Connecting to Collections Care Online Community

Major pigeon dropping cleanup

This topic contains 7 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  Carolyn Schimandle 6 months, 3 weeks ago.

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  • #139775

    Carolyn Schimandle
    Participant

    Has anyone out there dealt with major pigeon dropping cleanup and disinfection on and around large historical objects? Has anyone hired a museum IPM consultant?

    Two of the old barns at our site have recently been closed off from any access because they have major pigeon dropping contamination, and have been declared too much of a health hazard to enter. This is a fairly new park, and there are still items in the barns that will eventually be pulled out and processed as part of our museum collections, including large and important items such as a wagon used to come west in the 1850s. But that won’t happen until everything is cleaned up and disinfected. Our agency IPM expert is proposing a cleanup and disinfection procedure. He is not an expert in museum IPM, just IPM in general. I don’t want to delay the cleanup too much or add a lot of additional cost, but I’d like to double check the materials he proposes to use with someone familiar with this problem in a historical collection setting. Best I can find in online sources are exclusion techniques and small-scale cleanup of non-historical objects.

  • #139776

    Jeannie Whited
    Participant

    I don’t know that this helps with the large clean-up, but since it sounds like you’ll have an enduring need to deal with droppings…. We’ve had a great deal of success with a product called (I kid you not) Poop-off. It’s an enzymatic cleaner specifically designed for bird droppings, and sold for use in homes. I’ve found it safe on most paints, leather, wood, etc. Of course, you always want to to a small test spot! It comes in wipes, spray bottles, or (best of all for our needs) a gallon jug. Available on Amazon, or probably local bird breeders and maybe larger pet shops that sell bird supplies.

    We’ve also had netting added into our hangar ceiling to prevent birds from nesting in the ductwork and beams. That’s helped, though of course it doesn’t keep them out in the first place 🙁

  • #139777

    EKTO
    Participant

    Hi Carolyn,

    Your inclination to hire professionals to handle a large-scale cleanup is a good one due to the toxicity of the feces. I would recommend hiring a conservator for a consult with regards to the materials making up the areas to be cleaned. If the areas consist of painted wood, for example, alkaline cleaning agents can be problematic. Also, some detergents can remain on surfaces and cause further deterioration. Can you include some more details on the nature of the areas to be cleaned?

    Do you need a referral for a conservator, possibly in your area?

    Thanks,
    Emy

    • #139778

      Carolyn Schimandle
      Participant

      I would love a referral to someone who knows IPM for museum collections. Or perhaps I should contact a wood and/or metal conservator. The main items of concern are an 1850s wagon that the family used to come to California from Missouri, and some other wheeled vehicles. There was a significant truck in one of the barns. I believe it was pulled out before the barn was closed, but I am not positive.

      I did look on the AIC “Find a Conservator” page, but materials were listed only–not museum IPM. The disinfectants and power washing are my biggest concerns.

    • #139779

      EKTO
      Participant

      Hi Carolyn,
      Please check out the Museum Pests website at http://www.museumpests.net

      You can contact them at chair@museumpests.net for a consult.

      Good luck,
      Emy

    • #139780

      Carolyn Schimandle
      Participant

      One of the first things I did was check out the museum pest website. I love their information and have used it before for other issues. Their pigeon information is good, but what I really need is information on what harm the disinfectants may do to materials, and if there are alternatives that are just effective in destroying disease organisms but less harmful to the wood and metal objects stored in the barn. I’ll try contacting them, though; maybe they will have some information that is not online or be able to connect me to someone who does. And I am going to email wood and metal conservators today from Find a Conservator, see if they can help with this issue, and how expensive their time would be.

    • #139781

      EKTO
      Participant

      I have been talking to the conservator-chair of the Museum Pests website about your project–she is expecting to hear from you.

      I am glad you are seeking professional consultation, as your project sounds like it has quite a few variables.

      Best of luck,
      Emy

  • #139782

    Carolyn Schimandle
    Participant

    Thank you, Emy. I will contact her right away!

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