The Strange, Smelly Chores That Keep Natural History Museums Running

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I rarely think about the intense and varied levels of preservation needed to keep a Natural Museum going – cool piece from Atlas Obscura.

Even though many natural history institutions are closed to the public due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and most of their staff are hunkering down at home, some museum employees continue to make periodic rounds through their collections. “What museums are doing is stuff that’s about trying to limit the agents of deterioration,” says Jack Ashby, trustee of the Natural Sciences Collections Association, which supports natural history collections across the United Kingdom, and the manager of the University Museum of Zoology in Cambridge. Those agents can be anything from water gushing in from a leaky ceiling to dust to pests introduced from the outside world or escaped from another part of the museum.

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