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
Air conditioning is employed to reduce these fluctuations which
can occur due to 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 perspiring 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