Whilst museums struggle to counter growing numbers of pests during lockdown, a new card game has been created to boost knowledge of the main offenders’ identification and treatment.
These are designed to help all staff, not just those directly dealing with pests, but everyone else in the organisation: front of house staff and cleaners are often the first to encounter (or unknowingly clear away) evidence of such pests.
Each card features clear images and a life-size silhouette of the pest to be identified, while the rear side of the card includes further details of the damage they inflict, their adult and juvenile sizes, and details of their preferred conditions.
“It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time,” says Helena Jaeschke, the Conservation Development Officer with the South West Museum Development programme, whose daughter is a professional games designer. Together they developed a ‘Save the Museum!’ card game, loosely based on the popular ‘Top Trump’ format, featuring 26 of the most common and most readily identifiable pests.
You can flick through the cards to learn details about pests and possible treatments whilst having a coffee break, or else challenge each other with a game,” Jaeschke says. “It’s a great way for everyone to become more confident in identifying and dealing with pests and protecting our heritage.”
The Save the Museum cards were originally created by South West Museum Development as part of Pest Partners, a Historic England funded project which aimed to help organisations in South West England identify, monitor and manage pests in heritage collections. They are now available for museums and heritage collections more widely to use, to tackle pests in their collections.