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Subject: Renovating exhibit space

Renovating exhibit space

From: Paul Himmelstein <aandh>
Date: Friday, March 30, 2001
Georgianne Bowman <ggbowman [at] email__msn__com> writes

>We are a small historical society which has recently acquired a
>small museum space.  The building is in need of renovation.  We are
>aware that we need temperature and humidity control and this will be
>dealt with in the remodeling.

First, do not assume that someone else will take care of your
temperature and humidity levels.  HVAC systems that maintain "museum
environments" are different than other systems, since you are asking
the system to maintain a steady RH for long periods of time, rather
than a steady temperature with fluctuating RH.  In addition,
especially in an historic structure, it is essential that a
professional familiar with the needs of such situations be part of
the team to determine what RH levels can be maintained without doing
damage to the structure, particularly in the winter.  Setting
appropriate RH and temperature levels should be done after study of
the building *and* of the types of objects that will be exhibited in
the space. The New Orleans Charter provides a framework dealing with
such situations.

Second, the selection of appropriate materials for the construction
of exhibition cases is an important, and not an easy issue to
address.  While both glass and Plexiglas are stable materials and
can be used for cases, other materials--wood, plastics, adhesives,
paints, etc.--can off-gas and cause damage to exhibited materials,
even after considerable time has elapsed.  I would suggest you
consult a conservator to determine which materials are appropriate
for such a case.  It is too easy to make mistakes that seem
innocuous now, but that will be costly to repair in the future.

Paul Himmelstein

                  Conservation DistList Instance 14:51
                  Distributed: Tuesday, April 3, 2001
                       Message Id: cdl-14-51-001
Received on Friday, 30 March, 2001

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