Conservation of Specimens in Fluid

an urchin The Cole Museum of Zoology has a wide collection of animal specimens preserved in alcohol, formaldehyde and other preservatives. These are between 60 - 100 years old. We constantly monitor the fluid level and measure the % alcohol or pH if the specimen is in formaldehyde. Dried out specimens are rehydrated and refixed in formaldehyde then taken up through a ladder of increasing alcohol concentration until we reach 80%. The jar is then sealed with gelatine. If specimens have become detached from the glass plates, they are either retied or stuck down with celloidin.

In the past three years we have managed to conserve over 500 specimens with the help of funding from the Arts and Humanities Research council. 

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