Visual arts, historical documents, books and other artefacts all play an essential role in a country’s national history and without them, we risk losing a huge part of our identity. For this reason, our galleries and our museums must be kept at optimum atmospheric levels to avoid the natural decay of said items. It’s through the use of specialist tools that curators and overseers are able to maintain the right conditions for our cultural enjoyment and preservation.
Testo Australia recently outlined the major dangers to their own national heritage and through their acknowledgement of the risks faced, detailed how equipment is used to control and maintain museum and gallery environments. Here’s what they had to say about the main dangers to Australia’s museum collections:
“The Smithsonian Museum Conservation Institution considers two main factors when displaying and archiving collections: temperature and humidity. These two elements can have a devastating effect on all kinds of materials, ultimately hastening long-term deterioration.
High temperatures can contribute to decay in organic materials such as wood and paper, while low temperature can damage rubber. Frequent changes in environmental conditions will also rapidly reduce the resilience of stored collections. Excessive humidity, meanwhile, can contribute to rot by providing ideal breeding conditions for bacteria and fungi.
Additionally, there is no one ideal storage climate for all artifacts – as such, heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) conditions need to be managed with climate monitoring equipment across different environments.
Controlling Museum and Gallery Conditions
HVAC technicians and building management systems need to work hand-in-hand to better manage display and storage conditions. Here lies another challenge – while the ideal environment for storing collections may have one temperature and humidity level, these figures may not be comfortable for public access. If people can’t view the artifacts, a display is pointless.
This means collections often have to be rigorously monitored when on display to ensure nothing is compromised by variations in temperature and humidity. For example, an entrance door constantly being opened and closed can alter the conditions in a display room and lead to deterioration.
While building management systems can automate temperature and humidity control to a point, manual testing is still vital to ensure the long-term health of historical collections. Additionally, more in-depth data monitoring can improve how collections are monitored by offering archivists real-time information on how items are stored.
Addressing the Dangers to Australia’s Historical Artifacts
Testo’s 160 Wi-Fi data logger offers archivists and historians the all-in-one climate monitoring solution to check temperature and humidity levels in key locations. This makes it easier than ever to assess ongoing environmental conditions and make changes to improve the shelf life of Australia’s priceless cultural collections.
The Testo 160 is capable of logging temperature and humidity levels to tailored, pre-set parameters, giving you ultimate control over how items are stored and displayed. The device also comes with two external probe connections. This allows for easier mobile testing of conditions that your collections may face.”
Protecting the contents of museums and galleries is a crucial part of cultural preservation around the work. With the help of reliable climate monitoring tools, the institutions are able to create the optimum conditions for our heritage to remain preserved and to be able to be enjoyed by our people. For more information about the tools and equipment Testo offers, please get in touch with our helpful team.