The Small Collections Monitoring Program – What is it?

by | Nov 8, 2021 | Blog

M. Susan Barger of the Conserv Community Board introduces the Small Collections Monitoring Program (SCMP). Read on to learn about how you can trade in your old data loggers to small collections just getting started with monitoring.

What is the Small Collections Monitoring Program?

You did it! Your institution is going to join Conserv and adopt wireless data loggers! But now… what are you going to do with your old data loggers? After all, you made investments in those PEM2s, Hobos, etc. and you don’t want to see your investment go to waste.

Why not trade in those old, functioning data loggers to Conserv?

The thing is… Environmental monitoring is a problem for many smaller institutions because:

  1. It requires an initial investment in equipment that may not be in their budgets.
  2. It requires some interpretation of the data that comes from monitoring and understanding how to use it to implement improvements.

The SCMP offers a way to solve both of these problems:

  1. It provides smaller institutions with much needed equipment.
  2. It teaches staff how to understand and interpret their information using free Conserv software.

I am excited to work on this program because it promises to help small institutions directly improve the care of their collections.

How does it work?

  1. First, trade-in loggers come in from institutions switching over to a Conserv subscription.
  2. We roll out SCMP state by state and partner with local preservation organizations to distribute data loggers to smaller institutions that previously have not had the capacity or budget to initiate environmental monitoring programs.
  3. Receiving institutions will apply for the program.
  4. Finally, Conserv will work with our local partners to support applying organizations in setting up monitoring programs and learning how to use those loggers to manage and improve the conditions for their collections.

Our goal is to launch 1,000 new environmental monitoring programs in small collections by the end of 2022.

Conserv’s mission and the Small Collections Monitoring Program

1. Cultural heritage professionals can make daily progress towards better outcomes, no matter their budget, geography, or capacity.

This is our motivation for establishing the SCMP program, and it’s the same reason that we’re committed to providing a free version of our software tools.

2. We want all collecting institutions to be able to adopt monitoring programs.

Above all, this is a great opportunity to improve collections care and increase the understanding of the agents of deterioration. So, let’s help our community to move beyond abstract preservation goals to actually being able to use data in ways that are practical, understandable, and create informed action.

3. We want to produce sustainable programs that will strengthen the preservation community as a whole.

Thanks to the SCMP, all institutions will be able to adopt sustainable methodologies for caring for their collections. On the one hand, we allow institutions to eliminate part of their electronic waste by passing on unused functioning data loggers instead of throwing them away. On the other hand, we can support each other and grow as a community.


I will be working with our local partners as the Conserv representative for the SCMP program rollout. I am passionate about small museums and archives and have worked extensively with these institutions providing services and professional development training throughout my career. Although we tell institutions that they should monitor their environments, we often do not provide clear training about how to understand or use environmental information.

Join us as we roll out the SCMP program. This program is a win for all. 

To get started with the SCMP, enter your email below and take our survey to connect with one of our conservators.

If you have any questions about environmental monitoring, integrated pest management, or just want to talk about preventative conservation, please reach out to us! Don’t forget to check out our blog or join our community of collections care professionals where you can discuss hot topics, connect with other conservators or even take a course to get familiar with the Conserv platform.

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