Pest Management in Museums

by Pat Kelley, Vice President

Museums can be exciting and enriching places to visit for people of all ages. With the correct approach, museums can also offer business opportunities to keen pest management professionals. Museums, large and small, publicly and privately owned, tend to all have similar tasks of creating comfortable spaces for the public while protecting valued collection objects from harm. Acquiring work within a museum requires the pest management professional to exhibit a certain understanding of museums that go along with strong business credentials to secure the job. The following categories should assist pest management professionals with attaining IPM contracts with museums.

Health and Safety: Museums are public places that require consideration of the safety of the public and staff. IPM strategies such as inspection, pest trapping, sanitation, and exclusion should be exhausted prior to any isolated pesticide application.

Security: The nature of museums and the valued objects that they store elicit a need for upgraded security when compared to other places of business. Pest management professionals will often need to go behind the scenes in museum settings and many times will be escorted during the entire visit by museum personnel.

Respect for the Collections: A big part of a museum professional’s job description is protection of the objects that the museum displays and stores. A PMP should never handle or otherwise move a museum object while servicing the facility.

Knowledge of museum pests: There is a category of pests that are specific to museum collections that can be extremely damaging to those collections. Pest technicians need to be able to identify museum pests such as; clothes moths, carpet beetles, wood boring beetles, silverfish, and many others.

Professionalism: A professional approach to pest management such as keeping good records through documentation of pest visits and trap captures and generating quality reports can also play an important part in securing a contract with a museum. Technicians should be well trained in aspects that museums take seriously, such as public safety, the safety of the collections, and maintaining aesthetics when placing traps.

Pest Management in Museums

Pat is a member of the IPM Working Group for Museums. He has worked with Insects Limited for 30 years. He is a board certified entomologist, graduate of Purdue University, and is currently completing his Masters in Entomology from Nebraska University. Pat works in the field weekly with a variety of museums and historical houses. He has truly carved his niche in the pest management field.

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