Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Work of Image Permanence Institute Just Gets Better

Two years ago I wrote about Image Permanence Institute at Rochester Institute of Technology in New York, and IPI's Guide to Sustainable Preservation Practices. This fall I attended a second NEH-funded two-day training by the IPI team and it was awesome; really awesome.

The first time I wrote about it I said: "If you're thinking about changing - or learning more about - climate control and energy savings in your collections spaces, then please get yourself" a copy of IPI's Guide.

That still holds true but now I'll be more specific: "if you have collections, get yourself a copy".

Even if you know all the stuff in this gem of a handbook, it can surely help you share this critical information with people who don't have your background, who are not as comfortable with the language, and who probably have something to do with the management or financial support of the collection you care for. Educating them is an important first step is doing your work well.

This is a gift to you from IPI and the National Endowment for the HumanitiesSurely 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!

If you're not yet convinced, let me tell you a bit about what's inside.


  • 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 is Dew point - seriously, they have the best-ever description of this for non-HVAC folk

Recommendations with how-to's:

  • collect baseline data
    • environmental
    • system documentation
  • create an Environmental Management Team
  • define the optimal storage environment for your institution (don't assume 70/50 anymore)
  • identify and correct "sub optimal operation" of your system after you've established your appropriate environment

Clear descriptions of complex, important concepts:

  • how environment effects material decay
  • what data loggers do and how to choose the right location for your environmental monitors; 
  • how to recognize all sorts of actors on your energy and climate situation: windows, lights, people, air movement, sunshine, and regional weather and climate

It also has a great bibliography that could be a valuable departmental book group reading list, worksheets, and lists of NEH grant opportunities and IPI products.

I strongly encourage any director, collections manager or curator, facilities manager and development director to get a copy and read it. And if you are lucky enough to find a workshop or a conference presentation by any of the IPI team - GO!

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