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Freezers in Kent

Why do we freeze museum objects?

Freezing collection items can be an effective and chemical free way of eradicating pests and mould, and when proper procedures are followed, there is no damage to the object. This has been a very successful method for particularly textile and taxidermy objects, but can be used with a variety of materials. Some items such as desiccated or severely damaged objects, highly composite objects, materials with a high natural water content, oil and acrylic on canvas, some photographic material are not suitable for freezing so if you are unsure it is important to contact the appropriate conservator. 

Freezing Procedures

Freezers:

  • The minimum temperature that should be used is -18C which most domestic freezers can reach
  • Do not use self defrost freezers
  • The freezer should be capable of reducing temp of object with 24 hours or the pests may not be affected by the freezing
  • Temperatures of - 30C for 3 days, -25 C for 7 days, -18C for 2 weeks
  • Do not over pack the freezer as some areas may not get as cold as other
  • Do not unwrap until the objects have returned to room temperature, 24 hours after they have been removed from the freezer is a good rule of thumb

Object packing :

  • All items should be packed into a clear polythene bag or wrapped in clear polythene sheeting
  • Try and remove as much air as possible
  • All openings should be well sealed with strong gaffer/brown tape
  • A moisture absorber such as a piece of kitchen towel / acid free tissue can also be placed in the package if required
  • A label should be put inside the package with the object, including inventory number and museum name, as well as any other significant information
  • Identification information should be written on the outside of the package with a permanent marker so that it can be identified during the freezing process
  • Loan forms or other documentation to show the object has moved location needs to be completed
  • If you are unsure as to whether you item can be frozen, please contact the relevant specialist conservator

Freezers in your area

A few museums in Kent have kindly offered the use of their freezer for other museums in Kent. Please find more information about what is required and contact details here.

If you have a freezer and would also be willing to open it up to other museums, please email Preventive Conservation Officer, Emily Nisbet-Hawkins.

Similarly, if you have any questions or would like to be removed from the list, please contact Emily.