National Gallery Light Sources website

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This website explains what Spectral Power Distribution is and how it can be used as a comparator to evaluate the efficiency and impact of different light sources. This is an excellent resource for any museum wishing to understand the environmental and conservation impact of different light sources or considering a move to LED lighting. Clicking the […]

Effects of changes in temperature and humidity

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Temperature and relative humidity are essential elements of collections care. Get the conditions wrong and you could find your items ruined. Mould, pests, deterioration and warping are just a few of the problems that can happen if these elements are not stable and controlled. This guide from Museums Galleries Scotland assesses the affects of temperature […]

Air pollution advice sheet

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Museum objects require a certain kind of environment, which includes an atmosphere free of dust and pollutants. Unfortunately the outdoor air is often polluted. This is particularly the case in towns and industrial areas, where vehicles, heating systems and industry produce harmful pollutants. This fact sheet from Museums Galleries Scotland describes basic types of air […]

Managing the library and archive environment

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The life expectancy of collections is significantly affected by the environmental conditions in which they are stored. Environmental problems in buildings can cause significant damage to collections. Poor conditions can lead to damage to hundreds or even thousands of items at one time, each of which may need expensive individual repair. Knowing the environmental conditions […]

Relative Humidity and Temperature Pattern Book

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In order to manage the museum environment, it is important to understand how objects respond to ambient relative humidity (RH) and temperature changes. Collections respond in various ways and at different speeds to the amount of moisture and heat in the air. Museums must record changes in the environment within their buildings in order to […]

Managing the preservation of library and archive collections in historic buildings

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This leaflet from the National Preservation Office, now the British Library Preservation Advisory Centre, aims to help librarians and archivists working in a historic setting to manage preservation projects and achieve results. It focuses mainly on the environmental problems common in historic buildings and outlines ways of tackling these which have been distilled from research […]

Guidance for exhibiting archive and library materials

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The exhibition of archive and library materials has the potential to damage documents and can even lead to loss if security measures are inadequate. Custodians of holdings should be aware of the risks involved from exposure to inappropriate environmental conditions, unsafe support methods and inadequate security provision and strive to maximise the safety of items […]

The prevention and treatment of mould outbreaks in collections

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Collections are predominantly made of organic materials, such as paper, animal skins, textiles, wood, and certain animal and vegetable-based coatings and adhesives. Attack by mould, bacteria, insects and even mammals is inevitable for material that is neglected, exposed to a poor environment or stored in unsuitable conditions. Mould causes irreversible physical and chemical damage to […]

Basic preservation for library and archive collections

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Preventive measures can considerably extend the useful life of collections, and are usually much more cost-effective than interventive measures taken to remedy damage after deterioration has taken place. This publication from the British Library Preservation Advisory Centre provides a starting-point for those managing library and archive collections in all types of institution. It outlines external […]

Using cut flowers and potted plants in museums

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The use of plant and flower materials in museums is growing in popularity as they are increasingly opened for special events and entertaining. Museums are also using plants and flowers to decorate their own permanent displays. This carries a heightened risk of damage to museum objects from pest infestation, pollen staining and from localised increase […]

CAT Condition Assessment Tool

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CAT was originally designed by the Scottish Museums Council as a tool to help museum staff and conservators to better assess collection condition and use the information generated more effectively, particularly for large projects involving many conservation assessors. Its features allow non-conservators to undertake basic assessments of collection condition with a little basic training and […]

Monitoring temperature and humidity in museums

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Temperature and relative humidity are essential elements of collections care. Get the conditions wrong and you could find your items ruined. Mould, pests, deterioration and warping are just a few of the problems that can happen if these elements are not stable and controlled. This advice sheet from Museums Galleries Scotland describes the equipment available, how […]

Monitoring light and UV levels in museums

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Monitoring light and ultraviolet radiation in a museum is an important part of environmental management. This advice sheet from Museums Galleries Scotland introduces the basics of monitoring light and ultraviolet radiation and describes the available equipment (light meters, ultraviolet meters, combined lux and UV meters, dosimeters, data-loggers, telemetric sensors and hard-wired systems), how to look after it, […]

Calibrating a dial hygrometer

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Museums establish, maintain and manage appropriate environmental conditions to preserve the collections in their care – this activity is usually referred to as ‘environmental monitoring and control’. Hygrometers are used to measure relative humidity, an environmental risk that can directly affect the preservation of museum objects. In this short video (2:18) from SHARE Museums East, conservator Juliane Ovenden […]

Calibrating a thermohygrograph

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Museums establish, maintain and manage appropriate environmental conditions to preserve the collections in their care – this activity is usually referred to as ‘environmental monitoring and control’. Thermohygrographs are used to measure temperature and relative humidity, both environmental risks which can directly affect the preservation of museum objects. In this short film (5:35) from SHARE Museums East, conservator […]

Glossary of environmental monitoring

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Museums establish, maintain and manage appropriate environmental conditions to preserve the collections in their care – this activity is usually referred to as ‘environmental monitoring and control’. Environmental monitoring refers to the measurement and recording of environmental risks such as light, relative humidity, temperature and pollution. Environmental monitoring requires a knowledge of the factors to […]

Practical collections care: a syllabus

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SHARE Museums East, in collaboration with Collections Trust, have produced a syllabus that provides a framework for designing a practical course in the care of museum collections. The syllabus describes the activities which form the basis of curatorial knowledge and expertise in collections care and encourages a pragmatic approach. It can be used by anyone […]

Environmental monitoring in museums

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This resource is related to the Accreditation Standard 2.5 Care and Conservation Plan, ‘The museum must have plans to help deliver improvements to collections care and conservation in line with the collections care and conservation policy.’ This advice sheet from Museums Galleries Scotland defines the concept of environmental monitoring in museums and explains why it […]

PAS 198: Specification for managing environmental conditions for cultural collections

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Publicly Available Specification (PAS) 198 defines a risk based approach to managing the museum environment with reference to the needs of the collection, intended use, expected lifetime and energy economy. An overview of PAS 198 is given in this press release from March 2012. PAS 198 contains the following sections which pull together the most […]

An introduction to environmental monitoring

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This resource from SHARE Museums East is related to the Accreditation Standard 2.6 Care and Conservation Plan, ‘The museum must have plans to help deliver improvements to collections care and conservation in line with the collections care and conservation policy.’ It provides an introduction to environmental monitoring and outlines how to identify your museum’s environmental requirements. […]