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Tech. Leaflet 248: Handling/Exhibition of Potentially Hazardous Artifacts (PDF)

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Historical collections often contain hazardous and dangerous artifacts of dubious origin.

Neil Cockerline and Melinda Markell provide a primer of how to deal with specific types of objects, ranging from firearms to taxidermied specimens, and those containing unsafe materials, such as asbestos and cellulose nitrate.

Each object or material is defined with ways to identify it and an explanation of its dangers.

The full range of objects and materials covered are:

  • ammunition and explosives
  • asbestos
  • cellulose nitrate
  • ethnographic artifacts (such as weapons containing poisons)
  • firearms
  • glass globe or glass cylinder fire extinguishing bombs
  • industrial and household preservatives
  • poisons, solvents, and cleaning agents
  • medical equipment, scalpels, and medicines
  • mold
  • swords, knives, and other military and hunting equipment
  • taxidermy specimens
  • veterinary medicines and equipment

This makes an easy-to-use reference tool for dealing with potentially hazardous artifacts.

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Technical Leaflet #248 (2009)