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Subject: Silverfish


From: Holly Chase <>
Date: Wednesday, June 6, 2007
I am the Museum Coordinator/Collections Manager for a small, private
Chinese art museum located in Southern California. I hope that you
can help me with some concerns regarding a possible silverfish/moth

Last week I had found a large, healthy silverfish crawling on the
fabric of one of our display cases that currently houses 17-19th
Century silk dragon robes. In a few weeks, we are scheduled to
install several 18-20th century scroll paintings, which are very
vulnerable to silverfish, in that same case. What's more, about 3
weeks ago I had found in a nearby case two dead web clothing moths.
I have since installed a moth pheromone lure in one case and a few
silverfish food baits in sticky traps in the other. As of yet, I
have not found other signs of infestation- yet I am still not fully
convinced that we are safe. Furthermore, at the end of this month
the silk robes will be taken down from display and placed into
storage where we have several delicate Chinese scroll paintings
housed. I am clearly worried about the possibility of an infestation
and moving infested artworks into a new area.

I had contacted one paper conservator who advised against fumigating
the robes explaining that fumigation tends to leave a chemical
residue on fabrics. Instead, she suggested finding an "anoxia
treatment chamber" but didn't know of anyone in the area who has

Do any of you know of places in Southern California that have anoxia
treatment chambers? I would also like to know if you have any
textile conservators in the area whom you could recommend. I am
thinking that we may have to hire a conservator to come out to
supervise the treatment.

I am also worried that we need to treat the tall display cases
before we install any new exhibitions. Unfortunately, these cases
are built into the walls of our gallery and cannot be removed. They
are not air tight either as there are gaps between the sheets of
glass. Do you have any advice as to how we should treat the cases?
Is this something that a conservator should and could oversee?

Does finding one silverfish and a few dead moths justify treating
all the artwork and cases in that gallery?

Any assistance or advice you can send me would be greatly
appreciated. I am sincerely in a bit of a panic for having found
these pests and want to make sure we act as quickly as possible.

Holly C. Chase
Museum Coordinator/Collections Manager
Torrance, CA 90501
310-222-9219 ext: 2219

                  Conservation DistList Instance 21:9
                   Distributed: Friday, June 8, 2007
                        Message Id: cdl-21-9-043
Received on Wednesday, 6 June, 2007

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