Moving Nature

Odd Sized Objects

The moving team is almost finished empting the second floor of the Natural History Museum. The last few moves have been interesting in terms of moving larger objects. The old elevator in the building only takes one standard EU pallet and anything that can’t fit on a pallet must find an alternative way out. Consequently, all the remaining objects were measured to determine their future journey. Here are some snapshots of the documentation and packing of the more challenging objects.

Some of the large objects. Spot the conservator!
Some of the large objects. Spot the conservator!
Center of gravity is sometimes an issue
Center of gravity is sometimes an issue.


These guys just made the EU standard
These guys just made the EU standard.


Some objects are very heavy. Like this Orca skull on metal pedestal.
Some objects are very heavy. Like this Orca skull on a metal pedestal.


Light weight model of swordfish got carried down the stairs
Light weight model of swordfish got carried down the stairs.


These gazelles are packed and ready to move
These gazelles are packed and ready to move.

Next month we will be moving the pest infested objects at the Cultural History Museum. This must be done before the beetles leave the wooden objects and fly off, spreading to other parts of the museum.

Conservation Moving Nature Preventive conservation Storage

Loads of alcohol!

Happy New Year and welcome to 2014!

As mentioned in our Christmas post (Click here to see) we started 2014 with packing the spirit collection on display at the museum. We decided on a movable packing solution to make the collection mobile for later convenience. Everything was placed on pallets padded with Styrofoam. The glasses were separated using Styrofoam and other packing plastics.

Photo 07-01-14 08.23.50 Photo 07-01-14 09.05.01

This work started an early Tuesday morning as can be seen on the pictures. Several of the objects were of a considerable size and we had extra help placing these on pallets by our moving firm.

Beforehand, we documented the exhibition room with photos and during the process we started to note all museum numbers in reference to display cases.

Photo 07-01-14 09.05.12 Photo 10-01-14 13.24.19

We ended up with 15 pallets of wet collection objects. These were all checked to make sure they had enough ethanol and had as close-fitting lids as possible to decrease any evaporation. In the end all pallets were covered with Tyvek to protect both specimens and Styrofoam as both are very susceptible to light (oxidation).

Photo 09-01-14 10.28.03 Photo 09-01-14 11.27.51

Collection Conservation Moving Nature

First exhibition room empty

Due to the extensive renovation of the University Museum of Bergen, the natural history collections on display will all be evacuated. The renovation process recently begun with the closing of the exhibitions on 1st of November and now time is limited for each room inside the museum to be emptied.

Hearing the builders on the other side of the wall, the first room to be emptied was “beinrommet” the bone room.  All the different bones were displayed in glass- and wood- showcases. Although most bones were loose in the cases, some of the showcases were secured in the wall with screws and the objects either fixed to the backside or secured with small nails and a sticky material. One of them had to be taken down from the wall to enable taking the objects down safely.

Bones in monter                   _BMU6573

Photo 05-11-13 13.35.37               Photo 05-11-13 13.29.49

Before moving any of the objects each showcase was photographed. Many of the most fragile bones were packed in polyethylene boxes to secure them for the move out and away from the museum. Others were packed in wrapping tissue and placed in polyethylene bags.

Photo 05-11-13 10.09.35                          Photo 06-11-13 09.58.36

Wooden frames with craniums were displayed around the room near the high ceiling. Most of them were possible to recover by ladder but problems arose with the craniums of deer and elk. These were out of reach, with wall-mounted show-cases in the way, and also had heavy antlers. We managed to move the showcases and take the large craniums down in the end.

_BMU6637        Photo 06-11-13 13.23.23

Conservation Culture Nature Storage

How to XRF

This week the conservation department got a handheld X-ray fluorescence analyzer. The XRF NITON XL3t GOLDD+ pistol is to be used for material identification, a nondestructive way of examining metals, heavy metals and plastic components in the materials we will be working with. In the moving project we will investigate the usage of the XRF in testing highly poisonous metallic elements. The XRF unit can also be used to examine alloys and the chemical components in beads, color in textiles and pigments, which gives it a wide range of usage possibilities in the future.

Arne K. Bjerklund from Holger Teknologi introduced the XRF NITON XL3t GOLDD+ and gave a demonstration of the handheld pistol. Later he worked with the conservators, teaching us to use the unit and read the output. We got the new upgraded model with lower detection limits, detecting cadmium in plastics and very light components like chlorides and magnesium. We are all excited about the possibilities this new equipment will provide.