South West Museum Development

Historic England backs Pest Partners project to safeguard collections across South West England

Image: Pest damage on a book (Lieven CC BY-SA 4.0)

The Pest Partners project from South West Museum Development has received a timely boost, courtesy of an Historic England emergency grant of more than £24,000. 

South West Museum Development supports museums and heritage organisations throughout England’s South West region, and its new Pest Partners project has been established to ensure none of the institutions it works with lose invaluable artefacts due to infestations.

Lockdown closures coincided with the period when many pests associated with damaging collections are at their most prevalent. Clothes moths and carpet beetles, for instance, can severely damage important historic collections if left undisturbed through the spring and summer.

To ensure any damage is kept to a minimum, South West Museum Development created Pest Partners to assist venues in trapping, tracking and identifying pest activity so they can effectively and speedily manage infestations.

Furniture Beetle (Woodworm) damage on an object © South West Museum Development, 2014

Making this a reality has only been possible thanks to a grant of £24,170 from Historic England’s Emergency Response Fund. With this support, South West Museum Development hopes to help around 200 heritage organisations in its local area.

“Having seen the terrible damage that pests can do, we have been greatly concerned about their unchecked spread in collections that had to be locked down this spring,” notes Helena Jaeschke, conservation development officer at South West Museum Development, who submitted the application for support.

“We are so encouraged by this funding from Historic England which will enable us to help protect a much wider range of historic collections across the South West.”

Applications for Pest Partners are open to organisations located in the South West with a heritage collection ordinarily open to the public. More information and application details are available via the South West Museum Development website or by contacting Helena Jaeschke at [email protected]