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Conservation Confidential

Heavy Metals and Poisonous Plants: Hazardous Materials in the Penn Museum’s Collection

Friday, February 26, 2021 |
1:00PM - 1:30PM ET

This is a virtual event.
Beaded moccasins with tassels.


Virtual Event - Penn Museum


Part of the Digital Daily Dig Series

On the last Friday of the month, join conservators in our labs to get a behind-the-scenes look at their work caretaking Penn Museum artifacts. Hear about the treatments artifacts need, see conservation in action, and gain access to objects not on view in our galleries in these short special features. Virtual visitors can ask our talented staff questions through live Facebook chat. And we’ll share fascinating Artifact Lab blog posts to help illuminate the work of conservators.

Museums are home to objects made from all sorts of materials, and not all of them are good for the human body. For example, there are ancient pigments made from mercury, metals alloyed with lead, and beads carved from toxic plants. And to protect them from insect damage, some collections may have been treated with pesticides that now leave behind dangerous residues. This Conservation Confidential offers a brief overview of the hazards one might find in a museum collection, outlining how we protect ourselves and our visitors from harm so we may continue to learn from these important artifacts.

Conservation Confidential programs are archived and available to view on the Digital Daily Dig page.

To access the livestream with a Facebook account

  • Open Facebook and search for “Penn Museum.”
  • Click the “Like” button to like and follow Penn Museum on Facebook. The button is immediately beneath the main cover photo.
  • For regular updates about this event and to leave questions for the lecturer to answer during the livestream, RSVP “Going” on the Conservation Confidential event page on Facebook and comment in the discussion tab.
  • At 12:55 pm ET on the evening of the Conservation Confidential, go to the Penn Museum’s Facebook page. The livestream will begin at 1:00 pm ET.
  • Make sure you've got your refreshments handy!
  • In the bottom left corner of the screen, a small pop-up box should have appeared that will say, “Penn Museum is now live” with an image of the livestream. Click the box to watch the livestream. You may comment and ask questions throughout the livestream session.

To access the livestream without a Facebook account

  • Unfortunately, Facebook does not allow the public to watch livestream videos if the user does not have a Facebook account. The newest Conservation Confidential video will be uploaded to the Digital Daily Dig within a few days of the livestream.

Free and Open to the Public

Join Virtual Event

Part of the Digital Daily Dig Series