Protecting a collection during an extended close down can be a big task. It’s not just vandals and thieves who might take advantage of fewer numbers of people on site, but also other opportunists such as mould, rodents and insects. As people move out, these agents of destruction like to move in.
As an example, to help manage the display rolling stock at the NSW Rail Museum while temporarily closed, Transport Heritage NSW has boosted on site security while ensuring windows and doors on carriages have been closed, dehumidifier tubs have been topped up and pest traps have been replaced.
All our display cases are already fully sealed and conservation-grade to reduce the risk to some of the more fragile and vulnerable objects on display.
Meanwhile, THNSW staff will be regularly checking for signs of mould growth or insect and rodent activity on site, in rolling stock and on objects. Cleaners will be ensuring all food scraps are removed from the buildings each afternoon to reduce the attraction for rodents and have embarked on a massive clean out and tidy up in general storage areas to reduce hiding spots and damp growth.
Guidelines for mothballing a collection for a period of time due to COVID-19 are available from the Australian Institute for the Conservation of Cultural Collections here.