• “Hope” is the thing with feathers: how useful are cyclomethicones when cleaning taxidermy?

      Allington-Jones, L (NatSCA, 2020-10-01)
      Silicone solvents have extreme hydrophobicity so they can be used as a temporary barrier to aqueous cleaning solutions. They are characterised as having low odour, moderately low toxicity, low polarity and surface tension. They are 100% volatile so will leave no trace behind. Silicone solvents could potentially be used to flood the skin of taxidermy specimens, to provide a barrier whilst fur or feathers are cleaned, and even permit the use of heat treatments without causing damage to the skin. They will not cause drying or swelling and will not dissolve or mobilise any skin components such as dyes or fats, which would normally be adversely affected by water or other solvents. They are also, in theory, safe to use on skin which has suffered so much deterioration that the shrinkage temperature is close to room temperature. Different classes of silicone solvents have different working times and this article explores 3 of these, and their practical applicability when cleaning taxidermy.
    • Mastodon and on and on…a moving story

      Allington-Jones, L (NatSCA, 2018-02-01)
      This is the latest chapter in the history of the mastodon (Mammut americanum (Kerr, 1792)) specimen on display at the Natural History Museum (NHM) in London (UK), and continues from the story told by Lindsay (1991). The specimen was selected to be one of the new exhibits for the Wonder Bays of the refurbished Hintze Hall, at the heart of the Waterhouse building. Residing, until recently, on open display in a different exhibition space, the mastodon required stabilisation and careful dismantling before transportation and reassembly in its new site.
    • Mollusca Types in Great Britain: founding a union database

      Salvador, A; Ablett, J (NatSCA, 2018)
      Type specimens are essential to the study of malacology and are distributed across a wide range of museums in the UK. This initiative, funded by the John Ellerman Foundation, is the beginning of an integrated access and learning project bringing together curators from across the museum sector. Malacological curators from Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales (AC-NMW) and The Natural History Museum, London (NHM) worked with staff at seven partner museums in six UK cities. Together they developed a database and online resource connecting the Mollusca collections of National and other museums for the first time. At the time of publication, data on over 1800 type lots are available on the ‘Mollusca Types in Great Britain’ website. Since the launch in March 2018, some 1,189 users have accessed the site from over 60 countries. The database and website continue to be developed and new entries can be made at any time. The regional museum partners were given training focused on building confidence in recognising, researching, and interpreting the molluscan type specimens in their collections. The broader aims of this project were to strengthen and develop curatorial skills in specialist areas that could be transferable to other historically important natural history collections.