SHARE
Just chilling ... Curator Chloe Searle with the new chest freezer at the North Otago Museum. PHOTO: TYSON YOUNG

The North Otago Museum values the past but it is also keeping up with the times.

The museum has recently installed a freezer for the purposes of sterilising historic items.

Curator Chloe Searle was pleased to finally have the freezer in place.

“It is only a freezer but I can say I was very pleased to get it,” she said.

The Waitaki District Council provided the freezer for the museum.

Items that went into the freezer were stored for about three weeks before they were thawed out and processed, Ms Searle said.

In that three-week period, any bacteria or insects on the item were eliminated.

The procedure worked best against borer, silverfish and other pests that could damage items.

It was common practice for most museums in New Zealand to freeze items before storing them, she said.

Although it was not compulsory, the museum installed the freezer to improve its standards.

“We really wanted to improve our practice,” Ms Searle said.

“It’s always good to prevent problems before they occur.”

The process worked best when treating clothing or other fabric-based items that came into the museum.

Freezing an item was also cheaper and convenient than chemically sterilising it, she said.

On average, between 50 and 100 items each year were given to the museum.

People at home that were concerned about wanting to preserve items such as family heirlooms could put them in their own freezer for three weeks to rid the item of possible pests.

“The most important thing is just that length of time – it’s not something that putting it in there for 24 hours is going to do.”