I think the topic speaks for itself, but isn’t uncommon to museums that have to utilize their space for private events. My question, how do you deal with the smoke given off by sterno? I don’t mean little cans either, I’m talking chef’s cooking with pans, etc. There are items on display and in storage within the space that are not hermetically sealed. In other museums where I’ve worked, catering companies had to set up outside tents or work out of their mobile kitchens. I can talk until I’m blue in the face on how this isn’t a good idea, but in the end it will fall on deaf ears. What suggestions can be offered to preserve the items on display or am I overthinking this?
Sterno is considered an open flame by most fire, building, safety and other regulations and is probably covered somewhere in your local fire and/or building ordinances. Last year there was a food in museums webinar : https://www.connectingtocollections.org/beyond-no-food-or-drink-in-the-gallery/
but, it addressed serving in the galleries, but didn’t really address cooking in the galleries, because, as you know this is a bad idea.
I would try to get the museum to create a special events and food policy that would cover all the bases – locations, cleaning, spills, and ventilation. Try to make them require a portable ventless hood – probably your best bet to filter the grease, smells, etc. An example: http://www.hoodmart.com/commercial-ventless-hood-systems-hmvh23.aspx#.WQDdvxPysdU
Also, here is a link to a convention center policy that cites many regulations – not a museum – but a public space that needs to deal with spaces, people, and safety: https://www.nahbclassic.org/fileUpload_details.aspx?fromIBS=1&contentTypeID=3&contentID=189868&subContentID=673788
Thank you Michael for your input, I plan to share with the Exec and Curator to ensure a safe environment for all.
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