It was fascinating to hear that the British Museum is missing its visitors in more ways than one. It seems that the exhalations of the 17,000 visitors that the museum received daily prior to lock-down were essential for keeping precious exhibits at the correct humidity levels. The museum has not been closed for more than three days at a time (over Christmas) since World War II. Since the closure in March the relative humidity levels have fallen dangerously below 40%, which means that objects made from wood and bone have been drying out and are prone to cracking and fracture. Museum staff have been monitoring the situation closely and moving the most sensitive objects to their environmentally controlled strongrooms. The re-opening of the museum is eagerly awaited by all!
Back in 2018 I wrote about the 12-week old Weimaraner puppy that had joined Boston Museum of Fine Arts’ Protective Services Team. Riley’s job is to sniff out bugs that can damage textiles in museum collections and, thereby, prevent an infestation taking hold.
I’m delighted to announce that an extended version of my post about Riley has been published on the Sniffing the Past blog. This site, edited by one of my doctoral supervisors, Chris Pearson, presents reflections about dogs in history and is well worth a read. I also write about dogs being trained to sniff out stolen historic artefacts and trafficked antiquities. Hats off to our canine companions who are starting to play a key role in the preservation of our culture and heritage.
My thoughts, views and musings about what's happening in the world of archives and records management, information and governance, heritage and culture