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Grøntoft, T and Dahlin, E and Henriksen, J F and Rentmeister, S and Hanko, M and Heinze, J and Taylor, J and Blades, N and Cassar, M (2007) An Early Warning System for Organic Materials in Museums, Historic Buildings and Archives. In: Proceedings of the 7th European Conference “SAUVEUR” - Safeguarded Cultural Heritage - Understanding & Viability for the Enlarged Europe, Prague May 31st - June 3rd, 2006. ITAM, pp. 41-50. ISBN 978-80-86246-29-1

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All over Europe objects in museums, historic buildings and archives are being affected by environmental conditions. Unsuitable environmental conditions are a serious cause of deterioration, frequently made worse because the effects may remain invisible for a long period. An Early Warning system for Organic materials (EWO system) has been developed as an important part of the EU funded project “Preventive Conservation Strategies for Protection of Organic Objects in Museums, Historic Buildings and Archives” (MASTER), (EVK4-CT-2002-00093). The aim of the MASTER project was to provide museums, historic buildings and archives with a new and refined preventive conservation strategy for organic objects based on an EWO system that can identify environments where damage to collections is likely. The group of “organic objects” includes materials with very different properties. Organic materials are very complex in structure and their deterioration is a complex field with a broad range of different chemical reactions. The most prominent reactions are thermally or photo-chemically induced oxidation process and ionic hydrolysis reactions caused by acids or other catalysts. Reactions caused by Ultra Violet (UV) and by visible light are also very important processes. However, the importance of relative humidity (RH), temperature and air pollutants such as O3, NO2 or SO2 should not be underestimated. All the reactions will create changes in the organic structure caused by changes in the chemical bonding and may lead to deterioration that prevents heritage objects’ use. For a long time there has been a need for an acceptable general technology for early warning of environmental risk to organic objects collections, and for a new preventive conservation strategy that include all the relevant information affecting object preservation. This is particularly important for organic objects that are often present in large numbers in collections such as those of historic buildings with original textile furnishings and decorations; or in libraries and archives, which hold large numbers of paper documents. The EWO system developed in the MASTER project consists of dosimeters based on two different principles and a new preventive conservation strategy. A particular important feature of the dosimeters is that results can be measured at location with an affordable portable measurement instrument. Very important for end-users is the preventive conservation strategy developed by Centre for Sustainable Heritage at University College of London.

Item Type: Book Section
Uncontrolled Keywords: Environmental monitoring; Dosimeters; Early warning; Organic objects; Museums; Preventive conservation
Subjects: English > Monitoring
Depositing User: Anna Samuelsson
Date Deposited: 08 May 2008 11:38
Last Modified: 29 Dec 2016 13:45

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