Collections Care

The Collections Care and Conservation Department works with museum staff to improve the level of care and management of museum specimens. This includes a focus on preventive conservation, developing and implementing solutions that will maximize the life expectancy of specimens. During our building expansion and renovation, for example, our objective is to improve significantly the storage cabinetry for specimens — replacing antiquated, inadequate cabinets with state of the art steel cabinets.

Our goals also include improving the registration of specimens and management of information associated with specimens. We are obligated to be sure that specimens are collected legally, and that ownership is fully transferred to the Museum. For the specimens to be useful for science and education, the Museum is equally obligated to manage and make accessible the information associated with each specimen.

The Curator of Collections has, therefore, general oversight of all the objects owned by the Museum, including objects on exhibit and those held by the Education department for use in teaching. She provides expertise on object conservation issues and general museum policy affecting the care and management of specimens. The Curator actively seeks funding opportunities to support collection care. The position is temporarily vacant; questions should be referred to Dr. Michael Wall.

Learn more about the size of our collections and how we care for collections, or check out more resources here

Caring for theNAT's Live Animals

Jim Melli, manager of theNAT’s live animal exhibit program, explains how his lifelong fascination with animals makes him perfectly suited to care for the animals we use in our exhibits and programs, and tells us why it is important to create animal encounters for our visitors.

Mitch the Rattlesnake Extraordinaire

In this video, our Exhibits team shows how they administer medicine to a sick rattlesnake. Mitch is a permanent resident of theNAT and lives in Water: A California Story on Level 1 of the Museum. Learn more about reptiles and amphibians within our region by visiting our new web app, the Reptile and Amphibian Atlas of Peninsular California.

A Visit to the Nature to You Loan Library

Did you know theNAT has an entire library of specimens that can be checked out for use by artists, teachers, scholars, school groups, or anyone with an interest in natural science? Education Collection Manager Lauren Marino gives us a peek into the Loan Library and answers some frequently asked questions about the taxidermied specimens.