Improving your environment

You are a collections care expert. You are well-trained, and possibly even have many years of experience in this unusual field. Your organization relies on you to provide top quality care for your unique and irreplaceable collection. But who do you rely on for help with the myriad challenges presented by your building’s environment? While […]

Environmental monitoring standards

Environmental monitoring standards? Which standards? Environmental monitoring standards for collection environments are a series of targets for factors such as relative humidity, temperature, light, pollutants, and pests. The targets, sometimes referred to as “ideal conditions”, are followed to avoid damage or to slow the rate of deterioration to collections. The development and agreement of environmental […]

Funding your environmental monitoring program

Funding your environmental monitoring program Collection stewards who take on preservation responsibilities have likely heard some version of the statement, “environmental monitoring is one of the best ways to ensure the long-term preservation of collections.” This sentiment is correct. Using environmental data to inform decisions about collections storage, access, and display is a great way […]

Environmental Control for Collections

One of the major goals of a data monitoring program is to eventually make improvements to your collection environment. These improvements can be in the form of reduced energy consumption, changes to increase the longevity of the collection materials, or a combination of the two. Actively adjusting temperature, humidity, light, and the collection’s physical surroundings […]

The Team Approach

You may be personally responsible for maintaining healthy conditions for your collections or beloved cultural heritage building, both as a result of your org chart and also your own personal sense of duty. But as the well-known saying goes…it takes a village to stay within temperature and humidity ranges. Let’s take a look at some […]

Environmental Data Reports

A data report is any type of documentation that describes an analysis of your data. It can be short and simple or quite complex, depending on the amount of data and the depth of your analysis. Reports are used to share information with partners who may not have access to the data, or who don’t […]

Environmental Data Analysis

Once you have begun collecting data you are ready to set a timeline for environmental data analysis. Having a full year of data is ideal for preservation planning, but analysis can begin at any time – particularly if you are troubleshooting after a water incident or an equipment malfunction. Analysis doesn’t need to be complicated: […]

Environmental Data Collection

What data does an environmental monitoring program typically collect? The most often gathered data is for temperature (degrees), relative humidity (%) and light (lux). Temperature and relative humidity data can be gathered easily and inexpensively. Light data includes visible and UV light and can be gathered easily with the right equipment. Collect and review data […]


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 […]