Thursday, December 13, 2012

IPI's Guide to Sustainable Preservation Practices: What Every Museum Should Buy Itself for the Holidays

If you're thinking about changing - or learning more about - climate control and energy savings in your collections spaces, then please get yourself IPI's Guide to Sustainable Preservation Practices.

This is a practical what-is and how-to manual that will demystify the discussion on collections climate standards and HVAC systems for your staff, your HVAC vendor, your board, or an MEP engineer unfamiliar with museums. And it's the background you need for your next grant proposal on collections spaces and HVAC systems.

Diagrams explain about how general types of mechanical systems are designed to work in buildings; how air supply is managed, and about "return air"; how humidification works; what data loggers do and how to choose the right location for your environmental monitors; how to document your mechanical system so that you know what you've got - something we all must do and never get to; and how to recognize all sorts of actors on your energy and climate situation: windows, lights, people, air movement, and sunshine.

Understanding how your building works and how that affects your collection could not be made any easier. Here is the Table of Contents:

Section 1: What You Need to Know
1. Basic Elements of the Environment and Their Effect on Material Decay
2. The Factors that Shape the Storage Environment

Section 2: What You Need to Do
3. Document the Current Storage Environment
4. Document Each Storage Facility's Mechanical System
5. Understand the Role of Dew Point
6. Analyze Collected Data

Section 3: Institute Sustainable Preservation Practices
7. Create and Environmental Management Team
8. Specific Activities of the Environmental Management Team
9. Investigate Opportunities for Energy Savings

Section 4: Additional Information
(a bibliography, worksheets, NEH grant opportunities, and IPI products)

I'm using it in my role as sustainability advisor on an NEH Sustaining Cultural Heritage Collections planning grant team at Dumbarton House in Washington, DC. It will be a boon to our work there.

So if you want the science behind the move to change the 70/50 T/RH guidelines; you don't understand Dew Point or humidity, really; or you are ready to bring your "collections care and facilities staff together to manage the environment to reach both preservation and energy savings goals", this is a gift to you from IPI and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Surely you have $25 (add shipping) left in your budget to do yourself, your collections, and the long-term sustainability of your institution a huge, huge favor!


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