Controlling conditions in the building
Consider the local climate outside the building, and how this may affect your museum's ability to control the climate within the building. In the section above we recommended measuring conditions in each of your museum areas to get an idea of the internal climate of your museum throughout the year.
It can be difficult to accomplish and maintain an 'ideal' museum environment. There are a number of practical measures you can take, however, to achieve a reasonably stable environment.
Use the features of the building
Think of your building as a barrier for the collection, buffering it from the external environment. The features of the building and its design can be used to reduce environmental extremes. There are lots of sources of information about good building design for energy efficiency. Much of this information is relevant to museum buildings, even if you occupy an historic building such as a bank, or school. In fact, many older buildings were built incorporating passive environmental design principles, such as thick walls for good insulation and air circulation to avoid dampness.
The actual steps you can take to improve your building's capacity to protect the collections will vary depending on your location and building type. Your building's design and orientation might be its key attributes. In general, a north facing orientation with shelter from prevailing winds will be beneficial. Listed below are some measures you could consider.
Use of localised microclimates
The above section discussed using the features of a building to modify the internal conditions. In this section we will describe simple measures that can be taken to create local microclimates to house and protect sensitive items.
The most obvious, but not necessarily the best method of controlling temperature and relative humidity levels is to use an air-conditioner.
If you have air-conditioning or you are considering installing air-conditioning you should be aware of the following important points:
- If air-conditioning is used to control the environment, it should operate continuously so that there are not day/night fluctuations.