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What’s In the Showcase?

butterfly collectionThis month, we honor Ian McCleary’s memory during this, his birth month. Keith McCleary has offered to display his late son’s butterfly collection. Collecting butterflies has been a time honored hobby for centuries and especially popular during Victorian times.

The usual method of display is in a glass-covered box, with the insects mounted on specially made non-corrosive insect pins stuck into foam board (typically Plastazote) or paper-covered cork at the bottom of the box. Common pins are not used. Very small insects are either pinned on “minuten” (very tiny pins) into a block of plastazote borne by a standard insect pin or glued to a small piece of card on the pin. There are specific procedures for proper mounting that are used to show off the insects’ unique characteristics.

If Ian’s collection whets your appetite for looking at these beautiful creatures, there are many large collections in museums, especially natural history museums. This writer recommends the
North Museum of Natural History and Science, located at 400 College Avenue, Lancaster, PA, which is on the campus of Franklin and Marshall College. They have a very nice collection of butterflies and other insects in specially built cabinets.