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Feather Conservation Research: The Impact of Cleaning, Pesticides, and the Restoration of Color

By Julia Sybalsky and Lisa Elkin with AMNH for TSG

This fall will see the culmination of a four-year Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) funded research effort at the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) investigating treatment methodologies for feathers. The project is part of a larger ongoing program that began in 2013 and is dedicated to the development of best practices for the conservation of feathers and fur, with special attention to historic taxidermy. Research partners included Yale University’s Institute for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage (IPCH), the Getty Conservation Institute, and the UCLA/Getty Master’s Program.

Community Input in Advancing Standards of Practice

The current research project targets three primary concerns related to the preservation of feathers:

  • Short and long-term impacts of cleaning on condition.
  • Impacts of materials used to mitigate or deter pest infestation.
  • Methods of restoring lost color.

An online community survey of nearly 100 allied preservation professionals informed the direction of these studies, ensuring that they centered on concerns that reflect common needs.


From the President

I work at a university, where the start of a new fall term year always brings new students, ideas, and energy, and for this reason fall has always felt to me like the perfect time for a fresh start. It’s a great time to begin something new or to turn with renewed focus to projects already underway. Now, I’m writing to provide updates on two major AIC projects that are advancing this fall: Review and revision of our organization’s Bylaws, and the creation of our next strategic plan.

Bylaws Review

AIC’s Bylaws are a legal document that sets out the governing rules by which our organization operates. They specify AIC’s purpose, types of membership, expectations for professional conduct, voting privileges, composition of the board of directors, eligibility to hold elected office, terms of service, how the board interfaces with key staff leadership, and more. In short, they are important.

Read more from Suzanne >>