Built over the remains of a Roman bathhouse, The Novium Museum in Chichester, West Sussex, is home to a collection of over 500,000 objects telling the rich history of Chichester District. Items in The Novium Museum’s collection include archaeological and geological objects, social history and photography. All of the artefacts held by the Museum must be kept in the correct conditions to ensure their best chances of survival for years to come.
One of the main areas of conservation work at the Museum is the
continuous monitoring of the museum environment.
Unsuitable or unstable environmental conditions can cause historic
materials to deteriorate, so it is important that the Museum's
environment is monitored and appropriately regulated. Ideal
conditions for the preservation of museum artefacts is a
steady temperature of around 20°C and stable humidity
levels of between 35-45% RH.
To monitor temperature and humidity levels inside object display
cases, The Novium Museum uses Tinytag View 2 TV-4501
temperature and relative humidity data loggers. The View 2
loggers have display screens for spot-checking (while also
recording for the long-term) and come in discreet grey casing,
making them ideal for use in a museum setting.
Taking recordings every three minutes, the
loggers provide a comprehensive picture of the environment
inside the cases. Data is downloaded once a month for
review and analysis using the Tinytag Explorer
software; if any unusual or concerning
readings are discovered, action is taken to
investigate the cause and remedy the
issue. Evidence of fluctuating conditions inside a display
case, for example, might indicate the need for new seals or the
expiry of silica gel (used to regulate humidity).
The loggers are also occasionally used to monitor
conditions in the exhibition rooms, as this can impact the
environment inside display cases. This also helps the Museum to
assess the performance of the building's temperature and
humidity control system, enabling them to identify if
environmental problems are arising from faults in this system.
Continuous long-term monitoring has also allowed the museum to
provide evidence when making grant and loan applications.
Portia Tremlett, Public Programme Engagement
Officer for The Novium Museum, explains why monitoring with
Tinytags is so important: "Without the use of Tinytags,"
says Portia, "we would be unable to monitor our collections
when on display or choose the correct objects for display in
different parts of the gallery."
Portia comments on the Museum's experience using Tinytags.
"Tinytag data loggers are simple, easy to use, but very
effective. They have enabled us to continue to care for our
collections whilst on display and in storage, and allowed us to
provide huge amounts of data to prospective museums who may lend
objects for temporary exhibitions. Gemini Data Loggers as a company
has always been extremely helpful and informative."
The Novium Museum received a grant in June 2020 to allow them to
upgrade their monitoring programme with the Tinytag Connect system, a remote radio- and LAN-enabled monitoring
The Museum plans to utilise Tinytag Radio data
loggers, which send data automatically to a central computer
for immediate, real-time viewing - one of the key advantages of
remote monitoring. The convenient, user-friendly system will
help to save the museum valuable time and allow them to
respond to problems as they arise.