The Preservation Handbook Online

Table of Contents

I. Preservation
II. Assessment
III. Collection Assessment
IV. Agents of Deterioration
V. Monitoring collections
VI. Materials
VII. Storage
VIII. Conservation
IX. Disaster Planning
X. Housekeeping
XI. Resources / Suppliers
XII. Preservation Grants

The next step...block

Temperature and relative humidity

  • Steps can be taken to improve the general structure by caulking and weather-stripping windows, doors, etc. The goal is to reduce air infiltration, lower the cooling and heating loads, reduce particulates in the building, and minimize pest access. Sealing the building to environmental stresses will reduce water vapor and conversely reduce relative humidity levels. Sealing the building will also minimize temperature fluctuation.
  • Light

  • Outside light should be blocked by using, curtains, blinds, awnings, or UV coating on the glass or replace panes with  UV protected plexiglas. Indoor light sources should be monitored for safe light levels.
  • Biological

  • Traps for rodents and insects should be placed in areas of possible entry like loading docks, window seals, dark corners, and doors used to move in and out of the building.
  • Traps in storage areas should be placed in a grid pattern that covers the entire area.
  • Outside lights should be sodium vapor to minimize pest attraction.
  • Pollutants

  • Pollutants can be blocked through air filtration and purification. There are many levels to this and money will most likely dictate the types of environmental controls that are available.

  • Reactivity

  • All materials have a unique chemical composition and will react to the environment differently. Understanding the nature of a wide spectrum of materials helps to assess composite objects and design safe storage arrangement in mixed media collections.
  • Humans

  • Humans cause the most object deterioration. Steps to block human initiated deterioration will require staff training and effective security measures. Improper storage, exhibition, handling and non-conservation treatment must be identified and remedied. Securing all valuable collections against theft and malicious intent is necessary. Clearly defined collection development, conservation, and lending policies will provide a framework for collection use and priorities.