Collection Care and Conservation
Gretchen Anderson is a conservator and the head of the Section of Conservation at Carnegie Museum of Natural History. She was hired in 2009 and works to strengthen collections care by improving environmental conditions throughout the museum, including in exhibitions and storage.
Her research interests focus on preventive conservation practices for natural science collections, including environmental and integrated pest management. To that end, she works with the curatorial departments, exhibits, education, and facilities to determine risks to the collections and develop strategies to reduce those risks. Some of this work is done on the exhibition floor.
In a prior position, Anderson developed public programming—a visible lab, volunteer guides, and video clips in exhibition halls—to explain preventive conservation in museums. She continues this practice at Carnegie Museum of Natural History by conserving collections that are on exhibit in view of the public when possible.
Anderson completed the museum’s accreditation work and secured funding for a museum-wide general conservation survey to set the future course for preservation.
Other federally funded projects include:
- an environmental survey in collaboration with the museum’s Facilities, Planning, and Operations Department (to build strategies to better manage the complex environmental challenges of the museum)
- a storage improvements project for the type collections in the Section of Vertebrate Paleontology
- a storage improvements project for the extensive Anthropology collections
- environmental and storage improvements to the Alcohol House, a historical storage and research facility
Anderson is active in a number of conservation related organizations including the American Institute for Conservation and the Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections, where until recently she served as head of the conservation committee. She is also a founding member of Museum Pest Network. She presents on preventive conservation strategies and teaches best practice methods for museum housekeeping and pest management.
- By Gretchen Anderson, Conservator, and Suzanne B. McLaren, Chair of Collections What are the risks to a museum’s collection? Figure 1: The risks of …
- Did you ever wonder who takes care of all the amazing specimens and objects at Carnegie Museum of Natural History? Learn about …
- Have you seen the new wolf diorama in our redesigned gift shop? Like many of the other fixtures in the shop, the …
- by Kathleen Bodenlos Gretchen Anderson is a conservator at Carnegie Museum of Natural History. She is restoring a panda diorama that will …