More condition reporting

This startled me when I first saw it on the shelf

I have improved my condition report sheets. When I first went into the zoology stores to examine the specimens, I had a makeshift sheet which I jotted down information about the taxidermy on. I have now improved this method, and created a sheet which looks clearer.

I examined the birds on a case by case basis, and most, like the owl above seemed like they would be fairly easy to repair. I can’t help but feel like some sort of strange doctor when I examine specimens. They get placed on the “examination table” then I write out what seems like an odd prescription for them. “Head needs reattaching…wing broken…eye missing..needs replacing” and so forth.
So I was laying this Straw Necked Ibis down on the table for examination…

“Is it serious, doctor?”

when I looked at its wings. I recognized the crumbly residue on them immediately- frass! I checked for live pests but could not find any. It is possible it’s old damage but I emailed the Preventive Conservator with the condition report details just in case. This was the first specimen I found that I labelled “poor” because the damage looks quite bad:

The Straw-Necked Ibis actually has beautiful, glossy feathers on its back. Thankfully none of these were chewed up like the underside of the wings. I keep getting a lot of searches for condition reports on this blog, so I’ve decided to post one. Bear in mind reports differ from museum to museum. When I volunteered in Dry Store Room 1 at the NHM, they had a four page long condition report system. Mine is pretty basic, but it does the job. 
Hope it helps a bit for the people querying the subject!

About Gina Allnatt

I have just finished a year long traineeship as a Biology Curator at Manchester Museum. I am currently a research and curation volunteer in the Entomology and Botany departments. -Gina Allnatt
This entry was posted in Conservation, Taxidermy and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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