Contemporary Collections: Preprints from the AICCM National Conference 17th g 19th October 2007 Brisbane pp. 180
The issue of environmental parameters for long-term collection preservation has arisen at the Australian War Memorial (AWM), and was flagged also at the Sustainable Buildings symposium in Sydney. The bottom line is that the environmental parameters which most museums try to achieve (18 +/- 3 degrees; 50% +/- 3% RH) are both very difficult and very expensive to achieve in practice.
At the AWM, we are seriously reviewing the Temperature and Relative Humidity parameters which we have been able to maintain over the past 5 – 10 years in our collection storage areas. We are examining collection condition reports from across that period and assessing whether or not the actual conditions in which we have maintained our collections – which have varied significantly from the ‘ideal’ conditions we strive to meet – have caused them to deteriorate. Early indications are that the collections have not suffered for having been kept in non-ideal conditions, leading us to conclude that we can relax the Temperature and Relative Humidity parameters which we set. If we do relax the environmental parameters which we set, we will have a better chance of actually achieving stable conditions, and we will save significant amounts of money and energy.