Different procedures are proposed in the literature for the rehydration of dried-out specimens. These procedures vary greatly in their efficiency and application. This work describes a new procedure that is inspired by the literature but that avoids heating the specimens. This method was applied to reconditioning dried-out specimens from a historical collection (Swiss freshwater fishes, bird brains, and bird eyes), stored at the Naturhistorisches Museum Bern in Switzerland. The procedure consists of five steps. The first step is the softening of hardened soft tissue with benzaldehyde and demineralized water. The second step is an indirect rehydration with water vapor. The third step is a chemically induced direct hydration using a trisodium phosphate solution that allows the specimen to swell in size before being washed with water to remove all additives. Finally, the rehydrated specimen is transferred into new preserving fluid. Because the dehydrating properties of ethanol as a preservative are problematic, this paper presents the results of an experimental case study using a glycerol solution as a preservation fluid.

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