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Subject: Sod in museum gallery

Sod in museum gallery

From: Alex Roach <alroach<-at->
Date: Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Sofia Galarza Liu <reina [at] ku__edu> writes

>Have any of you been involved with the installation of dirt or sod
>in a gallery?  What was involved as far as preparations and cleanup?
>What special precautions should be taken?

I was involved with the installation of a palm tree and root ball at
The Art Gallery of NSW in 2007. The palm was installed as part of a
Kiefer exhibition, and consisted of a dead Phoenix Palm being laid
on the gallery floor to represent a paint brush. The palm was
sourced from a local park and was approximately 10 metres long (30+

During our initial inspection of the palm we noted ants, cockroaches
and birds nesting in it, and decided that it should be treated
before being installed. Once it was excavated we also found out that
a possum was living in the crown (it was very unimpressed!).

We moved the palm to the Gallery's off-site storage area where it
was laid on plastic sheeting. Over a two-week period I applied a
low-toxic synthetic pyrethroid spray to the palm's surface. Because
it was highly porous the spray uptake was very good and a variety of
insects emerged during the first 2-3 treatments. I treated the palm
5 times.

After two weeks the palm was moved to the gallery and laid in
position. We applied the same insecticidal spray to the wall edges
throughout the gallery, and monitored the area throughout the course
of the exhibition. No further insect activity was noted.

I suspect that the only insects likely to emerge from the sod would
be lawn pests or similar soil-borne bugs, but a range of pests (i.e.
ants, termites, cockroaches) could all be present depending on its
origin, composition, etc. My advice would be to apply a low-toxic
spray to the sod before installing, carry out a treatment of the
gallery space, and monitor the area post installation.

Alex Roach
Heritage Pest Management

                  Conservation DistList Instance 22:58
                  Distributed: Sunday, April 12, 2009
                       Message Id: cdl-22-58-003
Received on Tuesday, 7 April, 2009

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