Managing the Storage Environment - Current Thinking

Current ThinkingIPI has a point of view when it comes to environmental management; one based on years of research in our own laboratories as well as work done by preservation scientists around the world. Every issue of Climate Notes has focused on bringing our readers the most up-to-date information in this area—not just our own view, but the current thinking in the preservation field. When time allows, please review some of the articles referenced here.

  • Crack, Warp, Shrink, Flake – A New Look at Conservation Standardsby Pamela Hatchfield, Head of Objects Conservation, Museum of Fine Arts, and Vice President of AIC. This article was published in the January-February 2011 issue of Museum and provides an excellent overview of the history, current thinking, and future of environmental standards for museums.

  • Keeping Art, and Climate, Controlled, written by Carol Kino and published in The New York Times in April 2009. This article presents a good overview of the history of managing the environment in cultural institutions and the current situation in the field:


Conference and Meeting Proceedings:


Recent Articles and Guidelines for Managing the Environment:

Individuals responsible for collection stewardship need to make informed decisions about the storage environment based on current research, reliable data, and a factual understanding of the relationship between environment and material decay. It's important to be aware of the current thinking among preservation scientists regarding the effect of environment on long term preservation.  A number of commonly accepted ideas—that "flat-line" temperature at 70° and relative humidity levels of 50% RH +/-5% are ideal, and that short-term fluctuations matter more than long-term trends—are now regarded by preservation scientists as outdated and counterproductive. This overly simplistic model persists, limiting the ability to consider new approaches that factor in sustainability and global environmental responsibility. A better understanding of what recent preservation research has shown can help institutions achieve both collection preservation and sustainable building management.

  • "The Museum Environment:  Transforming the Solution into a Problem," written by conservator Steven Weintraub and published in Collections: A Journal for Museum and Archives Professionals, 2.3, February 2006. Download PDF.


  • Getty Conservation Institute Newsletter focused on Environmental Management, Volume 22.1, Spring 2007. This issue includes articles by engineer and architect Michael C. Henry, who specializes in the field of historic preservation; engineer Ernest Conrad, President of Landmark Facilities Group which specializes in museums, libraries, historic structures and their collections, Tim Padfield, preventive conservation specialist, and others. /publications_resources/newsletters/22_1
  • Canadian Conservation Institute's(CCI) recently published Environmental Guidelines for Museums, an extensive and usable guide written by David Grattan and Stefan Michalski. This publication covers the damage caused by incorrect temperature and relative humidity, vulnerable objects, classes of control, and special collections. The CCI article reinforces the current view, which is that it is not economically or environmentally acceptable to have tightly controlled environmental conditions if they are not necessary.