Research and Field Testing of Web-based Environmental Risk Assessment - "The WebERA Project" (2007-2009)

WebERA ProjectIPI received a major grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services for the WebERA Project which was designed to create a novel web-based system that would enable collections staff in museums and libraries to efficiently move large volumes of environmental data directly to the web for storage, analysis, and reporting. Ten museums and five libraries were chosen from over 80 institutions who responded to IPI's call for research partners to test the design and function of the system. These included:

  • Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art
  • Detroit Institute of Arts
  • The Museum of Modern Art
  • The Morgan Library and Museum
  • Shelburne Museum
  • Smithsonian, National Museum of Natural History
  • American Museum of Natural History
  • Museum of History and Industry, Historical Society of Seattle
  • California Department of Parks and Recreation
  • University of Wisconsin Libraries
  • Yale University Library
  • University Libraries, University of Colorado
  • University of Illinois Preservation Working Group
  • Peabody Essex Museum, Phillips Library

The premise behind the WebERA project evolved through thirteen years of IPI environmental research and consultation. It was clear that many museums and libraries lacked the necessary staff time and in-house expertise to manage the storage environment effectively. Furthermore, it was difficult to use most environmental management tools to determine the degree of risk or benefit to collections or to organize and report on huge volumes of data. We felt that with the right tools and procedures, environmental risks could be mitigated once they are accurately identified, quantified, and communicated to all stakeholders in the institution.

After an initial training meeting in March 2008, project participants were provided with PEM2® loggers and individual data management web sites for use in their own institutions.  A WebERA blog was used to evaluate and discuss specific aspects of the on-line system throughout the year. Program and graphic design changes and instructions were updated periodically in response to user input. In May 2009 research partners met with IPI again to provide input, review data analysis, and offer marketing suggestions for the system—now called

WebERA project results can be found by clicking here. In addition, a summary of WebERA project partner survey results can be found by clicking here.


IPI can work with your organization to develop an Environmental Monitoring and Analysis project that fits your needs, from designing an environmental management program, purchasing monitoring equipment, evaluating HVAC design plans, review of existing mechanical systems, energy saving opportunities, risk analysis, and more.

Contact Patricia Ford to discuss your needs: