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A survey for users of display cases & glazed frames for local environmental control of indoor heritage collections

Thursday 18 June 2015 (Categories: Non ICOM/ICOM-CC, Preventive Conservation)

This global survey aims to document the recent practices and perspectives of collection managers who use display cases and glazed frames to slow deterioration of exhibits from inappropriate temperature, relative humidity and pollution. It was prompted by the recent relaxation of national and international guidelines for acceptable daily and yearly temperature and relative humidity spans in collecting institutions.

The risks of these "thermo-hygrometric set-points" to heritage collections and the benefits to ecological and economic resources are being debated. Meanwhile, the guidelines point collection managers towards exhibit enclosures as long-recognised tools for locally controlling temperature and humidity; plus light, human interference, pests & gaseous and particulate pollution.

But how fit for purpose are display cases and glazed frames for countering extreme and fluctuating temperature and water vapour levels? Which types of enclosures and treatment and monitoring methods for enclosed atmospheres are presently in use? Are they considered effective? What are their limitations and side-effects? Could measurements and models of environments and enclosure envelopes be more widely exploited for more appropriate enclosure airtightness and improved conservation strategies? Could advances in environmental control be made while using green and affordable technologies?

This survey begins to answer these questions by taking a snapshot of the recent behaviours and opinions of enclosure users. It aims to guide the future manufacture, testing, use and maintenance of enclosures for more efficient and sustainable conservation of vulnerable exhibits.

Feel free to share this survey via your professional networks. Perspectives from exhibit enclosure users in collecting institutions of all sizes and from many countries are especially welcome.

Closing date: Wednesday 1 July 2015


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