Environmental Guidelines for Museums
Source: Canadian Conservation Institute (CCI)
This general introduction to the current approach to controlling ambient RH and temperature in museums is intended for all museum professionals. It is based on the “Museums, Galleries, Archives and Libraries” chapter in the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning Engineers Inc. (ASHRAE) Handbook, a rather technical document intended primarily for engineers designing, maintaining, or operating HVAC systems in buildings that house heritage collections. The approach taken in the chapter represents a departure from earlier more traditional thinking about museum environments, which called for stringent control of RH and temperature. In the current approach, RH fluctuation is linked to measurable damage in artifacts. Certain types of artifacts are much more sensitive to RH fluctuation than others, and it is neither economical nor environmentally acceptable to have very tightly controlled conditions if they are not necessary.