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  • 1.  Tenting for Termites

    Posted 11-01-2017 11:08 PM
    Our 100 year old historical buildings on historic Old School Square in Delray Beach Florida which includes the Cornell Art Museum need to be tented for termites.  Question:  Does anyone have experience with termite tenting while the museum has a full art installation?  We are a contemporary art museum and are concerned the treatment might adversely affect the art.  Any advice you can provide or resources you can direct me to would be greatly appreciated.

    Marusca Gatto

    Marusca Gatto
    Director of Operations
    Cornell Art Museum
    Delray Beach FL

  • 2.  RE: Tenting for Termites

    Posted 11-02-2017 10:19 AM

    Good morning –


    The risks associated with structural fumigation depend upon many factors, including but not limited to the following:

    • The collections that will remain in the building: the range of media and their vulnerability to all the components of the fumigant to be used, not just the active (killing agent);
    • How the building will be tented – are there architectural elements that are fragile and may require stabilization or an armature to protect them from the weight of the tent?
    • The fumigant to be used, how it will be applied, the conditions that need to be maintained with respect to temperature and relative humidity, the duration of the exposure to the fumigant, the recommended method and amount of time required to clear the structure of the gas from the building so that it will be safe for people to enter the building.
    • What type of security will the fumigator provide during the treatment?  This is necessary for protection of the collections and to keep people out until it is safe.


    Before embarking upon a structural fumigation for your building, I encourage you to get as much information about the proposed fumigant and how it is applied; the human health hazards; and information about known reaction with collection materials. Depending upon the proposed treatment (fumigant and the conditions to be maintained) you may need to remove collections from the building, likewise any non-collections materials that may be vulnerable or are likely to retain traces of the fumigant that could be hazardous to future users may need to be removed.  


    Do your research and check out materials published by the Canadian Conservation Institute, the Museum Conservation Institute of the Smithsonian, and the Getty Conservation Institute on pesticides and fumigants and their reactions with collections objects.


    The Integrated Pest Management Working Group maintains an excellent website on pests and pesticide treatments:


    For objects remaining in the building make sure that you have condition reports that are current and complete; after the treatment, condition reports will need to be completed to document any changes that may have been caused by the treatment. Make sure that you have received written permission for treatment from the lenders if any loaned objects will remain in the building during the treatment.


    Require that the applicator provide documentation on everything: fumigant; concentration; duration of exposure; T & RH conditions maintained, etc. This will become part of the permanent record for each object that has been exposed.


    I hope this is helpful.  Good luck.



    Wendy Claire Jessup


    Wendy Jessup and Associates, Inc.

         Care of Cultural Property

    933 N. Kenmore Street, Suite 323

    Arlington, VA 22201

    (703) 522-2801


    CF Partner 2017   aic-pa-mark-sm 


    Art is not an adornment to society. It is not a luxury. It is the purpose of society. It becomes our legacy. It is also, however, our teacher; it helps us consider that which is around us and what we want to be. It makes demands on us that in turn lead us to place demands on ourselves and those with whom we live and work. David Rothkopf, Foreign Policy, 2/22/2017