Temperature and relative humidity data loggers monitor sensitive archives to help with long term preventive conservation.
The Island of Tristan da Cunha is part of the most remote
inhabited archipelago in the world, situated in the middle of the
south Atlantic and located 2000 km from the nearest inhabited
island, Saint Helena, and 2400 km from South Africa, the nearest
continental land mass.
In 2016, the Tristan Government was successful in being awarded
a grant by the British Library for a pilot in its 'Endangered
Archives Programme'. The Project is entitled 'All Hands' Things:
the Endangered Archives of Tristan da Cunha' (in Tristan da Cunha
English, 'All hands' refers to the whole community). Run by Dawn
Repetto, Head of Tourism and Heritage, with support in the UK, the
Project aims to gather and preserve the island's historical archive
materials from all periods, although focussing on 1810 to 1963 -
that is from the earliest attempts at a settlement until the return
of the islanders from their evacuation to the UK during the
volcanic eruption of 1961.
The Project involved setting up an archive room from scratch,
and was slowed while equipment, software and training materials
were shipped from England. The plan is for non-sensitive material
to be also made available to the public online. It is hoped that
the material preserved will give a valuable insight into island
life and how a tiny community (only 265 permanent inhabitants) on
an island with no airport, and many days sail from Saint Helena,
has survived in today's world.
The archives contain many letters and documents and it is
essential they are kept in the correct environmental conditions to
ensure their long term preservation. One of the most vulnerable
documents relates to the set up of a lobster fishery on the island
in 1948: unfortunately the papers relating to this have been glued
into a big book and managing temperature and humidity levels is key
to help stopping its deterioration. The island suffers from a damp
climate in which paper documentation degrades over time if not
properly looked after. The island also features an active volcano
and encounters severe weather which further illustrates the need
for preservation of the history of this island.
Gemini Data Loggers provided three temperature/RH data loggers -
two TGU-4500s, and one TV-4500 with an integral LCD display.
Results of the monitoring initially showed high levels of humidity
and borderline raised temperatures, demonstrating the requirement
for more effective dehumidification and cooling equipment. Dawn
comments, "The data loggers work perfectly, and have clearly shown
that the dehumidifier we have is not maintaining the correct levels
of temperature and humidity."
Cathy Clark at Gemini is delighted that Tinytags have played a
role in this new venture in such a unique location. She comments,
"Tinytag data loggers are used extensively in museums and archives
- they are cost-effective, easy to use and can be left for long
periods if required to build up an accurate picture of
environmental conditions to help with the preservation of sensitive
The Project Team would be very interested in hearing from anyone
with historical items that could be donated to the archive - either
originals, photographic copies or digital scans. Please contact
Peter Millington email@example.com who will advise on what to