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The Peabody Museum has a strong history of conservation activities. The Museum’s first conservator, Barbara P. Moore, was appointed in 1988. One of the new Conservation Laboratory’s first activities was to conduct a general condition assessment of the Peabody’s collections. This led to the development and implementation of a long-range conservation plan. This plan established a two-pronged approach to address conservation needs:


  • Implement environmental improvements wherever collections are housed or exhibited to arrest ongoing deterioration; and
  • Undertake selected collections-based projects where specific collections were in urgent need of conservation treatment or rehousing.

Over the next decade many improvements were made, including establishing microenvironments in storage for humidity-sensitive specimens; installing ultraviolet-absorbing filters on fluorescent lights in exhibits and storerooms; lowering light levels in exhibits; and systematically replacing harmful storage materials with inert materials. A survey of the Museum’s environmental systems was undertaken, leading to the upgrading of the air handling equipment serving collection areas, and ultimately to the construction of the climate-controlled Class of 1954 Environmental Science Center to house collections.

Four projects focused on the historical scientific instruments, mammals and invertebrate dry type specimens, rescuing them from crisis conditions and enabling them to be rehoused with inert materials in museum-quality cabinets.

Catherine Sease became the Museum’s Senior Conservator in 2000. She has undertaken more detailed condition surveys in 2001–2002, laying the groundwork for a new long-range conservation plan that builds on the achievements of the first plan.