Humidity Control and the Importance of Preserving Artifacts in Museums

Museums around the world rely on more than security and plenty of large, open space to store and display cherished artifacts — the very air we breathe has an impact on them as well, for better or for worse. Proper humidity control plays a major role in protecting our history, and the importance of preserving artifacts in museums and galleries has never been greater with the onset of climate change. Today, let’s explore the subject and find out how an evaporative humidifier can go a long way in helping us step back in time.

Material Fragility and Relative Humidity

From fabrics to photographs and more, many materials are highly reactive to relative humidity fluctuations. One of the most susceptible of these is wood, which can develop cracks, warping, brittleness, fragmentation, and rot. For example, the few wooden, paper, and fabric artifacts salvaged from the wreck of the RMS Titanic were preserved deep within the sunken liner’s metal hull and the frigid cold of the North Atlantic. On the surface, however, these surviving relics are treated and stored under specific atmospheric conditions to avoid further damage.

Risk Management

Dry air is the bane of any museum’s existence — it can destroy entire collections and make preservation a futile effort. With proper humidity control, such as with a Condair high-efficiency humidification system, this risk is mitigated with consistent and reliable air moisture content levels. Stabilization of the relative air humidity avoids imposing tension on exhibit artifacts by limiting how dry or moist the indoor climate can become.

Minimal Maintenance

High-efficiency humidifiers such as ours at Condair are built for long-term delivery of the same relative humidity range, all while reducing energy consumption. With artifacts kept in the same suitable conditions indefinitely, they are better protected against developing wear and tear. This means that restorations and maintenance won’t be required as often, helping to reduce operating costs and maintain display quality control. Dust is better suppressed as well, and there is a reduced risk of electrostatic discharges occurring.

Using the environment around us to our advantage is essential, especially in museums filled with sensitive objects. If the importance of preserving artifacts is critical to your organization, reach out to us at Condair today. Our humidification solutions are designed to be highly efficient and cost-effective.

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