Water is a vital substance to all known forms of life on this planet, and a key ingredient in the production of many cultural heritage materials. Think of the large amounts of water that are required to make paper or tan leather. Water can also wreak havoc on collections in all its forms: solid, liquid, […]


Light is one of the trickiest Agents of Deterioration: it’s all around us, even when we can’t see it, and it’s what lets us appreciate everything around us visually. We need it and use it all the time so it seems almost unfair that it can also be really damaging. Light comes in different forms […]

Relative Humidity and Temperature

Relative humidity is a measurement of the amount of water in the air. It is important to collection managers because the objects in our collections respond to relative humidity. Organic materials swell and shrink Organic collections (things like paper, cotton, ivory, or silk) will absorb and desorb moisture from the air resulting in a matching […]

Introducing the Agents of Deterioration

The agents of deterioration (AoD) is a tool developed by the Canadian Conservation Institute (CCI). Inspired by risk management, the AoD can provide those responsible for collection care with a checklist of things that can cause loss to their collections. Agents of deterioration and risk frameworks The 10 agents of deterioration sit within a very […]