AIM Pilgrim Trust Remedial Conservation Grant – Cole Museum of Zoology

Restored camel skeleton on display at Cole Museum of Zoology

Cole Museum of Zoology – AIM Pilgrim Trust remedial conservation grant
Conservation of camel Camelus dromedaries

The Cole Museum of Zoology (REDCZ) at the University of Reading (UoR) holds only one complete skeleton of a camel. A grant from the Association for Independent Museums (AIM) has allowed us to completely clean and re-articulate the skeleton for redisplay in the new Cole Museum in the Health and Life Sciences building of the UoR.

The skeleton had been in makeshift storage for many years so required a deep clean. The skeleton was gently cleaned by swabbing with cotton buds dipped in Synperonic A7 in deionised water, then swabbed again with just dampened cotton buds, keeping the bones as dry as possible. However, the dirtiest areas had to be scrubbed with small stiff brushes dipped in Synperonic A7 in deionised water, with acetone added.

The front two ribs were loose and needed to be rewired. The undersides of the toes were covered in black paint from where the plinth had been painted in the past but the toes had not been moved out of the way. The pelvis was broken along its midline and required repair. It was adhered together with Paraloid B72, and the remaining gap filled and strengthened with Japanese tissue paper soaked in Paraloid B72.

The team also had to repair the metalwork and commissioned a new purpose made plinth before the skeleton could be redisplayed. The skeleton now features as a star display following the reopening of the museum in Autumn 2021.

A. Callaghan, M. Cathcart-James, N. Larkin, Cole Museum of Zoology, School of Biological Sciences, University of Reading.

Pictured: Restored camel skeleton on display at Cole Museum of Zoology.