All posts by Rachael Perkins Arenstein

Rachael Perkins Arenstein is a Principal in A.M. Art Conservation, the e-Editor for the American Institute for Conservation and the Co-Chair of the Integrated Pest Management Working Group.

Historic New England shares innovative approach to pest management

On November 16, Historic New England’s Haverhill, Massachusetts-based collection services team hosted a sold-out program on Integrated Pest Management (IPM) for museum professionals, interested members, and colleagues from all over New England.

The presentations featured entomologist Pat Kelley, vice president of Insects Limited, LLC, and Adam Osgood, collections technician for Historic New England. Pat presented a fascinating look at the history of IPM and its application in museum settings. He followed that with a riveting, up-close summary of our top insect pests, their behavior, and the damage to watch for, using real specimens, microscopes, and an identification quiz.

Adam’s presentation covered the new IPM initiatives that Historic New England implemented this season, including increased staff time, innovative strategies, and the testing of new products. Many of these new efforts were inspired by what Adam learned at the International IPM Conference held at the Louvre Museum in Paris in September 2016.

These experimental initiatives include an “IPM Champion” program, in which pheromone trap monitoring and data consolidation are used to identify pest activity, along with targeted, informed cleaning to remediate the problem. Historic New England designated staff who were trained in IPM practice, proper collection handling, and preventive conservation of objects to execute this program.

Another innovative tactic Adam tested this season was the use of insecticide-impregnated mosquito netting as a barrier against museum pests. This technology is used effectively on a global scale in developing nations to control mosquito-borne illnesses. Early results from the netting combined with entomological lab testing by Pat Kelley show great potential against museum pests. Historic New England’s findings on this material represent the first documented effective use of the product for this purpose in the United States and probably the first successful application against wood-boring beetle species internationally.

The program also included three small-group breakout sessions. Nicole Chalfant, collection manager for Historic New England, gave a behind-the-scenes look into our collection storage, highlighting parts where IPM is challenging. Pat ran a workshop on trap monitoring, and Adam led a tour of the Controlled Atmosphere Treatment facility including an up-close look at actual collection items with pest damage.

The capacity crowd of fifty was lively and engaged, affirming that Historic New England remains a leader in IPM for the region.

This information is re-posted from the Historic New England Blog with permission 

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Stressed About Pests? Integrated Pest Management Training for Heritage Preservation Professionals 2017 Workshop

Insects and vertebrate pests can do irreversible damage to objects of historic and artistic value. Preventing such damage is an essential element of best practice in collection care and requires the design and implementation of an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) policy and plan.

In March 2017 the Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library and the University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation hosted a workshop, Stressed About Pests? Integrated Pest Management Training for Heritage Preservation Professionals for WUDPAC students and area professionals. 

The workshop introduced participants to multiple aspects of IPM: policy and procedure; preventing infestation; trapping and monitoring; remedial treatment; basic pest identification. It was designed for small to mid-sized institutions needing to establish or improve an IPM program as well as anyone needing to develop or refresh basic IPM knowledge.

Rachael Perkins Arenstein, a conservator specializing in preventive care, Pat Kelley, an entomologist  with extensive knowledge of museum collection care practices, and Matt Mickletz, the person responsible for the daily implementation of Winterthur’s IPM program, worked together to teach the theory and practice of IPM using a a combination of lectures, discussions and hands-on exercises.  The workshop was coordinated by Professor Joelle Wickens, Associate Conservator and Preventive Team Head with funding generously provided by Tru-Vue.

The program was designed to:

  • Identify the stakeholders in their institutions who must be involved in setting up a successful IPM program
  • Understand which policies and procedures set the groundwork for successful implementation 
  • Survey a building envelope and collection areas to identify locations vulnerable to entry and infestation 
  • Determine what kind of traps can be used to monitor collection areas and where they should be placed
  • Identify some of the most common museum pests
  • Work effectively with a pest management professional
  • Understand the range of options for museum appropriate treatment of pest infestations and what is needed to implement them

Participants in the workshop can access the password protected workshop page for additional information. 

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