<bruce-s [at] ku__edu>.

We are planning to move a large mounted mammal to a new exhibit case
and want to determine what an appropriate (and attainable)
environmental target range should be for the specimen in our
geographical location of Lawrence, Kansas.

The specimen is a horse, mounted in 1892 by Lewis Lindsay Dyche, was
prepared using William Hornaday's approach. The armature is made of
wood and steel with the skull and leg bones attached. The form is
wrapped in jute, staff, and tow with the final shape formed using a
water-based clay. The skin was cured in salt brine and stretched
over the body form. There have been some repairs made over the
decades but we have no record of what has been done or what
materials were used. The specimen has been in its current exhibit
case for several decades with humidified and circulated air. Records
indicate that the humidity levels have been between 35-60% with
spikes on either side, especially when the building HVAC system
changes over from heating to cooling or during large weather/climate
shifts. The temperature for the exhibit case is determined by the
building HVAC system and will continue to be so in its new location.

I have received two different exhibit case environmental target
recommendations. They are as follows:

    70 deg. (+/- 5 deg. ) with a relative humidity level of 50%
    (+/-5), not to exceed 60%

    65-72 deg with a relative humidity level of 30% to 40%.

I'm interested in hearing what others think about this subject.

John E. Simmons
Collection Manager, Natural History Museum and Biodiversity Research
Director, Museum Studies Program
University of Kansas
1345 Jayhawk Boulevard
Lawrence, Kansas 66045-7561
Fax: 785-864-5335

                  Conservation DistList Instance 18:25
                Distributed: Wednesday, December 1, 2004
                       Message Id: cdl-18-25-030
Received on Monday, 29 November, 2004

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