Collection care and energy saving at National Museum Cardiff
Tinytag temperature and relative humidity data loggers were used in trials to monitor environmental conditions in display galleries.
Analysis of recorded data led to improvements in energy efficiency and helps maintain a stable environment for sensitive items on display.
A recent monitoring project at National Museum Cardiff demonstrated enormous savings from modifications to environmental management in display galleries.
Many museum galleries are air conditioned to maintain stable relative humidity and temperature. Fluctuations can result in damage to objects because of swelling or shrinkage, because many objects absorb and desorb moisture from the atmosphere. Air conditioning is employed to reduce these fluctuations which can occur due to a large numbers of visitors, extremely wet or dry weather, doors being left open, or unplanned breakdown of air handling equipment. But in a historic building with large thermal mass which is closed to visitors at night, fluctuations tend to be minimal after dark.
Christian Baars, the Senior Preventive Conservator, was able to demonstrate this during night-time shut downs of air conditioning equipment at the Museum. Several trials were undertaken in the Geology galleries, where a number of environmental monitors - including seven Tinytag Ultra 2 temp/RH data loggers - were installed. These trials demonstrated that both temperatures and relative humidity in the galleries and inside display cases were stable, and there was hardly any difference between nights with air conditioning on or off. As a consequence, air conditioning is now switched off in these galleries each night, resulting in substantial energy savings while still maintaining an environment save for objects.
Christian comments, "We chose the Tinytag Ultra 2 because it is yellow (and therefore easy to see), robust, and the software is user-friendly - it's easy to import data into Excel for analysis".
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