Restorative Treatment

Case study- Conservation of 'Hall of North American Mammals' dioramas in American Museum of Natural History

This project encompassed 45 dioramas containing mammalian and avian taxidermy, foreground materials and backdrop paintings. For the duration of this project I acted as Conservation Assistant undertaking:

  • Documentation through condition assessments and photography which were used to identify and prioritise treatments proposals.

  • Exploring and negotiating treatments options, testing new materials, experimenting with application and teaching members of the team how to apply these materials.

  • Conservation treatment of specimens and foreground materials (a combination of taxidermy, plastics, painted surfaces, wax and real botanical specimens. Treatment types included:

a. Dry and wet cleaning techniques.
b. Repairing and consolidating cracked and flaking surfaces.
c. Filling and re-sculpting of fleshy surfaces such as animal snouts, including creating anatomical casts and free-hand sculpting.
d. Restoring colour to mounts using dyes, paints and dry pigments.

Case study- Conservation treatment of Bee Hive Model by Jerome Auzoux

This 19.C papier-mâché model forms part of the Entomology Collection at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History. The hive, along with several bees were in poor condition with previous restoration attempts failing and compromising the original materials. Treatment undertaken included:


  • Cleaning of Hive and all associated bees using gentle dry and solvent-based methods.

  • Removal of degrading cellulose nitrate coating & unsuitable fill materials using acetone/mechanical techniques.

  • Consolidation of original painted surface using japanese tissue and gelatine, keeping to original manufacture.

More information can be found through the video below and at the OUMNH 'More than a Dodo' blog (

Case study- Restoration of Japanese Spider Crab

This Japanese Spider Crab had been on display for decades, resulting in the complete fading of its colour. As a specimen without any associated data, it was decided to restore the specimen to enhance its scientific accuracy and improve its educational value. Treatment undertaken included:


  • Cleaning using dry and solvent-based methods to remove engrained dirt.

  • Removal of old fill materials, consisting of cardboard, newspaper, cotton wool and animal glue.

  • Missing sections free-hand sculpted & replica sections moulded and cast using Jesomite plaster.

  • Fragile areas consolidated using polyethylene foam, acid-free tissue and acrylic resin.

  • Protective barrier layer of acrylic resin applied to all areas.

  • Specimen repainted using airbrush and acrylic inks.

More information about this project can be found at:

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