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Re: museum

How does this museum deal with environmental control, UV exposure, and 
the risks of theft and vandalism? I remember visible-storage exhibits 
fondly, too, but the deterioration of them through poor conditions or 
human misbehavior was one reason they have been abandoned. Visible- 
storage exhibits are notoriously difficult to keep secure, and 
notoriously easy to break into. And losing your material is no way to 
fulfill your public-trust mission.
It is canonical in museum science that exhibition is the most risky form 
of storage. It is also true that people like to see who you are and what 
you do. We do this with regular behind-the-scenes tours for members. In 
our new area, we plan to have a couple of visible labs and exhibits, but 
not a visible storage area or visible storage. It only takes one bozo to 
wreck what should be a good idea.
Sally Shelton
Director, Collections Care and Conservation
|                                                                       |
|                 San Diego Natural History Museum                      |
|                          P. O. Box 1390                               |
|                San Diego, California   92112  USA                     |
|             phone (619) 232-3821; FAX (619) 232-0248                  |
|                     email LIBSDNHM@CLASS.ORG                          |
|                                                                       |

On Thu, 2 Mar 1995, Bonnie Blackwell, x 3332 wrote:

> Tillett raises some very important points in his posting.  I know one museum
> where all the collections are visible to the public.  In the Univ. of British
> Columbia Anthrop Museum all the artefacts are housed in glass covered drawers
> with labels.  While this means you can't actually handle the artefacts as
> a visitor at least you can see everything they have.  I am not so sure about
> their access policy for actually handling the artefacts, but at least
> this method of display provides about 10x's a much visible material to
> the public.  I suspect that for many teachers and much of the lay public,
> this sort of access would be sufficient to at least get some really good
> school assignments started or to spark renewed amateur interest and awe.
> Granted it is a more expensive way to house the artefacts, but it also
> has one benefit for the museum - it forces them to catalogue, inspect,
> and curate all their specimens. 
> I for one would like to see more nat.hist museums use this type of display.
> b
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
> Bonnie Blackwell,                             bonn@qcvaxa.acc.qc.edu
> Dept of Geology,                                (718) 997-3332
> Queens College, City University of New York,    fax:  997-3349
> Flushing, NY 11367-1597