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Policies of the George Post Herbarium

GUIDELINES FOR WORKING IN THE HERBARIUM

I. Visiting hours: The Herbarium is open on weekdays by appointment only. It is advisable that visitors plan for their visits in advance. Visitors who plan to bring their material to the Herbarium for identification should submit their material earlier for deep freezing. It will be ready for collection in not less than 72 hours from the time of placement in the freezer.

II. Health and Safety: Post Herbarium specimens have been chemically treated with naphthalene and possibly with mercuric chloride to deter insect infestation. The specimens should be handled with care. Masks and gloves will be available for use within the room.

III. Behavior in the Herbarium:
Because each specimen is an irreplaceable museum specimen, good practice in the Herbarium is a necessity in order to preserve the specimens. The following are rules that any visitor should observe while handling Herbarium material.

  1. Never eat or drink inside the Herbarium.
  2. Do not open windows. The air conditioner must stay on all the time.
  3. Never leave the cabinet doors open. Always make sure they are firmly shut so dust and insects cannot enter.
  4. Turn off all lights when leaving the room.

  IV. Removal of specimens:

  1. Never reach up to remove material from high shelves, always use steps or a ladder. Some samples may have irritating hairs and dust that might get into your eyes.
  2. When removing material from the shelf, hold specimens by both sides and take them out as one whole block.
  3. Never remove any material from the Herbarium to study elsewhere except under special need. In such cases, the curator has to:
    1. Check that all the information on the species folder is present on the sheet.
    2.  Insert a hanging label in the cabinet to indicate the taxon removed, date of removal, the name of the person that removed it and its present whereabouts.
  4. Never try to cram too many specimens into one shelf.

  V. Handling of specimens:

  1. Never turn the specimens as though they were pages of a book. Keep the folder flat on a table and lift the sheets one at a time with their faces up.
  2. Never align the specimens in a cover by holding it upright and striking one edge of the cover on the table. Specimens are brittle and fruits, flowers, and seeds etc. can detach and fall off.
  3. Never rest books, heavy objects or elbows on a Herbarium folder.
  4. Never bend a specimen to examine it under a microscope. It is advisable to use a long – armed microscope or a hand-lens.
  5. Old determination labels must never be removed. New ones can be added with the date and botanists name in full using the annotation labels provided.
  6. Always use archival material such as pens, glue, and acid free paper that is provided to you.

VI. Loan Policies:

  1. To other institutions off campus: researchers working in plant sciences are always welcome to examine our material in the Post Herbarium.
  2. Outgoing loans: the curator of the borrowing institution should make an official request on behalf of the botanist needing the material. The request should be approved and signed by the chairman of the Natural History Museum Committee.  The request should include precise information about the specimens needed, such as species name and synonyms, country of region, collector’s names and numbers. An approximate time period (1-2 years) for the loan should be indicated.
    The following points apply to loans:
    1. Type specimens are not loaned. However, we can send scanned images upon request.
    2. All specimens should be handled with maximum care.
    3. No removal of any part of the specimen is allowed without permission.
    4. Old determination labels must never be removed. New ones must be clearly written with dates and botanists name in full, using archival material.
    5. A letter will be sent from the curator, prior to sending the loan, stating the content of the loan and the expected time of arrival. If any damage occurred in transit, or if material does not arrive at the expected time, inform us immediately.
    6. The specimens should be well packed to guarantee their safety and insured.
    7. All pertinent loan data, including transaction number, date; the Collection Manager maintains description, and count of specimens. The Collection Manager may grant extensions of loan periods only after a written request has been received. Loans of more than 100 specimens must be approved by the Chairman of the department.
  3. Incoming Loans: staff members and researchers in the department may burrow Botanical specimens from other institutions. It is the duty of the Herbarium manger to request the loan of specimens.
    When the burrowed specimens arrive, it is the policy of the Post Herbarium to:
    1. Handle all incoming loans with the great care, store the specimens in a tight insect proof herbarium cabinets and return specimens safely and efficiently.
    2. Keep record of dates, lender, description of material lent and loan period.
    3. Annotate, whenever possible all borrowed specimens.
    4. Return all loans within the specified loan period, or submit a written request for an extension.

VII. Policies for Acquisition:

  1. Acquisitions will be accepted on the basis of the quality of the botanical material and the information associated with the specimen. We also take into consideration the teaching interests of the active faculty within the Biology Department and the suitability of the specimens to form an integral part of the collection. The acquisition of cultivated material will be discouraged, unless it is directly relevant to the research interest of active systematists in the Department.
  2. We desire material consistent with our collections, mainly the Middle East region, in order to achieve more comprehensive taxonomic coverage from this area.

Contact details: Nada Sinno Saoud, e-mail: herbpost@aub.edu.lb

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