Roksana Drobinoga

My main interests are the conservation of natural history, public engagement and Garfield. After graduation I intend to advance my abilities in conservation and research by progressing onto a master’s degree. In my final undergraduate year, I worked on a collection of cased botanical specimens and a display case containing twenty geological minerals. This experience showed me how much natural history collections are a part of our global heritage and offer valuable resources for research and education. I want to focus my career on raising awareness about conservation and advance the field of natural history preservation.

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Owner: Rotherham Museum, Rotherham 

UL Number: 19/191.1 

Dried botanical specimen, Corylus avellana, a common type of hazel. Produced in the early 20th century, c. 1907 by Flatters and Garnett Ltd., nature study specialists from Manchester. According to accompanying documentation, the specimen was collected somewhere in England. The vegetation was dried without pressing and adhered to a paper lining inside a two-part wooden case with a glass cover. 

Condition before treatment: the object was in a reasonable structural condition. The case sides had warped and misshaped edges (possibly from the fluctuations of relative humidity) which had been reinforced with gaffer tape (now deteriorated). Paper labels and lining were yellowed and stained. Inside the case were dust and debris particles. Glass cover had dirt stains and smudges. One brass ring used for hanging the box was missing. 

Conservation treatment: the owner requested for the deteriorated tape to be removed, to clean the inside and re-stabilise the case. The gaffer tape was removed using a scalpel. The inside was gently cleaned using a soft, small brush and an air puffer. The particles were removed using a high-efficiency particulate absorbing vacuum. The paper was dry cleaned, with a Smoke Sponge and Groom Stick (natural rubber). A solvent was used to remove the stains on the glass. Artificially aged tape was used to reinforce the case.

Cased Botanical Specimen - Hazel

 

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Geology Samples in Display Case

 

 

Owner: Private, Lincoln

UL Number: 20/008

A collection of twenty geological specimens presented in a display case made from tropical hardwood. The samples come from the branch of mineralogy. The collection has been acquired by a private owner without documentation about the production date or sample acquisition.

Condition before treatment: the lack of information made the initial visual examination vital for understanding the object’s composition and construction. Each specimen is accompanied by an identification label which allowed for in-depth research after assessment. The display cover was not securely attached, exposing the contents to environmental pollutants, such as dust. The adhesive used during production had deteriorated, and six minerals were detached from their original position. The textile lining was covered in dirt and debris residue.

Conservation treatment: Tremolite has been identified as an asbestiform mineral, known for its fibrous structure. Due to the hazardous nature of the asbestos, special safety precautions were taken. The treatment was influenced by the owner’s plans to keep the collection as an ornament. Tremolite fibres and debris from the textile lining have been removed using mobile dust extractor. The deteriorated adhesive was cleaned using solvents and scalpel. Glass sides have been placed back to their original position, adding stability to the display cover.

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Owner: City of Lincoln 

A collection of parchment (animal skin) and paper charters dating back to the 12th century. The collection belongs to the city of Lincoln and is part of the Lincoln’s Charter Project. The aim was to preserve the documents and raise the public’s awareness of the historical importance of this rare collection. The charters were stored in boxes in the Lincolnshire Archives and have not been treated since the date of their admission, around one-hundred years ago. The objective was to locate, examine and assess the condition of the documents. 

Treatment: for cataloguing purposes, a new electronic system was created using a spreadsheet in Excel. To properly examine the charters, glass weights were made and used as localised support during unfolding. Acid-free tissue paper was used to protect the charters during future storage in the boxes. 

To raise the public’s awareness, treatment was conducted in a designated room with public access and was accompanied by banners and leaflets with information. Engagement and discussions were encouraged. A poster detailing the project was created and presented during the PEARL conference and open weekend at the city’s Guildhall.

Parchment and Paper Charters