Meeting “Preservation of natural history wet collections: feedbacks and future prospects”. Paris, France, December 5-7, 2018

Natural history wet collections form a precious resource that support many areas including important scientific research, teaching and exhibitions.  Across the world, these collections now contain many plants and animals now extinct or highly endangered, and as such now form an important part of our natural heritage. Their care and conservation presents a significant challenge and attempting to improve their preservation has been a developing field of research since the end of the 19th century. Preservation techniques employed for the preparation, preservation and conservation of wet collections have changed significantly over time, and the proper care of such specimens depends on numerous parameters: the types of fixation or preservation fluids used, type of jars, sealants, storage environments etc. In the medium-to-long term, all these factors have an impact on the anatomical and morphological quality of the specimens as well as on the integrity of the biochemical information they contain such as DNA and proteins. These factors directly determine the use that can be made of the collections: exhibition, morphological study, biochemical research…
The aim of this meeting is to bring together all of those involved in the development, care and conservation of natural history wet collections, be they volunteer, student, curatorial assistant, curator in charge, conservator or researcher, to share collective knowledge and experiences in preserving, conserving and managing wet collections. Discussions will be structured around feedback to presentations and workshops to enable participants to learn from issues and to try and provide achievable solutions. This will also highlight common practices, recurring problems observed within spirit collections, potential drivers, topping strategies as well as future challenges posed by wet collections. The issue of the toxicity of some preservation fluids will also be addressed along with precautionary health and safety measures for the institutional staff.
The first day will be devoted to a workshop, animated by Dirk Neumann (Bavarian State Collection of Zoology, Munich, Germany) and Julian Carter (Wales Museum, Cardiff, UK) on best practices and practical solutions to preserve collections. A keynote given by John E. Simmons (Museologica, Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, USA) on the history of fluid preservation will close this first day. Second and third days will be dedicated to scientific talks organized in three sessions : Management of the collections, Valorization of the collections and Conservation of the collections. Finally a round table  will allow discussions to find new solutions for the preservation of wet collections. Oral presentations will be done in either English or French, with a simultaneous translation.
• Dates of the meeting: December 5-7, 2018
• Venue: Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle, Auditorium de la Grande Galerie de l’Evolution, 36 rue Geoffroy St Hilaire, Paris Vème., France
• Registration is free of charge but mandatory, according to availability
More information on this meeting, click here.