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  • 1.  Fumigation options for a collection of African objects

    Posted 04-26-2023 11:32 AM

    Hello all.


    We are in the process of receiving a substantial donation of African objects -- best estimate is 150-200 objects. The collection is coming from a private home and will need to be fumigated before it can enter our offices or storage areas. As a staff of 2 without a conservator, we are looking for recommendations on the best way to carry out the fumigation as well as companies that we can hire. 


    - Should the objects be wrapped and sealed for X-number of months to suffocate any infestation?

    - Should the objects be wrapped and placed in a deep freeze X-number of months to get rid of any infestation?

    - If freezing is the best option, are there companies that do this either in their facilities or would we rent a refrigerated truck and park it on our premises?

    - Are there another options?


    With many thanks,



    Marisa J Pascucci

    Gallery/Collection Coordinator

    (Pronouns: she/her)




    Gallery/physical address: 315 N Main ST, Davidson, NC 28035
    Mailing address: Van Every/Smith Galleries, Davidson College, Box 7117, Davidson, NC 28035




  • 2.  RE: Fumigation options for a collection of African objects

    Posted 04-27-2023 12:54 PM

    Here is what we normally do to treat objects either as a precaution or for active infestation:
    Place objects in poly bags.  Tape or twist tie shut.
    Freeze at -20F for 1 week preventative
    If you suspect an active infestation or if the material is highly susceptible to insects (i.e. wool, fur, feathers).  Freeze 1 week, Bring to room temp for 1 week, Refreeze for 1 week.
    Replace the bags after freezing and monitor periodically since you can never be 100% you got everything.  Some insects, unfortunately really like the deep freeze . . .
    Before we had a walk-in freezer, we had / still have a chest freezer which handled most average sized objects.  Oversized objects went across town to the ANSP which had a large walk-in at the time.
    We also rented a freezer truck for two large in-coming projects and parked it next to the building.  It will need to run and you will need to take into consideration refueling.

    Give a yell if you have questions.

    Chrisso Boulis
    Registrar, Records
    Penn Museum - University of Pennsylvania
    Philadelphia PA

  • 3.  RE: Fumigation options for a collection of African objects

    Posted 04-28-2023 07:07 AM

    Hi Marissa, 

    the site, is a wonderful resource for identification, monitoring, and solutions (treatment). Several notes: 

    - be sure to include monitoring in your protocols. For you, that might mean including sticky/bllunder traps in sealed plastic bags with your objects until you have an appropriate freezer that you can use. 
    - low temperature treatment (freezing) is the most common method of pest eradication for museums in the US, but you must insure that the tempurature reaches -20 F ( - 30 C) for one week. It is important to reach a temperature this low in order to insure that all phases of the pest's life are killed. Note that commercial chest freezers often do not reach this temperature or cycle through higher temperatures in an effort to remain frost free.  There are freezer trucks available that can reach these temperatures, but you must do the research to make sure that they can reach and maintain low enough temperatures for your use.
    - more details are available on the website! Check it out! 

    Rachael Arenstein
    co-chair Museumpests,net Working Group

    Rachael Arenstein
    A.M. Art Conservation LLC