Museums can be exciting and enriching places to visit for people of all ages. With the correct approach, museums also can offer business opportunities to keen pest management professionals. Museums, large and small, publicly and privately owned, tend to all have similar goals of creating comfortable spaces for the public while protecting valued collections and objects from harm. Landing a museum contract requires that a pest management professional exhibit a certain understanding of museums in addition to having strong business credentials. The following categories should assist pest management professionals with attaining IPM contracts with museums.
Health and Safety.
Visitors to museums can be anyone from infants to the elderly, so public safety is essential. IPM strategies such as inspection, pest trapping, sanitation and exclusion should be exhausted prior to any isolated pesticide application. Any and all pesticide applications should be first cleared with museum staff. Less pesticides is always better within a museum.
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 often will need to go behind-the-scenes in museum settings and many times will be escorted during the entire visit by museum personnel. The true professional will inquire about security policies and procedures of the museum before work commences. Let the museum know the time of a visit well in advance of arrival. Identifying oneself as a pest management professional with a photo ID badge and wearing appropriate marked clothing with your company name will eliminate unfortunate conflicts with security personnel.
Respect for Collections.
A big part of a museum professional’s job description is protection of objects that the museum displays and stores. They want the objects in their care to be in the same condition in five hundred years as they are today. For this reason, they take it very personally if a contractor of any type does not treat the objects with equal or greater respect than they do. A PMP should never handle or otherwise move a museum object while servicing the facility. A museum curator should be notified if something needs to be moved and they should be the ones to physically handle and move the object. This takes all liability away from the PMP. Also, contractors should be physically aware as they walk through storage areas. Flashlights and other pest management tools can stick out away from the body and accidentally knock precious items off shelves and tables. Graphite pencils are the best writing utensil to use in a museum as ink pens can make accidental marks on artifacts as you walk by holding the pen in your hand.
Knowledge of Museum Pests.
General pests — such as ants, roaches and spiders — certainly end up in museums and technicians need to be able to manage these pests as they would in any environment. On top of that, though, there are a category of pests that are specific to museum collections that can be extremely damaging to those collections. These include clothes moths, carpet beetles, wood-boring beetles, silverfish and many others. Pest management professionals working in a museum environment need to familiarize themselves with these pests in order to best protect items in the museum. In order to get this training, companies must seek out museum pest ID workshops and also supply museum IPM reference materials to service technicians in order to assist them in identifying the insects and pest damage that they are seeking.
Having knowledge of the types of materials kept in the museum and having knowledge of the types of pests that feed on these materials can benefit companies in the interview process. Most museums have a website that makes it easy to see what their main focus is and what types of objects they store and display. Each institution also will have different receiving areas for incoming objects. Many times, the wooden crates that objects arrive in are the source of pest problems. Understanding the specifics of receiving, isolation and storage of incoming goods will assist in pest prevention.
Museum staff members typically have a university level or higher educational background and may already know a lot about their major pests through their own Internet searches, or from having spoken with entomologists. If a company can display an equal or better knowledge of pests as the museum staff member while also expressing first-hand information of how to attempt management of these pests, the chances of landing the account are much better.
A professional approach to pest management such as keeping good records through documentation of pest visits and trap captures, utilizing bar-coded monitors, and generating quality reports also can play an important role 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. Don’t be afraid to discuss your company’s IPM philosophy with the museum and, more importantly, be a good listener to their philosophy. Be willing to adjust your own methods to match their expectations. If a museum wants quality pest management they usually are willing to pay for it.
About the author: Patrick Kelley is a board certified entomologist and vice president of Insects Limited, Westfield, Ind.
Daryl Dever,a lobbyist and government specialist from the Columbus, Ohio area died after being stung multiple times during a golf outing in Northerhn Michigan, NBC 4 reports.