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Collection Conservation Culture Moving Nature Preventive conservation Storage The team

The moving project signing out

The moving project has come to an end. The project is closing down for now, having successfully emptied the Natural History building on Musèplassen 3.

The Natural History Museum of Bergen.
The Natural History Museum of Bergen.

The endeavor has taken more than three years to complete and included many different challenges, but they have all been met by the team of conservators in good spirit.

To recapture some big moments in the process, we have found a few old pictures.

stones being moved by crane.
Stones being moved by crane.
Stones strapped to pallets before the crane ride.
Stones strapped to pallets before the crane ride.

We have moved large building stones. It was a complicated move in terms of hardware. Several trucks and a crane were needed in the process. Revisit the stones here  and watch the moving video here and see the hidden treasures we found here.

Polar beer is maneuvered in place in the new storage.
Polar beer is maneuvered in place in the new storage.

In November 2013 we had the grand opening of the new central storage, read the post again here, and we emptied the first room in the exhibitions, revisit the post here.

Yet again we move by crane.
Yet again we move by crane.
Moose going into industrial freezing facility.
Moose going into industrial freezing facility.

From here on the tempo picked up and birds, mammals and fish went out the building in their boxes and on pallets. Some taxidermied animals proved difficult, but happily we borrowed a crane yet again. See the posts and the videos again in massive move part one and massive part two.

Auripigment or orpiment is a mineral with stunning colors, however, also toxic. It can be ground down and was used as a pigment for painting, but is no longer in use today.
Auripigment or orpiment is a mineral with stunning colors, however, also toxic. It can be ground down and was used as a pigment for painting, but is no longer in use today.

This year the moving project hit rock bottom, when we repacked, digitalized and moved large quantities of geological samples and paleontological objects in all sizes from the basement of the museum.  Read the post again here.

Here the minerals are neatly packed and ready to move to new storage.
Here the minerals are neatly packed and ready to move to new storage.

Want to see more pictures? The University of Bergen has an Instagram account called Unibergen. Furthermore, you can see pictures from Instagram related to the moving project on flickr, click here to see.

However, the moving isn’t over. Although the Natural History Museum is all but empty, the cultural history collections have only in small parts been organized and moved to new storage. This task will be carried out by the permanent staff of conservators in the future.

Furthermore, since the first steps towards rehabilitating the Natural History Museum is in progress and the construction of new exhibitions on the way, many of the objects will soon need to be conserved and moved back in. Hopefully the museum will once again open its doors in 2019.

For now the conservation team says goodbye, wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!

The conservation section wishing merry christmas.
The conservation section wishing merry christmas.
Categories
Collection Conservation Moving Nature Preventive conservation Storage

The moving project hits rock bottom

The team has begun moving a geological collection out, as the last stage of emptying the natural history museum. The geological samples were housed in the basement and had not been curated for many years. The basement wasn’t suited for storing museum objects which became obvious when looking at some of the samples. Especially pyrite oxidation is a problem when the humidity is high.

 

Example of pyrite oxidation
Example of pyrite oxidation

The collection went through the following stages:

The stones were transported up from the basement in original crates.
The stones were transported up from the basement in original crates.
The samples were cleaned in a temporary enclosure with compressed air….
The samples were cleaned in a temporary enclosure with compressed air….
…and repacked in new acid free boxes padded with silk tissue paper.
…and repacked in new acid free boxes padded with silk tissue paper.
All samples were in addition measured for ionizing radiation with a Geiger counter.
All samples were in addition measured for ionizing radiation with a Geiger counter.
Repacked stones in plastic box.
Repacked stones in plastic box.

 

 

 

Categories
Collection Conservation Moving Nature Preventive conservation Storage

Mummified whales and exotic rocks

The moving project started 2015 with the last stage of emptying the Natural History Museum. The collections left are exotic birds on display and geology both the mineral exhibition and a mixed geology collection in the basement.

Birds-of-Paradise
Birds-of-Paradise
Indian peafowl
Indian peafowl

Undertaking this last part of the packing has given us a few reminders, for example to look through all cupboards. In small cabinets under some of the old display cases, quite a few birds were hiding.

The hidden birds.
The hidden birds.

In the mineral collection we get a closer look at some of the extraordinary rocks this world has to offer, but it also reminds us that even rocks aren`t everlasting.

Marcasite is a type of pyrite very susceptible to humidity. This one is disintegrating, a condition known as pyrite decay.

Marcasite disintegrating.
Marcasite disintegrating.

Opals are so called mineraloids, these are hydrated silica. Their content of crystalline water gives them their characteristic play of color and has made them popular gemstones. We were also very fascinated by their many colors.

Opals.
Opals

In the protected whale hall the whale skeletons have been covered with Tyvek to shield them from the dust in the future renovations. The work required scaffolding and more than 300 meters of Tyvek. In the end the whale looked a bit mummified.

In the process.
In the process.
Working on the scaffold.
Working on the scaffold.
Finished!
Finished!
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Moving The team

Goodbye 2014!

This year has brought some big events on the moving project!

We moved out big animals through a window and most of the Natural History Museum is empty.

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In 2015 we will move out the last things from the museum. We already packed the botanical exhibition, so we will be starting with geology firstly with the exhibition, and later packing a mineralogy collection located in the basement. Afterward we will tend to exotic birds on the third floor.

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A hearty merry Christmas and a very happy new year from the moving project in Bergen!

Categories
Conservation Moving Nature Storage

Massive move – part two

As promised this week’s post is about how we got the big animals out a window.

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Moose being offloaded from the crane.

All mounted animals were secured to a pallet and cowered with plastic. Approximately 60 animals had to be moved out within a week. There wasn’t room for all the animals in our own climatically stable freezer. Instead we got freezing opportunity for the objects at a local industrial freezing facility with lots of room.

Moose going into freezing storage.
Moose going into freezing storage.
All the animals in industrial freezing storage.
All the animals in industrial freezing storage.

To read why we freeze things visit our old post Danger! Danger! Insects! or Mr. Freeze.

To show you the journey out the window we’ve made this video. To watch click here or follow the link:

 

 

Categories
Moving Nature Preventive conservation Storage

Massive move – part one

In the past five months we have been preparing to move out the big animals.

To summarize the process we’ve made this short video. To view the video click here or on the link below:

Next week we will release a video on the move it self!

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Categories
Conservation Moving Nature Preventive conservation

Packed for a journey

The big animals are almost ready to go out the window in one week’s time. The last preparations are in progress and have turned up a few challenges. Doors, windows and trucks only come in certain sizes, and the route through the museum has its limitations when it comes to width and height. Furthermore, some of the animals are unstable on their platforms, with crooked legs and leaning postures. Here are some examples of how we meet these challenges:

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The Kudu antelope is more than 2 meters tall on its pallet. It can’t fit the freezer and the size of the truck also poses a problem.

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The solution was fairly simple. The horns could be dismounted, thus transforming a big problem into a package of loose horns.

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The antelope mount was also unstable, so supports were built on the pallet base and covered with plastic.

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The mounting of this Lichtenstein’s hartebeest is among the most stable, and it could be strapped to the pallet with just a little protection on the horns and ears.

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But it wasn’t just antelope and deer that were problematic – this shark is about 4 meters long, with a very long tail fin. We went a little overboard with the marking and warning signals on the tail.

Categories
Moving Nature Preventive conservation Storage

SHARK!!!!

Autumn is approaching, the days are growing shorter and time is closing in on moving the big animals from the museum exhibition. The conservators on the moving project have, in association with the construction firm currently renovating the south wing of the museum, scheduled to move the “oversized mounts” out a window by crane in October.

Animals in the dimmed light getting ready for the Autumn move.

Before this can be carried out, several animals must be properly secured on pallets. At present, we are working on three sharks mounted on tall metal rods. This support system is less than ideal for transport, because they are very heavy and the center of gravity is high making the sharks unstable.

 

Shark on rod.

New mounts are furnished on long pallets with supporters cut to size from Plastazote foam and secured on bits of wood. The foam is glued together with hot melt glue and fastened with a top layer of Tyvek textile. These pallets will serve as permanent storage crates for the sharks.

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First we measure the shark’s belly and then the measurements are added to the foam.

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Tyvek is added and the shark is put on its new crate.

Categories
Collection Moving Nature

Elephantastic!

The moving project has taken on the big animals at the museum as we mentioned in an earlier blogpost. Unfortunately for us the big animals include a stuffed African elephant. The elephant is not that big (for being an African elephant) but it’s very heavy! What the stuffing material is made of is unknown but unfortunately for us it’s not straw or any other light-weight material.

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A sunny day in July seven men from a moving company came to the museum to help move the elephant out of the display case and onto a pallet. The whole operation went rather smooth but we are very happy it’s not every day we have to move an elephant of approximately 600 kg. The elephant is now mobile on a pallet and ready for new adventures.

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To move the elephant the moving men had to use suction cups and crowbars.

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The elephant is mobile!

Categories
Conservation Moving Nature Preventive conservation Storage

Big animals – Big deal!

The moving team has taken on the challenge of preparing the move of large animals from the closed museum. The animals are so big, they have to be cleaned in the museum and from there go directly to a freezing facility and storage.

One of the smaller exhibition rooms has been converted into a cleaning zone or box. In this area we use compressed air to clear the dust off the animals and the box encloses the dust and potentially health hazards in the room. Here are a few pictures.

Dromedary in the box.
Dromedary in the box.
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Muskox eyes are cleaned.
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When the animals have been cleaned, we cover them with thin plastic to protect them from dust.

While most animals can fit in our freezer some animals like the giraffe, a few sharks and some deer are either too long or too tall to fit in the container. How we are going to freeze these big animals is not yet fully planned, but borrowing space at a large industrial freezer is among the options. We will return in the autumn with an update on this part of the move!

Heavy bison on long pallet needs extra weight to move with normal jack.
Heavy bison on long pallet needs extra weight to move with normal jack.