Today I was given the task of cleaning the John Hamer mineral collection which is on display at the Kendal museum upstairs in the Lake district natural history gallery.
To clean minerals you need the following tools
- Museum vacuum
- A selection of brushes
- Cotton gloves
When cleaning the minerals it is important to wear cotton gloves as some of the minerals are poisonous. Arsenic (As), lead (Pb), Mercury (Hg) and thallium (Tl) are particularly toxic although poisoning will only be caused by ingestion or inhalation of dust, gloves are worn as a precaution.
The minerals are cleaned using brushes and the museum vacuum cleaner is used to remove dust, smaller brushes can be used to clean the smaller crevices in minerals.
The looking through a lens project will digitise the mineral collection. Tony Riley the digital imaging consultant based at Kendal museum will photograph over 1000 mineral specimens, my role as the collection assistant intern is to assist him with this task. To do this I will use the museum collection management software Modes complete to update records. Whist cleaning the mineral display I noted down the unique accession number for each mineral so that I could update its location on the modes software, this will make it easier when we begin taking photographs in a few weeks time.