Data logging is essential to ensure that items are kept in the correct environmental conditions to help with preventive conservation efforts.
Fishbourne Roman Palace & Gardens is the largest Roman home
in Britain. It was constructed in AD75, and destroyed by fire in
the late third century. After excavation began in 1960, it opened
to the public in 1968. The site features the largest collection of
mosaics in situ in the UK along with recreated Roman gardens, the
earliest gardens found anywhere in the country. In addition, the
stores contain half a million artefacts.
Rob Symmons is the Curator at the Palace and needed to replace
the former temperature and relative humidity environmental
monitoring system, which was coming to the end of its useful life.
Monitoring is required to ensure the long term
conservation of sensitive exhibits and archives as well as for
Museum Accreditation purposes.
Four Tinytag Ultra 2 TGU-4500
temp/RH data loggers are already successfully used as a
cost-effective solution in the North Wing, a large building housing
the mosaic floors. Data is downloaded every three months for
analysis. In addition a TGU-4500 is placed inside a sealed plastic
box along with a silica gel bag - as used to house items in the
'Sensitive' Archive Store (primarily metalwork) - to replicate
conditions inside the boxes.
For ambient monitoring in the Sensitive Store (which also houses
the library) and the Bulk Store, and inside display cases in the
Museum areas, an automatic data collection system was the preferred
solution. In this way data from three individual large spaces could
be sent directly to the Curator's PC for immediate viewing, without
having to download the loggers individually.
Gemini Data Loggers, located a few minutes away, proposed a
combination of Plus Radio data loggers and Ethernet receivers as an
effective, easy to use solution to meet the layout requirements of
the three monitoring areas. A combination of four Ultra Radio TR-3500
temp/RH loggers, two Plus Radio ACSRF-4040
Ethernet Receivers, and three Ultra Radio TR-3505
loggers were supplied. The TR-3505 units have an accompanying
temp/RH probe, which has been placed inside sealed display cases in
the Museum. Data is analysed once a week. The aim is to gather a
year's worth of data to establish the pattern of environmental
conditions over time. It is hoped that this data can also be used
to tie in with seasonal patterns of any pest problems (mainly
Recorded data in the Sensitive Store is used to determine if the
dehumidifier needs to be used (it has been accurate enough to even
show door openings). This is particularly important as some space
is rented to another museum who need to verify conditions are
correct for their own Accreditation purposes.
In the Bulk Store which houses more robust materials such as
pottery and stone, recorded data can be used to adjust the
ventilation controls, which allow warm or fresh air to be
circulated as required. Results from the probed loggers in the
museum cases, primarily containing sensitive metal items, have
shown that condition as are reasonably stable, and also provide an
indication of how effectively the case is providing protection from
The Tinytag Connect Radio/LAN system is
ideal for discreet monitoring in museums and galleries, and can be
configured to include both types of units to suit site layout and
network infrastructure. Automatic data collection conveniently
allows immediate access to the information required to assess if
conditions need to be modified to ensure the wellbeing of
collections and archives.
The image shows a Tinytag Ultra Radio data logger inside a
museum cabinet. Further images can be found in the pdf file