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Subject: Potting mix

Potting mix

From: Ian Hart <ihart<-a>
Date: Wednesday, March 12, 2014
David Stevenson <dstevenson<-a t->cca< . >qc< . >ca> writes

>In the next couple of months, we will be mounting an exhibit in
>which it is proposed to include a large wooden sculpture/model that
>is to be situated adjacent to a large pile (approximately 3 feet x 2
>feet x 2 feet) of a soil-like potting mix containing: "a blend of
>natural aged fir bark, aged redwood, aged chicken manure, earthworm
>castings, bat guano and kelp meal".  This has been previously
>exhibited elsewhere, in an almost-sealed Plexiglas case (apparently
>the case was more for curatorial than conservation reasons).
>
>...  I will press for
>a sealed Plexiglas case surrounding the dirt ...

Is it important for the entire volume of organic material to be
exhibited, and for it to be uniform? If the composition of the
installation can be altered, perhaps the material exist as a thin
layer (perhaps consolidated with PVA glue) over an impervious box or
other armature.  This would make it less hospitable to pests.

In the previous exhibit was the material frozen to kill insects? Was
it extra desiccated? I would think that a large pile of organic
material, if not sterilized (perhaps by autoclaving?), would do a
lot of decomposing and condensing in a plexiglass vitrine.

Ian Hart
Preparator
Exhibits Department
California Academy of Sciences


                                  ***
                  Conservation DistList Instance 27:35
                  Distributed: Tuesday, March 18, 2014
                       Message Id: cdl-27-35-004
                                  ***
Received on Wednesday, 12 March, 2014

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