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17th MuseumPests Working Group Meeting 2020 Update

Hosted by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, February 26-28

 I’m delighted to be back at the MuseumPests Working Group for the third time, it’s wonderful to be welcomed back into the IPM family! As the end of day three rolls around, it’s time to write the blog and reflect on all the work, tours and presentations that’s kept us occupied for the last few days.

On day one we had some amazing tours at The Met. Michael Millican, the newish IPM coordinator and Eric Breitung took us on amazing tours behind the scenes (and in the galleries). These were obviously tours with a difference, showing us problem areas and IPM challenges (which I’m sure we could all relate to). In the brand-new British exhibition Eric showed us all the exciting display cases with removable panels for cleaning, visitors to the exhibition were a little perplexed, as we all got down on the floor to have a look!

Michael then took us on a whirlwind tour of the back of house areas. This was so fascinating, and completely awe inspiring at how well Michael, who has been at The Met less than a year, knows the rabbit warren of a building and how he has grasped the major challenges he faces so quickly.

Day two started with the most amazing breakfast, kindly provided by The Met. After some interesting updates on the Stockholm IPM conference, News from the European and UK groups and an update on the Survey, we quickly got to talking about work. All the groups gathered, and we got to work.

Excitingly for the ID group, Tom Parker donated some discs of images, which they have been working through sorting and deciding which should go on the website. Watch this space for some new images which help everyone ID their pests better in the future.

The prevention and solutions groups have been working on terminology in existing policy documents and writing new protocols. In the Survey group we have been working to analyse the results of the survey, which a whopping 374 of you responded to! (Many thanks on behalf of the survey group for taking the time to fill that in for us.) Armando Mendez and Pascal Querner have been working on translations of the website, Spanish and German respectively. Watch this space for that update.

In the afternoon we had interesting presentations from Eric on O2 Analysers. Licensing and guidelines from Lisa Goldberg, which was a bit perplexing for me as a Brit. Then a great presentation from Tom Parker on Moths and Beetles which provided some light relief.

After a final work session Day two came to an end.

Day three started with an excellent presentation on IPM at The Met from Michael and IPM policies in Hostoric house msueums from Emma Ziraldo. The key message of Emma’s talk was that sometimes you need to be pragmatic and realistic with what you can achieve sometimes. Following this was a lovely presentation to remember Bob Childs who sadly died last year, from Pat Kelley.

On behalf of the whole group I would like to thank Michael and Eric and The Metropolitan Museum of Art for their fantastic hospitality.

*The animal in question was once a bat. Tom estimated that this was around 18 months old and that in another 18 months it would be skeletonised.



Robert E (Bob) Child Memorial

Robert E. Child – Memorial

December 18, 2019

It is a great loss to the MuseumPest group and the greater museum community as a whole that Robert E. (Bob) Child passed away earlier this week. Bob served as the Chief Conservator for the National Museum and Galleries of Wales for many years. His intimate working knowledge with collections and conservation led him to becoming a champion for integrated pest management in museums and historic houses. Bob got his bachelor’s degree from the University of Exceter and was trained as a chemist. He was originally a research chemist for the oil industry. During his career as a conservator, he was a fellow of the international Institute for Conservation and a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries. He was a visiting lecturer at the University of Wales, University of Durham, the Institute of Archaeology, ICCROM and the Science Museum.

Through his work on collections care, Bob gained respect and a wealth of knowledge on pest related issues in museums. This led him to being an advisor on pest control to the National Trust and an advisor on preventive conservation to English Heritage. Bob worked closely with the entomologist Dave Pinniger on many different museum pest studies over the years. Bob formed his own company, Historyonics, which allowed him to continue his consultation following his career with the National Museum and Galleries of Wales. Bob was free to share his knowledge on pest related issues with the museum community and did so through ongoing workshops and lectures at all of the large international IPM conferences such as 2001 & 2010: A Pest Odyssey, the 2004 Fumigants & Pheromones Conference in Copenhagen,  the IPM 2016 in Paris and most recently Bob shared his insight on pesticide regulations with the group during the IPM 2019 in Stockholm.

Bob Child was known to be an industry leader in museum IPM and his keen sense of humor and quick wit made him a joy to listen to during his presentations as well as when sharing a pint in the pub after the conference. He will be missed by all but we thank him for all that he has done for the MuseumPest community.

Robert E. (Bob) Child, left with Dave Pinniger (center) and Pat Kelley, right at the IPM 2019 conference in Stockholm in May of 2019