Redivivus, a painting conservation and restoration studio located in The Netherlands, understands that to be able to perfectly preserve and restore works of art, proper awareness and the ability to maintain a balanced indoor environmental quality are paramount. Relative humidity and temperature are two of the most important IEQ parameters that have to be considered, as these, when not managed, can cause discoloration, and disintegration of organic materials such as wood, paper, paint layers, textile, leather or skin and softening of adhesives. It can also lead to fading of ink, mold growth, insect and mite infestation.
Other indoor environmental quality factors such as incorrect lighting levels, dust, and pollen can also lead to the darkening, fading, and the formation of acids that can damage both the art collections and the health of the people.
To ensure better environment, Redivivus utilized uHoo to assess the indoor climate of one of its clients – a museum housed in a historical establishment. uHoo was placed in various locations of the museum to monitor its climate.
The real-time measurements, compared with weather details and the behavior of building staff and visitors helped Redivivus discover that the relative humidity and the temperature are beyond their optimal range. The presence of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) were regularly observed as well, which could be due to the use of air fresheners, paints used for paintings, and the chemicals used during restoration that contain ingredients that are potentially harmful to artworks and humans.
uHoo was also used by the Redivivus team to manage the level of VOCs in their conservation studio and protect the health of staff. Spikes in VOC readings were discovered when solvents were being used inside the facility. Using the IAQ data from uHoo, Redivivus was able to come up with solutions to improve the working climate. Today, ventilation and extraction units are regularly checked, filters are replaced or moved around to different locations to reduce risks.
Indoor environmental quality monitoring is essential for museums to create an environment that is not only healthy and safe for its staff and visitors but also protects and better preserves the artwork housed in the museum.