The Museum has three specialised technical laboratories engaged in ensuring the preservation of its collection resources:
Preventive conservation and restoration laboratory
This laboratory caters to all the Museum collections, which comprise a total of over three million specimens. The conservators/restorers resolve all conservation issues and incidents brought to their notice by the museum curators.
The laboratory also attends to queries from other museums or public entities which are custodians of natural history heritage collections or that hold specimens consisting of organic material of animal or vegetal origin. Likewise, it deals with applications for information to do with the packaging, transport and storage of natural history collections, as well as of the materials and instruments used in conservation and restoration.
It provides placements for students taking official courses in conservation and restoration imparted at the College of Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Property of Catalonia (ESCRBBC) and at the Universidad de Barcelona Arts Faculty. Occasionally, the laboratory conservators/restorers give guided tours on arranged visits for schools or faculties when the subject matter is to do with the conservation and restoration of cultural heritage.
Zoological preparation laboratory
In order to preserve zoological specimens, they, or their relevant body parts, must be treated to prevent the natural deterioration of dead organic matter. The Museum has a laboratory/workshop for preparing animals that are to be conserved whole in preserving fluid, as well as for any particular body parts that have to be conserved in the most appropriate manner, such as the hide for study purposes, a disarticulated skeleton, outspread wing, or tissue sample, etc. Depending on the Museum’s requirements and the type of material it receives, specimens may be naturalised and vertebrate skeletons may be assembled. Find out more about the naturalisation of a jaguar.
When the specimens are ready they are kept in storage until they are required for use in research or for display purposes.
The future specialised Unit of the Geology and Palaeontology Laboratories (ULG), will be the operative unit formed by the Geology Preparation Laboratory (LPG) and the Thin Section Laboratory (LLP) at Natural Sciences Museum of Barcelona.
The following activities will be carried out in the Geological Preparation Laboratory: assessment of the condition of the specimens, and planning and implementation of any necessary action. Lab processing of geological and palaeontological specimens is a basic task and is therefore absolutely essential for ensuring their proper conservation.
The Museum’s Thin Section Laboratory will provide the basic services for preparing thin sections, which are essential for ensuring good documentation and research.