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A previously unknown and neglected part of St Albans Museum’s collection including animal and plant specimens preserved in fluid was presented in this exhibition, shining a light on the restoration process of these weird and wonderful creatures and saving them from the brink.

This ambitious project involved researching and conserving St Albans Museums’ collection of nearly 200 animal and plant specimens. Over six months, a group of 16 volunteers took part in ‘practical pickling’ and research.

“When they closed the old museum, they came across a locked cabinet about 4-foot-tall marked “danger” and when they opened it, they found a whole series of glass jars that were filled with specimens that had been collected at some period in the museum’s history.”


- Wendy, Volunteer

This exhibition is an opportunity to offer a glimpse into the work that goes on behind-the-scenes to ensure collections survive for future generations. It enables these specimens to be displayed for the first time in many years.

Curated by Conservator of Collections Alison Foster.

Volunteer picklers: Jo Askham, Tayba Batool, Charley Bourner, Caroline Carr, Stacey Endres, Elspeth Farrar, Kate Green and Jill McMaster.

Volunteer researchers: Steve Brooks, Katy Cook, Gill Fenner, Su Gray, Wendy Hartnell, Helen Hughes, Andrew Lucas and Jasmin Payne.     

We gratefully acknowledge support from: St Albans Museums and Galleries Trust, Barbara Whatmore Charitable Trust, The Arts Society and National Lottery Heritage Fund.

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