Association of Manitoba Museums

Collections Care Health and Safety Concerns

NEW This page and its content is under development by the CSP Conservator. July 2023.

Working with museum artifacts can raise concerns about health and safety of staff, volunteers and visitors. When working with collections you must always be aware of hidden health hazards that may exist.

Some common safety concerns found in your museum collections may include:

  • Old medical kits.
  • Nitrate film
  • Firearms
  • Lead containing paint.
  • Arsenic and other chemcials used in the taxidermy process.
  • Asbestos insulation in your attics.
  • Hanta virus carried by rodent droppings.
  • Fluid Preserved natural history collection specimens

This page will provide some basic links and resources that the CSP conservator has found helpful over the past several years on how to protect yourself and others, and provide the best care for your collections. For more information or to discuss specific concerns consult the CSP conservator at conservator(at)museumsmanitoba(dot)com or call the AMM office at 204-947-1782, or schedule a CSP site visit.

Resources- Always Consult local law enforcement, and provincial and municipal laws and health regulations when you encounter potential hazards in your collections.

A great tool to start to assess the health hazard risks in your collections has been developed by Museums London

American Institute for Conservation/ Foundation for Advancement in Conservation (AIC/FAIC) has developed a general Museum health and safety assessment tool spreadsheet that assesses everything from hazardous collections to HVAC, Electrical, and building material hazards. 


Resources on various health and safety topics

AIC/ FAIC Health and Safety Network

How to Guide to Hazards in Museum Collections


Hanta Virus

Manitoba Public Health resources Hanta Virus

Center for Disease Control CDC

Conserve O Gram Hanta Virus Disease Health and Safety Update


Health and Safety in Collections Care

AIC Health and Safety WIKI


Historic Medicines


Taxidermied Collections 

Caring for Natural History Collections








The Association of Manitoba Museums acknowledges that we are on Treaty 1 territory and the land on which we gather is the traditional territory of Anishinaabe, Cree, Oji-Cree, Dakota, and Dene Peoples, and the homeland of the M├ętis Nation.