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Weald & Downland Living Museum Monitors Collections and Exhibition Space

The Tinytag Radio System monitors temperature and relative humidity in the artefacts collection, archives and an exhibition space.

Ultra Radio data loggers monitor on two floors, with data accessed from a central office, to help manage the environment to aid the conservation of historic items.

Ultra Radio data logger monitoring timber laths of the Gridshell structure

The Weald & Downland Living Museum near Chichester, West Sussex is home to 50 rescued traditional rural buildings set in a beautiful landscape, and tells the stories of the people who lived and worked in them over a 950 year period. The Museum holds a comprehensive range of artefacts - estimated at some 15,000 pieces - which cover a diverse range of subject matter, including building parts and trades tools; agriculture and land management; transport and vehicles and many other rural trades and crafts.

The artefact collection is housed in the lower level of the award-winning Downland Gridshell building, the first timber gridshell to be constructed in the UK. The collection is located in one end of the lower level, while the other end is home to offices and an archive store. The upper level is used as a conservation workshop, training and exhibition space.

The collections area has a limited through flow of air, and this coupled with the building's wooden structure, means that humidity levels can lead to problems including mould growth. In the winter the under floor heating can reduce the impact, but in the summer it can become an issue. Curator Julian Bell needed accurate information about the environmental conditions throughout the building in order to take informed steps to protect the items in storage and on display. Temperature and relative humidity monitoring was needed on both levels of the Gridshell including in the small archive store within the office area.

Due to the building's size, and the fact there is no internal access from one floor to the other - a radio data logging system which collects data automatically and presents it at a central location was an ideal solution. Two Ultra Radio data loggers are located on the upper level, two in the lower level collections area, and one in the archive store. The receiver is located in the office near the PC running the Tinytag Explorer software.

Julian comments, "The museum previously purchased other commercially available data loggers and found the peculiar nature of our museum store, exhibition space and data system meant they just wouldn't work. The Tinytag temperature/humidity loggers now installed throughout the building all work very successfully, with no fuss and produce clear, easy to read results."

Cathy Clark from Gemini Data Loggers points out that the Radio System is an effective solution for a building of this type. "The layout makes manually downloading individual data loggers time consuming and inconvenient - with data sent via wireless communications for direct viewing by the curatorial team, conditions can be monitored easily and constantly, and appropriate action taken promptly if required."

The image shows an Ultra Radio data logger positioned on one of the timber laths of the Gridshell structure, upper level. Further photographs can be found in the pdf link.

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