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Advanced Courses on Life Sciences

3rd Edition

Care and Management of Natural History Collections

November 18th-22nd, 2019, Barcelona (Spain)

Museums and Collections

Museums and Collections


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Course Overview

Course Overview

Using a combination of lectures, discussions, demonstrations, and readings, this course will teach participants how to better care for and manage all natural history collections (including botany, geosciences, and zoology).

The importance of the collections storage environment is emphasized, as well as the identification and selection of inert materials, testing locally available materials, adapting collections care standards to particular environmental conditions, and good management through sound policies and collection planning.

Rather than the traditional discipline-based approach, the course teaches collections care based on collection material and preparation type―dry preparations, wet preparations, and documentation (including paper-based and electronic media).

The course will benefit individuals who already have experience in caring for natural history collections, as well as those who intend to work with natural history collections.




Institut Català de Paleontologia Miquel Crusafont (ICP)

C/ de l’Escola Industrial, 23
08201 Sabadell, Barcelona (Spain)

How to get there


November 18th-22nd, 2019




40 hours on-site.

This course is equivalent to 2 ECTS (European Credit Transfer System) at the Life Science Zurich Graduate School.

The recognition of ECTS by other institutions depends on each university or school.


Places are limited to 30 participants and will be occupied by strict registration order.

Participants who have completed the course will receive a certificate at the end of it.

Greg McDonald instructor for Transmitting Science

Dr. Greg McDonald
Bureau of Land Management
United States of America

John E. Simmons instructor for Transmitting Science

John E. Simmons
United States of America

Soledad De Esteban-Trivigno Transmitting Science coordinator

Dr. Soledad De Esteban-Trivigno

Transmitting Science

Judit Marigo coordinator at Transmitting Science

Dr. Judit Marigó
Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle / Institut Català de Paleontologia Miquel Crusafont
France / Spain



  • Introduction.
  • History of natural history collections and specimen preservation.
  • Categories of collections.
  • Use and value of collections and impact on research.
  • Importance of collection-based research and specimens as research vouchers.
  • Permits, CITIES, and other laws and regulations.


  • Theoretical and conceptual bases collections management.
  • Preventive conservation in theory and practice.
  • Security issues for natural history collections.
  • Materials used for collections care.
  • Group I—Dry preserved collections and genetic samples.
    • Whole organisms and parts preserved dry or frozen.
    • Tissues.
    • Bones and teeth.
    • Invertebrate shells and exoskeletons.
    • Rocks, fossils, minerals.
    • Health and safety concerns for dry preserved specimens.
  • Collection visit: Paleontology collection at the Institut Català de Paleontologia Miquel Crusafont.


  • Collection visit: Zoological, Mineralogical, and Paleontological Collections at the Museum of Ciències Naturals de Barcelona.
  • Group II—Wet preserved collections.
    • Whole organisms and parts preserved in fluids.
    • Histological preparations.
    • Minerals, rocks and fossils in fluids.
    • Health and safety concerns for fluid-preserved specimens.


  • Collection visit: Botanical and Historical Collections, and Botanical Garden at the Institut Botànic de Barcelona.
  • Group III—Documentation.
    • Paper based records.
    • Film and tape based records.
    • Electronic records (databases).
    • Molds and casts.
    • Other media.
  • Storage environments and environmental monitoring.


  • Integrated pest management.
  • Professional standards and ethics.
  • Collections management policies.
  • Collection assessment.
  • Conservation assessments.
  • Collection Health Index.
  • Laboratory Sessions:
    • Beilstein test for chlorides in plastics.
    • Detection of glass deterioration.
    • Identifying glass composition with UV light.
    • Marking topping-up levels with grease pencil.
    • Use of pH testing pen on paper.
    • Use of pH indicator strips with fluid preserved specimens.
    • Estimation of lipids in fluids.
    • Smear test for printed documentation.
    • Tape test for printed documentation.
    • Atmospheric pressure demonstration.
    • Surface tension demonstration.
    • Use of visible light meter.
    • Use of ultraviolet light meter.
    • Use of sling psychrometer.
    • Use of dataloggers.
    • Discussions of other important material tests (Oddy test, estimating volatile acids from storage furniture using pH indicator strips; testing inks for lightfastness and solvent resistance).
  • Visit to Museum Blau (optional).

Transportation to the different collections will be organized by Transmitting Science, please check the Schedule.


  • Course Fee
  • Early bird (until June 30th, 2019):
  • 574 € *
    (459.20 € for Ambassador Institutions)
  • Regular (after June 30th, 2019):
  • 721 € *
    (576.80 € for Ambassador Institutions)
  • This includes course material, coffee breaks and lunches (VAT included).
    * Participants from companies/industry will have an extra charge of 100 €.

You can check the list of Ambassador Institutions. If you want your institution to become a Transmitting Science Ambassador please contact us at communication@transmittingscience.com


  • Monday and Tuesday:
    • 9:30 to 13:30 Lessons.
    • 13:30 to 15:00 Lunch (included).
    • 15:00 to 19:00 Lessons.
  • Wednesday and Thursday:
    • 8:30 Meeting point at the ICP to take the bus to the collections.
    • 9:30 to 13:30 Lessons.
    • 13:30 to 15:00 Lunch (included).
    • 15:00 to 19:00 Lessons.
  • Friday:
    • 9:30 to 13:30 Lessons.
    • 13:30 to 15:00 Lunch (included).
    • 15:00 to 19:00 Lessons.

There will be two coffee breaks each day, halfway through each lesson session.

The class schedule is approximate; it is possible that the content of one day may run into the next and a working day may be longer than advertised.


The course will take place in the city of Sabadell, Barcelona (Spain). Take a look at the venue.

You may stay in Barcelona city or Sabadell. You will find information about Hotels and Hostel in Sabadell here. It takes about 45 minutes by public transport to arrive to Sabadell from the centre of Barcelona city. The place of the course is about 15 minutes walking from the train stop.


Discounts are not cumulative and apply only on the Course Fee. We offer the possibility of paying in two instalments (contact courses@transmittingscience.com).

Former participants will have a 5 % discount on the Course Fee.

20 % discount on the Course Fee is offered for members of some organizations (Ambassador Institutions). If you want to apply to this discount please indicate it in the Registration form (proof will be asked later).

Unemployed scientists living in Spain, as well as PhD students based in Spain without any grant or scholarship to develop their PhD, could benefit from a 40 % discount on the Course Fee. If you want to ask for this discount, please contact the course coordinator. That would apply for a maximum of 2 places and they will be covered by strict inscription order.


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