collections, conduct non-destructive surface analysis, and take samples of surface residues for additional analysis. Artifacts will be chosen for analysis that represent a variety of different species,
makers, and creation dates. We will also meet with the staff to discuss the role of the taxidermy items in each of the collections and provide a training session on the safe handling of hazardous materials.
instrument to provide information about the elements present on the surface. The limitations of this technique are that it cannot provide the information below the surface, for example on the interior of the artifacts, nor can it provide quantitative information about how much of a specific element is present. It also cannot detect very light elements, which are often the components of organic pesticides. This technique is, however, very well-suited for the detection of heavy metals, such as arsenic, mercury, and lead – all of which were commonly used in the preparation of taxidermy specimens. The second technique is pyrolysis Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (py-GCMS) which is used to identify organic compounds. Unlike XRF, this technique identifies compounds rather than elements and will be used to show what organic pesticides – such as paradichlorobenzene (PDB), dichloro-diphenyltrichloroethane (DDT), as well as many others – are present. By using these two techniques, both organic and inorganic pesticides will be identified.