Prevention is better than cure: implementation of IPM at MOTAT
Deeksha Bhardwaj & Theresa Hy
Deeksha Bhardwaj works as a Conservation Technician at MOTAT. Her role focuses on IPM implementation and conservation treatments at MOTAT. She did her Masters in Conservation and Preservation of Art in Delhi and had her practical training across various museums in India. Her work experience includes Junior conservator at National Museum Delhi, conservator at Howick Historical Village, casual contract employee at GCCMC Melbourne and freelance paintings conservator in both Melbourne and Auckland. She has a strong interest in folk art, traditional art and architectural heritage.
Theresa Hy studied for her Masters of Cultural Materials Conservation in Melbourne and spent time in Australia at Museums Victoria, Museum of Chinese Australian History and ANZAC Village War Memorial Museum in Sydney. Moving to Canada, she was at the Textile Museum of Canada before returning to NZ and joining MOTAT.
The Museum of Transport and Technology’s focus to improve the way the collection is cared for, has prompted a closer look into the implementation of a more comprehensive IPM program. The conservation team at MOTAT has a dedicated IPM program that enables regular monitoring of insects and pests in the collection storage and display areas; regular interpretation of data collected from the traps and taking proactive measures based on the findings.
The IPM program that is currently implemented has now been running for the past 2 years. Throughout this time, we have refined the efficiency of the program. Initially a large number of blunder traps and pheromone traps were deliberately deployed to determine the pest population and to ascertain whether an area had an infestation. The number of traps were gradually adjusted accordingly to better suit the space, make better use of resources and based on pests caught.
Pests (aside from rodents) are seasonally monitored in-house while an external contractor services interior and exterior rodent traps monthly. Incoming loans and acquisitions are quarantined and assessed before coming into the collection. Freezing and borer treatments are currently used for infestations with plans on anoxia treatments in the near future.
As MOTAT spans 3 different sites, IPM is beyond the work of a single-department and relies on the efforts of the entire museum. The IPM program has established a collaboration with the wider museum and provided a clear and consistent channel of communication for reporting pest activity and infestations, general enquiries and advice. IPM group meetings consist of representatives from each of the museum’s departments. This acts as a platform to share concerns and to disseminate findings from seasonal data. A more comprehensive IPM program at MOTAT has given rise to improvements in buildings and IPM processes within the museum.