Harvard’s Peabody Museum successfully demonstrates new method for identifying mammalian materials used in cultural objects; opens door for large scale-studies

Harvard’s Peabody Museum successfully demonstrates new method for identifying mammalian materials used in cultural objects; opens door for large-scale studies

Cambridge, MA. October 5, 2015. A two-year project funded by the National Center for Preservation Technology and Training implemented the use of a modern bioanalytical technique (Peptide Mass Fingerprinting—PMF—described below) to identify materials in cultural objects. The Peabody Museum with the Straus Center for Conservation and Technical Studies at the Harvard Art Museums and the FAS Division of Science proposed a proof-of-concept project to demonstrate that (1) PMF could corroborate or replace current methods of materials’ identification by providing specific and accurate information about materials’ sources, (2) PMF could be learned quickly and used successfully by non-expert museum personnel, (3) the technique was sufficiently sensitive to ensure that sample size requirements were consistent with museum sampling practices, and (4) large numbers of objects could be studied in a short period of time. More.