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.



Register for the Introduction to Integrated Pest Management for Cultural Heritage Collections Workshop

Registration is currently open and a few spots remain for the upcoming IPM workshop to be held February 24-25, 2020 in New York City.  


The fee for the two-day workshop is $375. Payment can be made online via the Insects Limited Website’s online store. Precise meeting location information will be supplied upon registration.


Preventing damage from pests is an essential task in the responsible management of all collections. Implementing an appropriate Integrated Pest Management (IPM) plan is the best way to prevent infestations from taking root and to deal with any problems in a safe and effective manner. This workshop will provide a basic introduction to IPM after which participants should be able to assess appropriate options for their institutions and collections in areas of policy and procedures, preventing infestations, trapping and monitoring, and remedial treatment. Basics of pest identification will be taught. This workshop is designed to:

  • Introduce the various elements of an IPM program.
  • Identify ways in which pests gain access to collections.
  • Start a discussion on appropriate IPM policy statements and procedure documents
  • Provide an understanding of how a pest monitoring program can be implemented to reveal pest activity.
  • Teach identification techniques for some of the most common and harmful museum pests.
  • Discuss a range of remedial treatments for infested collections and the pros and cons of some of these treatments.

By the end of the workshop, participants will be able to:

  • Identify the stakeholders in their institutions who must be involved in setting up a successful IPM plan.
  • Understand what policies and procedures set the groundwork for successful implementation of an IPM plan.
  • Survey the building envelope and collection areas to identify areas vulnerable to entry and infestation.
  • Determine what kinds of traps can be used to monitor collections areas and where they should be placed.
  • Identify some of the most common museum pests.
  • Understand the range of options for remedial treatment of pest infestations.
  • Locate appropriate resources, including web sites, texts, articles, and expert colleagues.


Pat Kelley the President of Insects Limited, has over 30 years of experience in professional pest management. He is a Board Certified Entomologist with a MS in Entomology from the University of Nebraska. He currently heads the IPM strategies for several large museums and is a consultant to the museum industry on pest management issues performing training and lecturing for museums and historic houses all around the United States and Europe. He is the Chair of the Identification Aids subgroup for the MuseumPests Working Group and co-author of a chapter on Pheromones in the Mallis Handbook of Pest Control, 10th Ed. 

Rachael Perkins Arenstein is a conservator at A.M. Art Conservation, LLC a private practice in the New York area. She has held positions at the Bible Lands Museum Jerusalem, the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI), and the Peabody Museum of Art & Archaeology, amongst others. Rachael began working on IPM issues on the NMAI Move Project and its extensive pest management program in 2001-2004. This experience led to becoming a founding member and, since 2008, Co-Chair of the MuseumPests Working Group. She consults and teaches on IPM and treats infested artifacts. 

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