Longevity of Museum Artifacts Depends on Indoor Air Quality

The last line of defense against environmental damage to museum objects is the use of high-quality air filtration equipment.

Museums are home to some of the world’s most beloved objects. Regardless of the type of displays or exhibits, curated pieces must be cared for scrupulously. To achieve this, indoor air quality must be clean and free of impurities.

The preservation of artwork and historical artifacts is the central duty of curators and museum administrators. While many items are showcased in a protective case, most display items are not, so facility operators must ensure that an environment conducive to indoor air pollution does not exist. A contaminated IAQ is a threat to precious objects, especially those historical in nature. If lighting, temperature, and humidity levels are less than ideal, deterioration can take place.

According to The National WWII Museum in New Orleans, temperatures that are either too hot or too cold can damage materials such as wood, rubber, and metal. Therefore, artifacts should be stored in spaces with proper ventilation and climate-controlled filtration systems. In addition, areas such as basements, attics, and sheds should be avoided when warehousing important items. While such places may seem logical for storage, environmental conditions such as poor humidity and air circulation can encourage a collection of pollutants that could harm precious goods.

Humidity represents the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere. High humidity can quickly damage important documents, as mold and pests are particularly fond of paper, parchment, and textiles. Even metal can be affected, as high moisture levels can cause it to rust over time. But low humidity can also be problematic. Objects can become brittle and prone to breakage if there is not enough moisture in the air.

Poor air circulation such as a lack of constantly moving, purified air allows chemicals, vapors, and other impurities to damage not only documents, but also items such as wood frames, metal sculptures, and marble statues.

To protect their inventory, museum workers should follow specific air quality measures to prevent their indoor environment from turning hazardous. For example, textiles and paper-products should be stored in climate-controlled areas, and according to The National WWII Museum, documents should be kept at temperatures below 72 degrees Fahrenheit and at a humidity level ranging from 50 to 55 percent.

The last line of defense against environmental damage to museum objects is the use of high-quality air filtration equipment. For buildings already equipped with these systems, regular maintenance should be employed to guarantee all components continue to function properly.

Air Impurities Removal Systems, Inc. takes pride in the service they provide to their customers in the museum industry. Please call today for a FREE clean air analysis from one of their highly skilled environmental specialists.